Thursday, June 09, 2011

Happy Birthday to HRH Prince Philip

Thank you for your 6 decades of support to Our Sovereign Lady.HM PM Cameron pays tribute. He is an amazing man. God Bless Prince Philip. God save the Queen

There has never been the slightest hint of scandal, or any reproach against his personal integrity. Over a span of six decades, this is also extraordinary. And yet he never surrendered his personality while carrying out his self-effacing task. He has been one of the most vivid figures in our national life, with a unique ability to project his own personality.

It is very easy to say what he stands for: duty, service, discretion, kindness, concern, eccentricity. His commitment to the cause has been exemplary. Until last year, when he cut down for health reasons, he was still carrying out well over 300 engagements a year. No wonder the political and media classes that have gradually taken control of Britain over the past few decades have so much contempt for the Duke. Disinterested public service fits in neither with the Right-wing narrative of private enterprise nor New Labour’s conception of a centralised, domineering political class.

Each of us tends to be formed in our late teens and early 20s: those are the years when we discover the world and our own limitations. For the Duke, his formative years were the 1940s. He served in battleships and destroyers throughout the Second World War, being mentioned in despatches, was involved in the Allied invasion of Sicily and was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered. Returning to Britain, he wooed and won the Queen.

That generation of the 1940s made terrible and, to us, unthinkable sacrifices. They risked their lives again and again, at home and on the frontline, and knew death and destruction in the struggle against fascism. They had very few material comforts (Prince Philip had to borrow a suit when he first visited Balmoral) and perhaps it is true that some of their humour was a little uncouth. My own feeling is that they were the greatest generation of Britons there has ever been, and that Prince Philip, like so many of his contemporaries, has a great deal to teach us as he approaches his 90th birthday.

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