This past Thursday found me running an errand. As I waited for a light, an unbidden thought came into my mind: Prince Philip is not going to make it to the weekend.
I’d seen the pictures of him when he was on his way back to Windsor about three weeks ago after undergoing the heart procedure and treatment for the infection. The unbidden thought then: hospice.
Well, at 99 and getting discharged after a month in the hospital, no one can be expected to retain the glow of youth. But the bruising and drawn cheeks did not bode well.
Que sera sera. The light changed. I pressed on the gas and went home.
The next morning, Friday, I called Hubby. “Did you hear the news?” he asked.
“No…” I don’t turn on news until I’ve had a cup of tea and written my morning page.
“Prince Philip died.”
Despite my morning page lying there blankly, I turned on the TV. Not quite time for “Today.” This shooting; that vaccine story; yet another carjacking. Prince Philip finally appeared on the crawler. Died peacefully at Windsor at 99.
A small, thin chill ran through me.
I flipped back and forth between the three networks. Their morning shows lead with the story and the summaries of a long life. Not always the nicest person, a definite relic from a harder, more structured world invested in keeping it that way; yet his work for the World Wildlife Fund pointed to a progressive streak that I didn’t know about.
Friday and Saturday found me camped out on the BBC website. Details about the funeral were finally posted mid-afternoon yesterday: 17/4 at 3 pm BST (that’s April 17 at 10 AM eastern, 9 central). Very paired down due to COVID, but would be televised.
In between new postings on the BBC live blog, my thoughts went in two directions: 1. The Queen. She had just lost her husband of 70+ years. How will she cope with his absence? and 2. What is the future of the British Monarchy?
On the first count, I silently wished her and her children strength and comfort. If she’d been a neighbor I would have made a cake or some cookies and taken them over, but since I’m not, and don’t live anywhere near Windsor, and her pastry chef is likely better than me at cakes and whatnot anyway, that was out of the question. All I could do was spare some thoughts as I would for any other woman in her later years. And hope that when the funeral’s done and she can relax her upper lip a bit, go out into the woods near Balmoral with the Corgis, and wail like a banshee until the grief subsides.
My hope is that she’ll get the love and support she needs to carry on around the great gawping canyon of Philip’s absence and stick around a few more years. I’ve always seen them as the type of couple that literally would not be able to live without each other and the survivor would follow the first to slip this veil in a short amount of time. We’ll have to see.
The second one is a lot trickier. The Monarchy reaches back into the mists of time a thousand years ago. It’s been argued that it’s provided structure and continuity since then. There have been calls to abolish it, and after the current Queen passes into the next world, will Charles or William be able to keep it going?
I don’t know. Oh, it needs to be updated without a doubt. But to do away with it altogether…
Perish the thought. It wouldn’t be Great Britain without a monarch. Would it? I don’t know. I have several British friends in the world of social media who feel that it should have been done away with years ago due to costs, creating a more egalitarian society, and so on. However, the last time that happened, England endured years of civil war. I would hope that wouldn’t happen, but in these crazy times, who knows?
As this week plays out, there will be tea to steep and scone recipes to be researched for Saturday. Until then, there are visits to be made to the BBC to see if any new related stories have popped up while hoping for a few more years with Her Majesty before Charles takes charge.