Prince philip

The London Library should leave us in peace

Reading only slightly between the lines of US foreign policy on Israel/Gaza, I detect that its most urgent aim is to get rid of Benjamin Netanyahu. The same goes for the Foreign Office and Lord Cameron. The shocking killing of the World Central Kitchen workers is being pressed into the service of this cause by London and Washington. Obviously there are lots of reasons – corruption accusations, alleged divisiveness, Anno Domini – why it might soon be time for the Israeli Prime Minister to depart, but why is that a decision for Israel’s western allies? Don’t we normally allow fellow democracies to make up their own minds who leads them,

Resolute, dignified and intelligent: Elizabeth II inspired loyalty from the start

It was George VI who first called his extended family ‘the Firm’. Today, with so many injuries and key players on the bench, it might better be known as ‘the Team’ – and one struggling to avoid relegation. It’s what you might call a reign in pain. So it’s a good time for Alexander Larman to publish this appreciative, but not sycophantic, conclusion to his royal trilogy. Its predecessors were The Crown in Crisis (2020) and The Windsors at War, published last year. The latest volume concerns the period between VE Day in 1945 and the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth in 1953 when, in Larman’s telling, the royal

The Queen’s dedication to service was learnt at her father’s knee

If you have ever thought that there cannot be anything new to say or to learn about the Queen, you have not yet read Robert Hardman’s revelatory new biography of her in this, her astonishing Platinum Jubilee year. Hardman has spent the past 30 years researching and understanding the British monarchy, and he writes with an extraordinary fount of knowledge but, even more important, with a heartfelt appreciation of what has been called ‘the genius of constitutional monarchy’ and for the members of the family who implement it. He has interviewed everyone possible, including Prince Philip’s German great-niece and almost everyone else on the German side of the family, of

The Prince Andrew conundrum

Prince Philip’s memorial service yesterday was an affecting occasion. The hymns, including Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer and Britten’s Te Deum In C were well chosen, and the Dean of Windsor’s well-judged sermon acknowledged both the Duke of Edinburgh’s sincere but never pious religious faith and his energetic, at times abrasive personality. The Dean suggested, rightly, that the Duke would never have wanted to be remembered as a plaster saint. After the low-key Covid-necessitated funeral service of last year, it was a public reminder that the royal family can still command both dignity and respect. So why, then, have today’s headlines been so dreadful? She was acting as a

What is it like to be worshipped as a god in one’s lifetime?

In January 1780 the news reached London that Captain Cook had been killed and eaten in Hawaii. The story of his death was met with morbid fascination by the general public, inspiring paintings, poems and even a ballet. This ballet was so violent that one of the dancers accidentally stabbed another during the scene of the attack, yet it was also a fantastic success, touring the theatres of Europe and America. Soon aristocratic women were wearing dresses modelled on the natives who killed Cook, and interest in the explorer’s death continued into the 19th century, until one wit noted that every museum in the world contained a copy of the

Why can’t King’s College academics cope with a photo of Prince Philip?

Librarians aren’t known for causing trouble. But at our elite universities, in the grip of an increasingly unhinged culture of offence-taking, it doesn’t take much to cause trouble nowadays. This is the news that a library director at King’s College London has been forced to make a grovelling apology for emailing around a photo of Prince Philip. Hot on the heels of that student at Abertay being investigated for saying women have vaginas, this one is right up there with the most absurd campus stories to date. In a bulletin marking the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, Joleen Clarke, associate director of the university’s libraries, sent a photo of Philip and

Will the Vanuatu tribes now worship Prince Charles?

In the days after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, there was much eagerness to hear from a particular group of royal watchers: the folk of a few tiny villages in the South Pacific where the late Prince was venerated as a mountain god. When a video message did eventually surface, rolled out among the broadcasters, the world saw a gathering of bearded faces sending solemn condolences. The depth of sentiment probably surprised a few viewers. After all, the ‘Prince Philip cult’ is often framed rather frivolously in our media. But the feelings among these people for the Duke are genuine. I’ve spent time in Vanuatu with the Yakel tribe who believe

Why I don’t regret leaving the BBC

I have just had my second jab and it poses a dilemma. As an assiduous Covid rule-taker, I have been appalled by those — including friends and relatives — who have flouted or sidestepped the regulations and guidelines in the belief that they don’t apply to them. ‘We know we shouldn’t but it’s good for us’ or ‘We use our common sense’, they say. Since the issue is as incendiary as Brexit, I have fumed in silence. Of course the rules are anomalous and inadequately explained by ministers but I tend to trust the scientists. That said, the mantra ‘no one is safe until we are all safe’ is clearly

Portrait of the week: Covid pills, Chauvin’s conviction and a red card for the Super League

Home Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, announced the hunt was on for two effective pills to treat Covid, to be ready (after clinical trials) by the autumn. He had cancelled a visit to India, which has seen an increase in Covid deaths, with Delhi put into lockdown. Scarcely was his trip off than India was added to a ‘red list’ of countries from which most travel to Britain is forbidden. Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition, visited The Raven public house in Bath only for the landlord to shout at him: ‘Get out of my pub!’ He left. By the beginning of the week 9,416,968 people had received

