Victoria Arbiter: 'Prince Philip was more than a caricature of a grumpy old man'

© Getty

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The US coverage of Prince Philip’s funeral, held at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor on April 17, was largely devoid of the respect and gravitas worthy of a man who’d dedicated his life to public duty.

Granted, there was mention of his unparalleled commitment to the Queen, his impressive Naval and wartime service and his ample charitable endeavors, but still much of the commentary focused on the tenuous relationship between Princes William and Harry. Having been advised not to travel due to her pregnancy, the Duchess of Sussex’s absence was laboriously examined, as was Prince Philip’s inauthentic portrayal in The Crown.

Additionally, there were multiple eye-popping flubs. One anchor sparked a sexism row when she questioned why Princess Anne was included in the procession, while an “expert” suggested Princess Margaret’s former husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, was part of the cortège despite the fact he died in 2017.

Overall the extended programming was mediocre at best, which is why I’m hoping the BBC’s tribute to the Iron Duke, set to air in the UK next Wednesday, is subsequently broadcast worldwide.

Showcasing never-before-seen footage from the Queen’s private cine-film collection, Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers will present “an unrivalled portrait of a man with a unique place in royal history.”

Originally conceived to mark what would have been his 100th birthday in June, the hour-long documentary featuring interviews with more than a dozen family members, will include clips of the prince’s personal office, study and library as well as a series of images reflecting his devotion to the Queen.

According to the BBC there will be “poignant recollections, plenty of humour and numerous fresh insights” into the character and legacy of a man who was, in many respects, a “royal pioneer.” In a preview for the special released last weekend Prince William said, “He’s always been a huge presence behind everything we have done.”

Though he was routinely branded a brusque and uncompromising fellow prone to the occasional gaffe, Prince Philip was more than just a short-tempered caricature of a grumpy old man.

Yes, there were times when he was impatient, intolerant and insufferably rude, but more often than not the depiction put forth was inaccurate and unfair. In response, journalist Michael Holden wrote, “Those who knew him said his reputation hid an urbane wit, devotion to his family, love of sport and a dedication to the business of being royal.”

Indeed, his outspoken manner belied his fervent desire to get things done and an inner longing to cut through the crap.

As Prince Edward told Britain’s ITV shortly after his father’s death, “He had a wonderful sense of humour, but of course, you can always misinterpret something or turn it against them, so it sounds like it’s not right. But anyone who had the privilege to hear him speak said it was his humour which always came through and the twinkle in his eye.” He was, as Prince Harry said in a trailer for the doc, “Unapologetically him.”

© Getty Philip was committed to his grandsons’ wellbeing in the aftermath of their mother’s death.

Respectful as he was of the institution of monarchy, Prince Philip loathed the royal flummery that came with it. During a visit to the Chesterfield College of Technology he told students and staff, “A lot of time and energy has been spent on arranging for you to listen to me to take a long time to declare open a building which everyone knows is open already.”

A natural-born leader whose role demanded he defer to his wife, he wrestled with the constraints imposed by royal life, particularly those that forbid him from giving his children his own surname. Nonetheless, despite not having a constitutional position he embarked on a relentless schedule determined to make himself as useful as possible. Upon his retirement in August 2017 Buckingham Palace calculated he’d completed 22,219 solo engagements since the Queen’s accession in 1952.

Descended from a royal family turfed off its throne, Philip recognised the monarchy’s survival hung on public support. A great moderniser, he pushed back against courtiers resistant to change and encouraged them to adapt and evolve in order to meet society’s changing needs.

During a trip to Canada he once said, “If at any stage people feel that the monarchy has no further part to play, then for goodness sake let’s end the thing on amicable terms.” Writing about the institution’s function in 1977, however, he also observed, “People still respond more easily to symbolism than to reason,” indicating his belief in the monarchy’s significance to national identity.

In the wake of his death much was written about the duke’s vast range of interests. His sporting prowess was celebrated, his charitable efforts applauded and concise long-read obituaries provided further insight into his myriad pursuits. The epitome of masculinity, Philip was arguably something of a renaissance man and yet, for all the column inches dedicated to his life, very little was said about the kindness and compassion that lurked beneath his seemingly gruff exterior.

A touching anecdote previously shared in an autobiography by Conservative Party MP Norman Tebbit, perfectly illustrates who Prince Philip was.

© Getty

In October 1984, Margaret Tebbit, Norman’s wife, was partially paralysed in the Brighton bombing. A few years later she and her husband were invited to a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace. Given she struggled to eat with cutlery, Margaret really didn’t want to go. Norman phoned the palace and expressed her concerns, but he was assured all would be well.

Arriving for the dinner, Margaret was mortified to discover she’d been seated next to Prince Philip. As the appetisers were served he made no reference to her physical ailments, nor did he stand on ceremony; instead he handed his cutlery to the footman and proceeded to eat with his fingers. Following his lead, Margaret was able to do the same. Of course, the evening’s menu had been pre-planned to be eaten by hand, but Norman Tebbit claimed it was Prince Philip’s idea.

