I heard the news early on that Prince Philip had died.
I’m not particularly a Royalist, but I’m not anti-Monarchist either, and I do appreciate the history of the many Kings and Queens we’ve had on these shores.
An American woman once told me, when I was in London, that she envied us of our royals. And of our history-she said, myopically, that hers was a modern country compared to Britain, which isn’t strictly true, but I knew what she meant.
Philip died in the castle that his mother was born in, and regular Jackdaw readers will know that I’m a sucker for connections like that. He was 99 when he passed, which means that he was almost eligible for a telegram from his own wife.
Incidentally, during my time as a postman, I delivered one of those telegrams from the Queen to a delightful woman who’d just turned a hundred years old. Her family, proud, were awaiting my arrival, and she, of a deferential generation, held a certain understated satisfaction. It truly was the Royal Mail that I worked for that spring morning.
The Duke’s death is a reminder that our Monarch herself is 94, and whether she steps down or not there really is the sense of an ending now-a closing of this second Elizabethan age. For most of us, Elizabeth is the only ruler we’ve known, with her husband the mainstay beside her. For the first time in our lives a Coronation is coming. That will be something to behold. The American woman would love that.