The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Admired by even critics of the royals

- LINDA SILMALIS

In the end, even the staunchest of passionate republican­s had to admit there was a great deal to admire about Prince Philip.

As flags on government buildings — including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Parliament House — were lowered to half mast as a mark of respect, royal fans across the nation paused to share their memories of “the Duke”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was up at 5am writing his speech, led the tributes, delivering a heartfelt message to Queen Elizabeth before signing the official royal condolence­s book with Governor-General David Hurley ahead of a 41-gun salute in Canberra.

“Your Majesty, here in Australia, and indeed across the world, your Commonweal­th family joins in your sorrow and your mourning, and that of your family,” he said.

Former prime ministers John Howard, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard also spoke of the Duke’s impact on public life and deep ties to Australia.

Mr Howard said it was the Duke’s “informal style” that endeared him to Australian­s.

“He had a great sense of humour and gave a short shrift to political correctnes­s when he encountere­d it, and that endeared him to millions of people,” he said.

Such was the appeal of the Duke, even staunch republican­s such as former NSW Labor premier Bob

Carr took time to offer their respects.

Mr Carr described Prince Philip as hailing from the “hero generation”.

“He served in World War II for the cause of freedom,” Mr Carr said.

“He made a serious commitment to the service and that fact alone is reason to mourn his loss.”

The Duke’s “serious” interest in the environmen­t was also cause to honour him, with Mr Carr recalling a lengthy chat about “North Sea fish stocks” during one of his royal visits, saying “he was highly knowledgea­ble”.

And while the Duke copped heat for his faux pas, Mr Carr said he liked Prince Philip’s humour “and ability to offend people”.

“Every time somebody was reporting on his faux pas, I thought ‘go for it’,” he said.

 ??  ?? Governor-General David Hurley signs the book of condolence.
Governor-General David Hurley signs the book of condolence.

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