Prince Philip is Dead: You Can Mourn Someone Without Excusing Their Bad Behaviour
“No shit, really?” That was my first reaction when I read that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was dead at 99 this morning. I honestly didn’t think he would die yet. I thought he would make it to 100-years-old at least. Twitter confirmed it. National news confirmed it. All the fanfare on Tumblr proceeded, and it became too real, as did the emotions surging through me.
Prince Philip was a household name growing up. My dad is from the Commonwealth and my mom has always been a royal watcher. The Duke of Edinburgh is generations apart from me — as I more identify with the ‘Prince William/Harry cohort’ — but I knew of him by association to the Queen herself. He wasn’t the biggest deal, and while I am no particular fan of the royal family, it was impossible not to wonder if he’d ever get out of his wife’s shadow. The Pampered Prince. The Royal Necromancer, waiting for his moment to shine.
One person online said, “I hope princess diana is waiting for Philip at the gates with a double-barrel shotgun, get him girl”.
I didn’t know whether to engage or not. I chose not to, but one part of me wanted to laugh. Could the late Princess be enjoying the news of his death wherever she is? Actually, what could his own family be feeling right now?
I also thought about his children, how they must be feeling about how their own deaths to come would be received, coupled with the transgressions of their family’s history. Prince Philip was a proud father of four and married for over 70 years to Queen Elizabeth II, and gave up a promising naval career to stand behind his wife’s succession. I would like to believe that his crippled family life growing up taught him to become self-reliant and self-sacrificing to survive. And that his detached, low-punching sarcasm was just the result of awkward confidence and hereditary blindness to race and classism.
Mind you, I haven’t forgotten about all his terrible comments — documented over the years — about other cultures and views on women. Nor his silence on…