Ruth Dudley Edwards: When he's in good form, Philip really is Prince Charming
Like his ancestor Prince Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh has given up much for his wife, says Ruth Dudley Edwards
WITH Prince Philip in hospital, there were grim moments over Christmas for those involved in planning Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.
The Golden Jubilee was a success even though the Queen had lost her sister and her mother within the previous four months, but she had her husband for support. It would be cruel if the man who has sustained her throughout her reign dies before this huge celebration. As it was, fitted with a stent and looking rather gaunt, Philip was let out of hospital after four nights and headed straight to a shooting lunch. The newspapers will be kind to him for a while, and then it'll be back to normal with the tabloids and left-wing press depicting this hard-working, intelligent, gifted and humourous man as a grumpy, gaffe-prone, out-of-touch animal-slaughterer.
The truth is that Philip has made a remarkable success of a very difficult job. As the 20-year-old Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha discovered humiliatingly when he married his cousin Queen Victoria in 1840, in Britain a male consort has no rights, his status being dependent on the whim of politicians and on his popularity with a fickle public.