Farewell Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth and a leading figure in the British royal family for almost seven decades, has died aged 99. Adrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS

As tributes and condolences poured in the wake of the announcement of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, we are left to ponder on the very important issue of life itself.

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said it was a great honour to have served as Equerry for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the late Duke of Edinburgh. He has special memories of his interaction with the late Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99.

“I was a major back then in the Royal Fiji Military Forces and my Commander, Colonel Paul Manueli, ordered me to fly to Tonga to await the Queen and Prince Philip’s arrival from Samoa, as part of her Silver Jubilee Pacific Tour in February 1977,” he remembers.

“I remember feeling very honoured and proud. Also a bit anxious to be given such a momentous task.”

His first encounter with Prince Philip was at the Queen Salote International Wharf in Nukualofa, Tonga, as they arrived for a one-day tour of the Pacific Island kingdom before sailing for Fiji aboard the royal yacht Britannia. This is a little shared view of the feeling held by many people over the monarchy.

Yesterday, The Washington Post touched on reactions to Prince Philip’s death from around the world. Back in Britain, The Guardian referred to him as a man of his time. The New York Times stated: The Duke of Edinburgh, who married the future queen in 1947, brought the monarchy into the 20th century, but his occasional tactless comments hurt his image.

For whatever it’s worth, death is inevitable. Although Prince Philip’s death was not unexpected, it left an indelible impression on the minds of many people, especially now, when you factor in COVID-19 restrictions around the world. Let’s face it, Prince Philip’s death would have come off as a reminder for many people of that process of life that ultimately ends one day.

This reality of life and death would have been raised as more people are confined to their homes amidst the global pandemic.

There is a sombre message that all things will eventually pass one day. It does raise the issue of life on to a high pedestal. Prince Philip would be remembered for different things by different people.

Whether he was an imposing figure, constantly seen by the side of the Queen, or a man who said what he wanted to in public, he would be remembered as the man who spent more than 73 years married to the Queen. He had become a feature of the monarchy, tall and commanding a presence wherever he went.

The Guardian suggests his death will leave a void in the heart of the monarchy. We are reminded though about the importance of life, and how fragile it can be. This is why it is extremely important that there is value in life and there is an appreciation that all things will come to pass someday.

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