Death of Prince Philip
Prince Philip died and his funeral was this past weekend. The country is still in mourning and the television is awash with his memorial story. I must admit, my initial reaction was one of relief for the family. While it is agony to lose someone, there must be some kind of peace in knowing that there is no more pain.
I took a trip into Central London to take photos of the flags at half mast at the palace, Clarence House, and saw the horse guards. Notice their collars are black for mourning attire.
Of course, I am sad for Queen Elizabeth. She has been married for 77 years and, notwithstanding the alleged infidelity The Crown alluded to, he has been her support for all these years. But, again I think about the human side of things. He has been sick for a long time. Is there a feeling of peace with his passing? She looked quite lovely and strong at the funeral.
Prince Philip’s funeral procession (code name Fourth Bridge) was not as grand because he didn’t want that. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only family attended. As these events are planned and rehearsed (and studied by tour guides like me to answer questions like “what happens when the Queen dies’), I felt like I was a little on the inside. While Fourth Bridge is all the buzz on news and social media, the general procedure of announcement, mourning, flags, funeral, and final resting place are all previously known.
The BBC was actually getting complaints about the coverage, because there was alot of other news going on that they are not covering - particularly some issues in Northern Ireland in regards to Brexit. Much press gossip was spouted left and right regarding Prince Harry’s attendance and attire. This is the gossipy side of the death that really uncovers the ugly side of the media and the people that revel in it.
When the Queen Mother died in 2002, I was very sad but I also felt like celebrating a woman who had lived for so long. 101 is a great achievement. My husband and I attended the funeral procession in Whitehall, witnessing the grand ceremony of her grandchildren walking behind the coffin. I took photos of Prince Philip (her son-in-law), Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward as they walked behind. It was all similar to Princess Diana’s funeral because Diana’s was based on the Queen Mum’s plan. (Diana died before a plan was in place, so they borrowed.) Perhaps this is how I feel about Prince Philip. He had been sick for some time and he has lived 99 amazing years. Some say it is a shame that he didn’t make it to his birthday in June, but that kind of subtracts from the awesome life that he lived.
Much has been discussed about his sense of humour and his verbal gaffs. Peculiarly, one of my first thoughts was that Sarah Ferguson had been banned by Philip from visiting Balmoral. I suddenly thought “Will Fergie get to return to Balmoral now?” It is an odd thought, but as I have been doing some research recently on her, it was forefront in my mind. Maybe because this is one of the more human elements of the royal family. If you take away the ‘royal’ part, they are just a family with disfunction just like you and me. Your family might have a person that you cannot stand, and you have banned from any family get togethers. Maybe an ex-partner of someone? And maybe the person in the family who harbours the most hate for that person is the one driving the wedge? Anyway, it kind of made me laugh to think that I had my own Prince Philip moment.
We watched the funeral, pausing often as I took the opportunity to explain to my husband (who bravely takes all my tour guiding fodder when I am desperate to impart knowledge) who was who and what was happening. I paused to point out places inside St George’s Chapel. I paused to explain who Sir Timothy Laurence was, and why he was walking with the family. We fast forwarded through much of the media commentator’s discussion, as it was mostly filler. And now the country pauses as we know that there is a huge royal summit to discuss the next steps of the family. We will likely see more of Prince Charles, Prince William, with Edward and Sophie helping with more royal appearances as Harry makes his way back to sunny California. Princess Anne already holds the title of 'hardest working royal", topping the royal leaderboard of appearances each year. With the departure of her rock, we must all remember her at this time. God Save The Queen.