We should never let ourselves forget that the Queen is actually part of a magnificent double-act. Opposites clearly do attract as the never faulting, perfect Queen is amazingly joined by a magnetic-love force to her somewhat unconventional hubby. Nevertheless, odd as this couple may seem, they are perfectly united together to cope with any crisis that may face our nation. If one can look beyond the extravagant jewels and uniforms donned for so many royal events, it is their relationship and unity that radiates the important values of the simple things in life, such as the love shared within a family. Prince Philip is a quintisentially English man simply setting an example to help teach us all how to be more English, and family values are not to be overlooked as they are one of the most vital parts of our magnificent heritage. He has always been by her side, supporting her through thousands of events, engagements and Royal Variety Shows, of which some he openly admitted he found, umm, displeasing. In 1969, he asked Tom Jones after his performance: “What do you gargle with, pebbles?”. This was shortly followed by him adding: “It is very difficult at all to see how it is possible to become immensly valuable by singing what I think are the most hideous songs.”
‘The Duke of Hazzard’, as I’m sure he would take pleasure in being dubbed, is notorious, even infamous, for his foot-in-mouth one-liners that usually cause half the nation to crinkle their toes and scrunch up their faces as they cringe through the awkward moment. However, the other half tend to find that there is no other option but to laugh along with the Duke, because he is sure to be laughing too. He recently bestowed his patronage on London’s ‘Eccentric Club’ and he is undoubtedly the only man for the job. He is unconventional, and doesn’t give a monkey’s thought before he opens his mouth, with the usual result being that he sounds absolutely bananas. But through all this, he is loveable. As a result of not hiding his true self from his adoring public, we have every trust in his genuineness. The further out from the conventions of popular culture this man seems to go, the more we seem to pull him back into it with desperate, clawing hands. We need a man that makes us proud to live on our little island.
Behind the royal veneer there is a humble yet golden heart. Once he complained: “I never see any home cooking – all I get is fancy stuff.” This comic line holds strains of slight sorrow, and my heart goes out to him. What a relentless lifestyle it must be, and with his 91st birthday looming on the 10th June, it is inspiring to see he continues to pursue his duties forever with a joke and a smile. The youth of today always seem far too serious. I know I sound way older than I am and I apologise for any hint of patronisation, but it is the truth. A fear of the world is instilled upon them and their grim outlooks on depressing prospects and the stern way they preach of worldly problems is frankly depressing. Prince Philip can show you the way to happiness people! He says what he’s thinking because he means it with no harm, he puts humour into the most sombre occasions and let’s be honest, if he’s good enough to make the Queen happy, he’s good enough for us.
So this weekend, when you are raising a glass of Pimm’s to the sky and cheering “God save the Queen”, spare a thought for The Duke, because he’s been volunteering to put a smile on our grumpy nation’s faces for sisxt years now, and that is truly no mean feat.