Next Wednesday, as they pay tribute to their late patriarch’s extraordinary life, Prince Philip’s children and grandchildren will have an opportunity to offer their “personal thoughts and reflections.” In turn, viewers will likely garner new appreciation for the man Zara Tindall says, “Was always there.”

Averse to flattery and fuss, the duke probably wouldn’t take well to a 60-minute program extolling his traits, but considering we rarely hear from family members about one of their own, the special represents a priceless first person account.

After more than seven decades of public service, Britain’s oldest-lived royal male and the longest-serving consort in British history, leaves an irreplaceable void. But, for a clan that’s been decidedly fractured of late, the Queen will undoubtedly be glad to see her family united in honour of her husband of 73 years. From the teaser alone, it’s clear the Windsors miss Prince Philip so very much, but as Prince Charles points out in the clip, “We were lucky to have him for nearly a hundred years.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Chrissie Swan leaves Celebrity MasterChef

© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd The radio host and former Big Brother star Chrissie Swan is the first contestant to leave Celebrity MasterChef, and even though her nerves ... Read more »

A Basque-style cheesecake

Eatwell Sweet loaves 14 Sep, 2021 01:48 AMQuick Read The aroma of a loaf in the oven will get mouths watering. Find the best recipes here. Eatwell Pancake collection 3 ... Read more »

Vic has 1903 new COVID cases, seven deaths

© Erik Anderson/AAP PHOTOS Melbourne’s pubs can open for 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors, and 50 outdoors, from Friday. Victoria has reported 1903 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and seven ... Read more »

Queen gives the go ahead for Buckingham Palace to light up green

Royal fans have expressed delight after Buckingham Palace was illuminated in green in honour of the inaugural Earthshot Prize awards. Queen Elizabeth has given the go ahead for the extraordinary ... Read more »

Police divers join hunt for missing Queensland spear fisherman

Police divers have joined the hunt for a missing Queensland spear fisherman as the search enters its third day. The 26-year-old man went missing at Sudbury Reef off Cairns on ... Read more »

NSW has 265 COVID-19 cases, five deaths

NSW has reported 265 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and five deaths, as thousands of children head back to school and more restrictions are eased for fully vaccinated adults. ... Read more »

Would YOU have Botox for your hair?

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Why, after years — nay decades — of being a Botox refusenik do I find myself sitting in a salon on the receiving ... Read more »

Charlene's dramatic new look sparks concern

© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Princess Charlene of Monaco has shared a new photo from her extended stay in South Africa, but her appearance has left fans concerned. ... Read more »

LUCY CAVENDISH called in a 'mindful mover'

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo When Caroline Harley arrives at the door of my five-bedroom cottage in Oxfordshire, I am not in a happy state of mind. She’s ... Read more »

Severe drought sends Lake Tahoe water levels below natural rim

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Lake Tahoe’s water levels have dropped about half-an-inch below its natural rim as experts warn that another dry winter could put the body ... Read more »

Vic hotel quarantine to be 'thing of past'

© Erik Anderson/AAP PHOTOS Melbourne’s pubs can open for 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors, and 50 outdoors, from Friday. Victoria is set to scrap hotel quarantine for international travellers fully ... Read more »

Lamb cutlets, broad beans, sour cream

Eatwell Sweet loaves 14 Sep, 2021 01:48 AMQuick Read The aroma of a loaf in the oven will get mouths watering. Find the best recipes here. Eatwell Pancake collection 3 ... Read more »

IAN LADYMAN: Why the other Harry must ask to Leave Spurs too

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo  At most football clubs where there has been dysfunction and a quick turnaround of managers, there is usually a player who particularly suffers. At ... Read more »

Solskjaer's support starts to splinter

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Before this thrilling but ultimately one-sided game, both teams had been struggling for form. Leicester had not won a game of note since ... Read more »

Matt Fitzpatrick secures success in the Andalucia Masters

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo How appropriate that a Ryder Cup venue proved the setting as Matt Fitzpatrick moved on from last month’s bitter disappointment at Whistling Straits ... Read more »

Restaurants, pubs and hairdressers booked as Melbourne lockdown ends

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Phones are running hot for hairdressers, pubs and restaurants as fully vaccinated Melburnians get ready for their first taste of freedom in months. ... Read more »

Caution still needed despite more freedoms

Experts have urged Australians to be cautious as lockdowns end and the country reopens, to lessen pressure on hospitals. © Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS People have been told to be ... Read more »

Prince William and Duchess Catherine's surprising fashion rule at glamorous event sees the royals recycling outfits

© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have made a stunning appearance on the ‘green carpet’ at the first Earthshot Prize Awards. Prince ... Read more »

Filha de Joana Diniz faz as primeiras tranças no cabelo. Eis o resultado

A pequena Valentina tem dois anos. © Instagram A pequena Valentina tem dois anos. Aos dois anos, a pequena Valentina, filha de Joana Diniz, fez as suas primeiras tranças no ... Read more »

