9 April 2021
By Tim Koch
Tim Koch recalls some of the rowing connections of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who has died aged 99, two month’s short of his 100th year.
Prince Philip was a colourful and occasionally controversial character who spent over 70 years as consort to the Queen, a role that he took on voluntarily and performed diligently but which, one suspects, would not have been his first employment choice. The impression was that he would have preferred to have spent his working life as a naval officer.
In 2014, I gained a tiny insight into the life of a senior Royal when the Duke attended that year’s Doggett’s Coat and Badge and I spent a few hours observing him at work. Since his marriage in 1952, this would have been his 22,000 and something solo engagement so, had he been absolutely fascinated or incredibly bored by the whole occasion, he was experienced enough not to show either emotion and maintained a constant polite interest.
There are worse jobs in the world than being a monarch’s consort, but the many privileges that go with regal status must sometimes have seemed scant compensation for some of the royal obligations that the Duke had to fulfil over the years. Occasionally, his irritation showed but ultimately, from Midshipman to Consort, Prince Philip always did his duty.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark), 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021.