Prince Phillip, now he is a proper chap: politically incorrect, a fine athlete who wears a suit like nobody’s business and, what’s more, he married a Queen!
If that doesn’t sound like a glittering resume to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond, I should like to see the eventual actor given the role.
Recently, the 96-year-old – known in affectionate jest by private eye as Phil the Greek – announced his retirement from public life after an event at Lord’s. The cricket loving husband of the Queen is not – like many English batsmen at the home of cricket – suffering from a case of the nervous nineties; rather the old boy just wants to take a slower pace of life.
I for one think he has earned his right to recline in allubescency.
Nowadays, it is deemed unfashionable to be a supporter of the Royal family. This is a sad state of affairs and which I, as a staunch royalist, rail against. I bloody love the whole polo playing philandering family.
The liberal elite may scoff from behind their copies of the Guardian about elitism and complain that life isn’t fair.
Sure Randy Andy clocks a few too many air miles; Edward might have a limp handshake; Charles may be branded an exquisitely dressed odd-ball; and most of the kids are struggling hard to shake off the image of work shy party animals.
However, what the Islington Bolsheviks fail to ask themselves is: “wouldn’t we all do the same, given the chance”?
Anyways I digress from my tribute to the great man, the Duke of Edinburgh. A gentleman who has told photographers to “take the fucking photo” and asked Pygmies whether “they still chuck spears”.
A man with a brilliant and unusually combination of perfect manners and transgression, all done with twinkle in his hazel eyes.
There is, however, a grim section of society that wants to vilify Phillip for his bizarre, occasionally crass, comments – predominantly those with a love of craft beer and an equal hatred for Piers Morgan.
I on the other hand find his inimitable skill at putting his foot in his mouth delightfully endearing rather than enraging.
Let us not forget the youthful Phil. Sailor. Cad. Zeitgeist. Always exemplarily dressed and a fore runner – with JFK – in the ‘how to pull off a pair of sunglasses’ stakes.
He has, of course, been described as a “rock” by The Queen, herself, and a “bloody legend” by his Grandson, the estimable Prince Harry.
Although he has been a marvellous consort and splendid statesman it is, nevertheless, the gaffes that will be his epitaph.
Moreover, I would suggest that Phillip was not the only person in the whole world that when discovering that Madonna was singing the new James Bond theme tune asked whether he was “going to need ear plugs.”
Likewise he would have had many sympathisers when he responded to the unique combination of a group of deaf children and a less than promising steel band with the words: “deaf? If you’re stood near there, no wonder you are deaf.”
Sure there is slight old school misogyny to many of his quips. The gentleman who has humbly stood in his wife’s diminutive shadow for 70 years once asked a female sea cadet: “Do you work in a strip club?”, compared his son’s new mansion to a “tart’s bedroom” and sensationally confirmed with a fashion writer that she wasn’t “wearing mink knickers”.
There is, of course, a logical side to the royal. At a project to protect turtle doves in Anguilla in 1965, he said: “Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird?”
Philip is nevertheless an aristocrat, which means that a wee tipple is never far from the great man’s mind. On a trip to Scotland in the mid nineties the Duke came across a driving instructor, tilted his tall angular frame and asked earnestly: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”
However, one must be sure to know what drink to offer the Prince. A swarthy Italian waiter – all waistcoat and Macassar oil – offered him a glass of the finest chianti since Julius Caesar has produced.
“I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!” Snapped the Duke.
The man always cuts a dash in his fine tailored cloth; his adroit occasional outfits are classy but never portentous. That said it should not be forgotten that he is royalty and is quite rightly used to a certain amount of luxury.
“If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly,” said Phillip.
Couldn’t agree more old boy. Well played and keep the bloody flag flying.