The islanders who met their god – Prince Philip

Some time around 2006 my then flatmate, a filmmaker, had a good idea: why not make a programme of reverse anthropology? Instead of going to the jungle with some square-jawed presenter to marvel at the natives, he decided to bring the natives here, to England, to see what they made of us. The islanders who arrived one drizzly day were from Tanna, in the South Pacific, and their particular interest in coming here was to meet god, aka HRH Prince Philip. Before they arrived, I felt a certain amount of patronising anxiety. They believed that Prince Philip had emerged from a volcano on Tanna. Would I be able to keep

My painstaking preparations for Prince Philip’s funeral

The files arrived marked ‘STRICT EMBARGO’ and ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ and ‘FORTH BRIDGE REVISED’ and stamped with various crests and insignia. My dog Mot was intrigued and sniffed the stack warily. I have a few days to ingest this mass of information — ceremonial detail, armed forces involvement, order of service, processional arrangements, musical selections, historical precedent, the unabridged chronicle of Windsor and its College of St George and its splendid chapel — before hosting the BBC’s coverage of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh. In four hours of live broadcasting, watched by an audience of millions, the focus is on accuracy and tone. Most of the people doling out advice

Charles Moore

A word about Prince Philip and religion

The recent Sewell report on Race and Ethnic Disparities has been much abused and little read. It is full of interesting suggestions, however. One, emphasising the shared history of modern Britain, is to compile ‘a dictionary or lexicon of well-known British words which are Indian in origin’. Actually, such a work already exists. It is called Hobson-Jobson, ‘a glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive’. Edited by Colonel Henry Yule, Royal Engineers, and Dr A.C. Burnell, of the Madras Civil Service, it was completed in 1886. It is a large, fascinating book, half an hour in whose company is never wasted.

Portrait of the week: Duke of Edinburgh dies, Covid retreats and questions for Cameron

Home The Duke of Edinburgh, who was married to the Queen for 73 years, died at Windsor Castle, aged 99. The Queen was said to feel ‘a huge void’. Union flags flew at half mast; gun salutes were fired. For a day the BBC cancelled television schedules and broadcast the same programmes on all its channels. Parliament was recalled a day early. No laws would be passed until after the funeral on 17 April at Windsor, to be attended by no more than 30, in compliance with coronavirus legislation. As a mark of respect, the Prime Minister thought better of being photographed drinking beer in a newly liberated pub garden,

The enduring power of the monarchy

Fourteen prime ministers; 18 general elections; seven changes of government. Even in a stable country like Britain it is remarkable how much political water has flowed under the bridge in the 69 years since the late Duke of Edinburgh became consort to Elizabeth II. Britain has gone from a country of outside lavatories to one of conspicuous wealth, from an independent nation to a member of the EU and back again, from an empire to a champion of global trade. Some see the past seven decades as a period of national decline, yet the quality of life has improved hugely. In 1952, life expectancy at birth for Britons was 69;

How often does it snow in April?

D of E awards A few of the late Duke of Edinburgh’s lesser-known titles and honours: — Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu (Papua New Guinea); Grand Commander of the Order of Maritime Merit of the San Francisco Port Authority; Grand Cross in Brilliants of the Order of the Sun of Peru; Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon (Iceland); Member First Class of the Order of the Supreme Sun (Afghanistan); Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum (Japan); Grand Cross with Chain in the Order of the Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia). Paying their respects The Duke of Edinburgh will have only 30 mourners at his funeral, thanks

The day I danced with the Duke of Edinburgh

I started working for the royal family in a temporary role at Balmoral Castle, Her Majesty the Queen’s residence in the Highlands, in 2006. I spotted an advert on my university careers website and thought it might be a good summer stop-gap job until I found something more permanent. I must have made a good impression as, three months later, I found myself one of a few staff members returning to London on the royal flight with HM and her troop of corgis. Buckingham Palace was then my ‘home’ for the next four years. I remember my first morning there — the changing of the guard was taking place in

My return to New York is a mixed blessing

New York Ha, ha! What London turned down, the Bagel accepted with alacrity, namely the poor little Greek boy. And it took ten minutes max after disembarking to go through customs and collect my luggage. Kennedy had fewer people than a gay wedding in Saudi, and then some. Mind you, the Upper East Side, where I live, is also as quiet as a grave, the only sound being the occasional ambulance with its siren on racing for a tea break. Central Park, now devoid of tourists, has never looked better, weeping willows with recently sprouted leaves, birds singing the length of an empty Park Avenue, long green lawns stretching out

Rod Liddle

How I’ll remember Shirley Williams

Shortly after the news of Prince Philip’s death was announced by Buckingham Palace, a woman called Karen Geier tweeted the following: ‘Deeply saddened to hear it was peaceful. He deserved so much more (pain).’ Ms Geier is a writer who has been published by, among others, the Guardian and the Huffington Post. That’s the kinder, gentler left for you. Meanwhile, the BBC received 100,000 complaints (a record) for its relentless coverage, the entire schedule having been ripped up on 9 April so that a succession of people could explain to us how nice the Prince was. I suspect it wasn’t only carping lefties phoning in to moan — I grew

How to eulogise the Duke of Edinburgh

The reason why Greeks and Romans would have found it difficult to eulogise the Duke of Edinburgh was that he did not hold the supreme office: his wife did. This disturbance to the ‘natural’ order of things made the Duke an anomaly. Had he not been, handbooks on the topic would have extolled him as follows. His parents would be noble, of a splendid race and ancestry, and his place of birth a distinguished one. Omens would attend his birth. His education would feature the finest teachers, associates and friends, imbuing him with traditional values, a mind apt for learning, and attention to physical fitness. Then came his moral and