Prince Philip: 99 Years Filled with Legacy and Controversies
On 09.04.2021, the world was shocked by the news of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh's death. Even though he was quite old, he had been such a big part of the Royal Family for so long that people did not expect this day to come one day. Prince Philip had been the husband of Queen Elizabeth II for 74 years, and he had an unarguably significant impact on the Royal Family history and in the world. He was "the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family," and he had four children with Queen Elizabeth. Prince Philip had been a controversial person throughout all these years: The Prince has been loved by so many, but also, he had been the center of criticism and allegations. He had a remarkable life that was lived in front of the whole world; however, still, he had a disguised personality that made many people have dubious thoughts about him.
Prince Philip's approval into the Royal Family had not been a smooth journey. There had been many criticisms about his personality, and not everybody did warmly welcome him. A famous despisement about him was that he was "rough, ill-mannered, uneducated and would probably not be faithful." However, people who do not accept him were not successful in deterring the future Queen from marrying him. He had to abandon his Prince of Greece and Denmark titles and become a neutralized British subject to marry erstwhile Princess Elizabeth. Regardless of being married to the Queen of the United Kingdom for 74 years, Prince Philip never held the title of king. This was because of the rule that only male sovereigns of the Royal Family can use the title of the king, and a man who marries a monarch cannot have the title. Not being a monarch but the husband of the monarch, he was always titled and referred to as a prince. One of the most significant and long-running discussions that he started was about the surnames of his and Queen's children in the early 1950s. He wanted his family to take his surname, Maunbatten, while Queen Elizabeth insisted on having the surname "Windsor," which was her family name. Prince Philip uttered his reputed and much-discussed words: "I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children! I am nothing but a bloody amoeba!"
Prince Philip had a reputation of making never-ending jokes which were sometimes found funny, but other times leading to long-discussed issues and besmirching his reputation. Because of his statement and "jokes," he and the Royal Family had to deal with some controversies, including his "racist" remarks. The fact that he had more than one incident made the subject deeper. One very well-known example was his visit to China in 1986. When he was in a private session with the British students of Xi'an' Northwestern University, he said the words that he considered as a "joke", but which led to many debates: "If you stay here much longer, you'll go slit-eyed." In another scene, he drew criticism on himself when he was with deaf children at a concert in 1999 in Wales, and he said, "No wonder you are deaf listening to this row.". After this goofing, he had had to release an official statement in which he had to explain his good intentions while uttering this sentence.
Prince Philip's one of the most wondered and talked about relationships was the one with his late daughter-in-law, Princess Diana. The world was always curious about Princess's life, and her relationship with Prince Philip had been on the table a lot, especially after her tragic death. It is claimed that Prince Philip was one of the closest members of The Royal Family for Princess Diana. Prince Philip was accommodating and sincere towards Princess Diana when she joined The Royal Family and made her feel included since both were the outsiders in a powerful family was one of the things they shared in common. Even after Prince Charles and Princess Diana broke up, they did not lose contact. It is even stated that he tried to help, and Philip and Diana continued writing letters to each other. Prince Philip signed the letters as "Pa.," and he wrote, "We never dreamed he might feel like leaving you for her. I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla. Such a prospect never entered our heads." The letters continued for a while until things got unpleasant. After Prince Philip tried to save the marriage and at one point started trying to manage Diana's behaviors, the relationship doors were closed. It is reported that some of his last letters made Diana extremely furious. The most memorable event about this relationship was the claims that Prince Philip was the one who gave the order of murder of Princess Diana, and the car crash that took her life was planned. Dodi Faye's father, -Dodi Fayed, also died in the same car crash- Mohamed Al-Fayed claimed that it was Prince Philip who gave the order, and everything was planned. It is known that Philip emotionally supported Diana's children in the funeral of their mother and throughout their grief. However, none of the things could deny these theories, and he was always considered one of the most suspicious people in the death of Princess Diana.
Prince Philip was always a great consort to Queen Elizabeth, and he is highly respected and loved by many people. However, the controversies were never ruled out of court throughout his life, and they still manage to be remembered and talked about. After all, it would be better to finish with his own words about his contribution to British life: "I've just done what I think is my best. Some people think it's all right. Some don't. What can you do? I can't change my way of doing things. It's part of my style. It's just too bad, they'll have to lump it."
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by Gizem AKDOĞAN