The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Why petulant Harry should be ashamed

- LUCY CARNE COMMENT

We lost more than just a man with the death of Prince Philip. Gone too is a symbol of the past that has become so desperatel­y rare in these modern me-focused times.

For despite attempts to paint him as a joke or pantomime villain, the Duke of Edinburgh epitomised service, sacrifice and the “get on with it” attitude honed by his years of war heroics and family tragedy. And that is what makes his passing so sad.

Not that his death at 99 years of age was a surprise. It’s even being said that within the Palace it was known he was at death’s door for the past fortnight. But now it is just the Queen, aged 94, alone.

And what remains of the royal family without the backbone of Philip, is a very sorry mess.

Gone is the Queen’s constant presence two steps behind her.

Gone is her steadfast companion in no-nonsense hard work, humility and humour.

The Duke was, as the Queen described at their 1997 golden wedding celebratio­n “my strength and stay”.

But his attributes have seemingly failed to be passed down to the next generation­s of royals. And it seems he was well aware of this flaw. He was once asked by a journalist at a function: “You and the Queen, sir, are admired everywhere for your sense of duty. It must cause you such anxiety that some of the younger members of the family seem from time to time to let the team down.” Philip reportedly snapped back: “Well, what were we supposed to do? Strangle them at birth?”

He would never have been so stupid as to fraternise with a paedophile, like Prince Andrew did.

While he was dedicated to protecting the environmen­t, he would never have been as silly as to “talk to plants”, like

Prince Charles.

And as a penniless European royal, who the Queen fell for at the age of 13, Philip would never have been as petulant as Prince William, who strung Kate Middleton along in an eight-year on-off relationsh­ip before marrying her.

But if there was any confirmati­on that his death marks the end of an era of royal loyalty and ardor, simply compare Prince Philip and Prince Harry.

Consider the Duke of

Sussex’s pitiful 21-word post to his grandfathe­r announced through Twitter’s miasma by a royal reporter pal of Meghan’s.

While the rest of the royal family united in grief with a synchronis­ed statement from the Queen, Meghan and Harry took a staggering six hours to respond publicly with a two-line message on their

Archewell website that said: “Thank you for your service ... You will be greatly missed.”

The use of the word “service” can only be interprete­d as yet another stab at the royal family.

In a statement from the Queen in February, confirming that Meghan and Harry were done with their royal duties, Buckingham Palace asserted that, “it is not possible to continue with the responsibi­lities and duties that come with a life of public service”.

The couple shot back with their own statement (again released on Twitter by Meghan’s friend) that claimed: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”

So to reflect on Prince Philip’s death with such a terse statement, thanking him only for his “services” seems deeply perplexing. How could it not be seen as yet another bitter swipe by the couple?

Consider also Meghan and Harry’s decision to go ahead with their controvers­ial Oprah interview, even though the duke was hospitalis­ed and seriously ill and the Queen reportedly distressed.

But as support for the Queen now floods in from across the world, perhaps Harry and Meghan will realise their attempt to trash the monarchy was a disgracefu­l misstep and will not easily be forgiven or forgotten. They have naively assumed that their California­n celebrity status could outshine a grumpy old man, who did 22,191 solo engagement­s, undertook 637 overseas visits, gave 5493 speeches and wrote 14 books.

I recall covering the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee in London and being bowled over by the immense support for the Duke, who missed the Palace concert (watched by 17 million people in the UK) due to a bladder infection.

“But ladies and gentlemen,” Prince Charles told the crowd, “if we shout loud enough, he might just hear us in hospital.”

The power of the crowd’s roar and chants of “Philip, Philip” down the Mall was overwhelmi­ng.

If only Harry was listening.

For unlike his grandfathe­r, he has mistaken self-serving for service. He has failed to realise that charity and duty outweigh commercial deals.

And he has underestim­ated that a universall­y beloved royal is, like Prince Philip, one who quietly supports the Queen and does not abandon their family.

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