Prince Philip — what a trooper. There is no other headline, really, although one knows that the Duke of Edinburgh, nephew of Earl Mountbatten, hates a fuss.
A member of the peripatetic Greek Royal family, he was raised that way and gained his backbone whilst in the Royal Navy.
Any fears that a recent health scare may have dimmed his notoriously mischievous sense of humour were allayed with his dry remarks to the assembled Press pack on fielding a fairly asinine question as he left hospital. “Well, I wouldn’t be leaving if I wasn’t feeling better, would I?” he quipped.
You can only imagine that a grey, soft Enniskillen day — with duties including, as ever, supporting his wife and walking a couple of steps behind as they attended two church services and a hospital visit — held no fears for this brave man who has brought true grace to his role of being permanent second to the monarch.
Prince Philip is the sort of man who is growing old disgracefully, royal status or no royal status. He recently remarked to a pretty young girl in some line-out in the home counties that if he unzipped her dress (a fetching number with trendy front-zipper detail) he’d be in trouble.
Ha! He is famous for almost as many witticisms as the late Frank Carson, many of them politically incorrect, and has definitely added to the gaiety of nations.
But perhaps the most important element of his job description is the fact that Philip, who cemented his love match with Elizabeth in 1947, makes his wife happy. If a good marriage can be described as a long conversation, you could see as the Queen and her Philip held on during the lengthy, freezing and damp river jubilee pageant, that they could still make each other laugh.
He is durable, seemingly ever-active (apart from his recent health scares) and irrepressible, but we should not take the Queen’s husband for granted. Sadly, Philip will not be around forever and somehow, seeing the Queen finishing her Diamond Jubilee weekend alone was a poignant foretaste of the years when, one guesses, she may be the widowed Queen.
So let’s hear it for the Duke of Edinburgh, who has made many important causes his own, who has maintained dignity in the junior role, who doesn’t look (or sound) 91, and who remains, despite his European background, the very best of British.
Seeing him flirt with his grandson’s mother-in-law in the run up to Ascot was vintage Philip. Hip hip, hooray.