The royal family is remembering Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, on the anniversary of his death at the age of 99. In the year since his death, the royal family has gone through a variety of changes and not all of them good, as the future of the monarchy is increasingly in question.
On April 9, 2021, the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s dedicated husband of 73 years, died. His passing was not unexpected, but nonetheless it hit the entire royal family hard, especially given the continued fallout over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Andrew exile from public life.
The entire royal family gathered for an incredibly tiny service attended by only 30 people, in coordination with ongoing COVID protocols at the time. It was a very moving memorial, especially with the Queen looking frail, forlorn and alone in the pews of St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.
In March, the royal family held the Service of Thanksgiving for Philip, and it was an opportunity for the Duke’s charities, former staff and royals from across Europe to gather to remember the man who stood faithfully, a few steps behind, his monarch and wife.
To commemorate his death, members of the royal family posted a poem on their social media accounts.
Entitled The Patriarchs – The Elegy, the piece was read by Simon Armitage and accompanied by piano music and pictures of the Duke’s life.
It read: “On such an occasion / to presume to eulogise one man is to pipe up / for a whole generation – that crew whose survival / was always the stuff of minor miracle, / who came ashore in orange-crate coracles, / fought ingenious wars, finagled triumphs at sea / with flaming decoy boats, and side-stepped torpedoes.”
As The Guardian reports: “Armitage describes the duke’s generation as ‘husbands to duty’, ‘great-grandfathers from birth’, and ‘last of the great avuncular magicians’ in the poem, before concluding in the final verse: ‘But for now, a cold April’s closing moments / parachute slowly home, so by mid-afternoon / snow is recast as seed heads and thistledown.’”
No doubt Her Majesty wishes that she could rely on Philip’s strength this year, as it hasn’t been easy.
Between the ongoing tensions caused by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Prince Andrew’s antics, in addition to the media campaign against the Cambridges and the royals in general, the royal family is in an incredibly precarious state.
In fact, the future of the entire system is being seriously publicly questioned in the media. Driven by the narrative started by Harry and Meghan, reporters are questioning the Queen’s decision to let Andrew guide her to her seat in Westminster Abbey for the Service of Thanksgiving, and if the institution can modernize to fit with modern tastes and sensibilities of an increasingly woke and vocal minority that tend to scream loudly on social media.
No doubt, these last two years have been hard on the monarchy, and over the next couple of years some difficult decisions will be made. Will Prince Andrew and Harry lose their dukedoms? Will the royal family more formerly separate themselves from Harry and Meghan? How will the Cambridges work to modernize the royal family?
The loss of Prince Philip has an extra sting, as the Queen, Charles and William likely wish they could seek the wise and sometimes biting wisdom of the Duke of Edinburgh now more than ever.