Ronnie Tutt, drummer for Elvis Presley and the Jerry Garcia Band, dies aged 83

Famed drummer Ronnie Tutt has died at the age of 83. The musician was an original member of Elvis Presley‘s Takin’ Care of Business (aka TCB) Band and the Jerry ... Read more »

US-style taxpayer bill of rights could help Australians fighting the ATO over alleged debts

© Provided by ABC Business Helen Petaia came to a confidential settlement with the ATO after a six-year-long battle over a “fabricated” tax debt.  (ABC News: Mark Leonardi) Helen Petaia once ... Read more »

NT Police reveal how pair who went missing in remote Central Australia near Arlparra managed to survive

© Provided by ABC NEWS Shaun Emitja, 21, and Mahesh Patrick, 14, have been found alive and well after going missing in remote Central Australia. (Supplied: Northern Territory Police, Fire ... Read more »

Driver arrested over three-car crash at Mount Pleasant, woman killed in Birkenhead collision

© Provided by ABC NEWS A passenger in a Holden SUV was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. (ABC News) A driver has been arrested over a three-car crash south ... Read more »

Grilled halloumi with pickled slaw

Eatwell Sweet loaves 14 Sep, 2021 01:48 AMQuick Read The aroma of a loaf in the oven will get mouths watering. Find the best recipes here. Eatwell Pancake collection 3 ... Read more »

5 of the Best Running Shoes You Can Buy on Amazon

© Well+Good Amazon running shoes Whether you’re someone who loves to run or occasionally take a jog every now and then to blow off some steam, having a pair of ... Read more »

Paulene struggles to pay the bills each week and new research finds she's not alone

© Provided by ABC NEWS Paulene and her daughter, Tabitha, are exhausted from “just surviving”. (ABC News: Rachel McGhee) Queensland single mother Paulene dreams of the day she can afford ... Read more »

Nationals won't rush backing climate plan

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce insists the Nationals will not rush a decision on backing a plan to cut carbon emissions with some MPs still unconvinced. © Kelly Barnes/AAP PHOTOS ... Read more »

Fauci says vaccinated Americans can enjoy holiday gatherings together

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can enjoy the upcoming holiday season ‘the way we’ve traditionally done it all along,’ Dr. Anthony ... Read more »

Federal government rolls out international Covid vaccination passport

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The countdown to the return of international travel has taken off with the rollout  of Covid-19 international vaccine passports. Australians desperate to head ... Read more »

"It feels unfinished." All the photos from The Block's backyard reveal in one place.

To catch up on all The Block recaps and gossip, check out Mamamia’s recaps, and visit our The Block hub page.  © Getty Images “It feels unfinished.” All the photos from ... Read more »

Kate and Wills' surprise fashion rule

© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have made a stunning appearance on the ‘green carpet’ at the first Earthshot Prize Awards. Prince ... Read more »

Amazon Gift Cards Are Pretty Much Anywhere, But You Should Really Buy Them Online

© Amazon Amazon gift cards are sold online at Amazon.com and in select drug and grocery stores. Here’s a list of stores that carry Amazon gift cards, like Best Buy ... Read more »

Man sparks debate after asking whether he is wrong to place wife ‘on a budget' in attempt to curb spending

© Provided by The Independent A 25-year-old man has sparked a debate after questioning whether he was wrong to put his wife “on a budget” in an attempt to curb ... Read more »

The natural DIY beeswax moisturiser you can make in minutes

A few years ago I dabbled in making my own moisturiser. I had a whole lot of beeswax left after making some food wraps and was plotting what to do ... Read more »

Indigenous leaders warn of deaths, loss of culture if COVID-19 spreads in remote Aboriginal communities

© Provided by ABC Health First Nations artist and leader, Djambawa Marawili AM, has warned of deaths and the loss of culture  and languages if COVID-19 speads to remote communities in Arnhem ... Read more »

Virgo horoscope, October 18, 2021: Check your astrological prediction here

What will your day look like in terms of health, romance, finance and fortune? Read everything here. Prediction: Property-related matters will pick up the pace. It is time to emphasize ... Read more »

Horoscope today, October 18, 2021: Check your astrological prediction for today

Horoscope today, October 18, 2021: Check your astrological prediction for today Wondering what your luck has in store for you today? Look for your Sun sign in the daily horoscope ... Read more »

Libra horoscope, October 18, 2021: Check your astrological prediction here

What will your day look like in terms of health, romance, finance and fortune? Read everything here. Prediction: You must start keeping a check on your work or business. Be ... Read more »

Gemini horoscope, October 18, 2021: Check your astrological prediction here

Gemini horoscope, October 18, 2021: Check your astrological prediction here What will your day look like in terms of health, romance, finance and fortune? Read everything here. Prediction- You will ... Read more »

Scorpio horoscope, October 18, 2021: Check your astrological prediction here

What will your day look like in terms of health, romance, finance and fortune? Read everything here. Prediction: Intellectual matters will turn out in your favour. The success percentage will ... Read more »