A prince of a man
His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died, after a long and fruitful life extraordinarily well lived. He was 99, two months from his 100th birthday. He leaves his queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, age 94, to soldier on alone.
The death of a prince, who truly was princely in character, leaves the world a little darker and a lot less noble. His life cheered and inspired with the character, as much as the titles, of nobility.
And what is the character of nobility? One definition is: selfless service. Another definition might be: service without ego—without seeking recognition or one’s due.
Prince Harry, when recently asked about the fictional television show “The Crown,” said he had no problem with fiction. His problem, he said, is fictionalized journalism.
Well, fiction can sometimes touch deeper truths, ones accurate accounts cannot touch.
Prince Philip is portrayed in that program as the substantial human being he was—a very strong and smart man who, out of devotion to his beloved and a desire to be of service in this world, gave up his own titles (prince of Greece and Denmark) and his own independence to play a wholly supportive role.
He was the man “macho” men want to be—a soldier (World War II and after); a sportsman; and unflappable, with an iron will and an iron backbone.
And he chose to stand behind and serve.
He will be remembered for his charitable work and this, humility that was actual, not posed.
Barack Obama said it best: Prince Philip “proved that true partnership has room for ambition and selflessness—all in service of something greater.”
This is the final word on nobility: setting aside self to serve something greater.
And, if to square a number, or a quality, is to multiply that quality by itself, the life of Prince Philip was nobility squared.