I write this from under an obsidian veil, a solemn tear rolling down my cheek. A jet black armband encircling my bicep. The union flag is flying at half-mast and a mournful dirge breaks the bleakness with yet more bleakness. For dear old Prince Philip has died. Farewell, sweet Prince.
Just kidding, I’m not an establishment columnist! Manufacturing a mood of national mourning has never felt so contrived. At the time of writing, the BBC (UK public service broadcaster) has received at least 110,994 complaints over its fawning wall-to-wall coverage of his death, which began with a tearful announcement by a news presenter and followed with the cancellation of normal programming in favour of a non-stop Phil-fest. This unsurprisingly saw a big drop in viewer numbers.
UK cities, including London and Birmingham, replaced the adverts and COVID advice displayed on electronic billboards with huge images of the Prince’s pampered visage. Mourn, you ungrateful plebs! You might be getting fed up with all the craven ham-fisted attempts to get you to mourn the death of this old rich geezer by now. If so, read on for my republican Prince Philip obit.
Prince Philip, who has died aged 99, was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He was also known as the Duke of Edinburgh. Royals tend to hoard titles. Born into the Danish and Greek royal families, his is a story of riches to riches. With a sprinkling of Nazis. Three of his four older sisters were active Nazis, there is an embarrassing photo of Philip at the funeral of his sister Cecilie flanked by uniformed Nazis. Although Philip did not become a Nazi, he minimised his sibling’s Nazism and consistently expressed racist opinions throughout his ‘career’ as the Queen’s consort.
Philip first met his cousin Elizabeth when he was 18 and she was 13 and they started writing to each other. After a stint in the Navy during the Second World War, on the non-Nazi side unlike his sisters, he married Elizabeth, who was crowned Queen a few years later. It’s the posh sort of inbreeding so it’s socially acceptable.
After marrying his cousin, his job was to be married to the Queen. It pays quite well and is fairly light on actual work. Amidst all the media fawning and mourning, there have been a couple of truly bizarre articles that have argued that he “turned traditional gender roles upside down.” A stay at home father who was happy to take a backseat to his wife’s career. Yes, really. He was apparently an unlikely feminist hero who “allowed his spouse the spotlight”. Well yeah, she’s the bloody Queen in a hereditary monarchy. I remain unconvinced by these painfully laboured portrayals.
Ah Him. Didn’t he say loads of dodgy stuff?
Philip spent much of his time as the Queen’s consort making rude and often racist comments. These are now being repainted by the unctuous media and political class as hilarious gaffes, charming quirks and attempts at humour. They probably were deeply unfunny attempts at humour, as well as instances of pointedly getting away with being a racist tosser.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson excused them in this manner saying that his “politically incorrect” remarks were his way of “trying to break the ice, to get things moving, to get people laughing.” This is unsurprising given Johnson’s own reputation for saying racist things.
Here are a few of Philip’s racist remarks:
- “If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes.” To a group of British students in China.
- “You managed not to get eaten then?” To a British student who had visited Papua New Guinea.
- “Do you still throw spears at each other?” To an Aboriginal leader in Queensland, Australia.
- “It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.” About a fusebox, during a tour of a factory.
And here are some more crass remarks:
- “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.” In an interview to the Deutsche Presse Agentur in 1988.
- “If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?” After the Dunblane school shooting in 1996 in which 16 primary school children and their teacher were shot dead.
- “Young people are the same as they always were. They are just as ignorant.” At the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme 50th Anniversary.
- “You could do with losing a little bit of weight.” To a 13 year old child with ambitions to be an astronaut.
There are numerous other examples, demonstrating that as well as being an extremely rich and privileged old man, he was openly racist, reactionary and unpleasant in his public interactions. We can only imagine what he must have been like in private. Remind me why we’re mourning him again? Oh, the Queen’s husband/cousin thing. Right.
Don’t Mourn Shirkers, Organise Workers!
Eight days of official mourning have been declared in the UK. When ordinary people lose a loved one in the UK they often get less time off work than this. National Rail turned their train information and ticket buying website grey “as a mark of respect”. This caused accessibility problems for visually impaired users, but mourning an old bigot was more important than such trivial considerations. A public backlash made them reconsider this odd decision after a couple of days. Must we all make similarly embarrassing public displays of sorrow? Must we tug the forelock as the politicians have scrambled to, even those in the so-called Labour Party?
Labour leader Keir Starmer was in such a hurry to lick the royal boot that he ‘breached royal protocol’ by offering his condolences before the Prime Minister and got a ticking off from the tabloid Daily Mail. The House of Commons (the democratically elected house of the UK Parliament) devoted seven hours to tributes to the Prince. Seven hours of cringing deferential speeches from our democratic representatives. Political parties suspended their local election campaigning as a ‘mark of respect’. When it’s a choice between monarchy and democracy in the UK, clearly monarchy comes first. It absolutely should not.
The Prince’s dreadful paedophile-adjacent son, Prince Andrew, was wheeled out to tell us that old Philip was the “grandfather of the nation”. That was probably a bad idea in terms of getting the public onside.
The attempt to create a national mood of collective mourning serves a purpose. It reinforces the unequal status quo; these people are important, it says. This Prince who died of natural causes at the age of 99 is more important than the 127,000 people who have died of COVID during the pandemic in the UK. They don’t get eight days of public mourning. The rich bigot does, because he’s a Prince and they’re not, they’re just ordinary beautiful people. Don’t look at them, look up at the glitzy gems and palaces and identify with that. That is British, it says, and so are you. Be proud of your racist Prince. He was ‘traditional’ and you like tradition. He was ‘of his time’; a euphemism for racist. Embrace the rose-tinged nostalgia. Embrace it.
The ruling class attempt to get us to ‘buy in’ to the system that oppresses us with this over the top royal pantomime. Know your place subjects, celebrate and mourn your betters! God Save the Queen (and her husband). Or let’s scrap the whole charade and remember those who are worth remembering. Our nurses, doctors, bus drivers, shop workers, bartenders, baristas, carers: thousands and thousands of our loved ones. Organise and fight for the things worth fighting for and ignore the royal distraction.
I hope the over-the-top coverage of Prince Philip’s death leads to an anti-royal backlash. The viewing figures for the coverage and much social media commentary suggest that the establishment media may have pushed it too far. Forgive me if I break the eight days of mourning early, I have things to be getting on with.
My final thought is, if this is the media reaction to the death of a 99 year old notoriously racist Prince, when the Queen snuffs it, I’m throwing my phone and telly into the sea.