Sunday, April 11, 2021


Bytes has, in the past, posted various items about Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, now passed away.

I am reposting those items below, in two parts. 

They are not necessarily complimentary but they do illustrate how much Philip was his own man who gave two fingers to societal expectations, pomp and ceremony. (For American readers, substitute middle finger for two fingers.)

Dave Brown's cartoon on Philip's retirement from public duties in 2017.

Before posting those items, here are some comments from a story in yesterday’s Daily Mail about an encounter between journalist Mike Colman and Prince Philip. You can read the full story at:

Back in 1992 Colman was one of the invited guests to a function with Her Maj and Prince Philip at Admiralty House in Sydney.

Guests were divided into two groups, one to meet with Her Maj and one to meet with her plus one. Colman was in the latter group. Whilst in the line of persons to meet with the Duke, someone ahead of him asked if he was enjoying his trip to Australia. 'How can I enjoy it?' he said. 'I don't see anything, I don't do anything. I just go from one official function to another. This isn't enjoyment, it's my job.'

Colman’s turn next, the following being from that article:

As a fan of the movie Roman Holiday in which newspaper reporter Gregory Peck takes princess Audrey Hepburn on an incognito tour of the Holy City, I couldn't help myself.

'I tell you what,' I said. 'I'll meet you here tomorrow. We'll put some old shorts and a big hat on you and I'll take you down to Bondi Beach for fish and chips and a beer. No-one will know it's you.'

Obviously he wasn't a big Gregory Peck fan.

'You must be joking,' he snapped.

Colman’s final comments:

It's only now, almost 30 years … I can't help feeling glad that I was in Sir's group rather than Her Majesty's.

He was right. There was nothing fun about what he was doing. A man of action, he had given up everything he had achieved and wanted to achieve, to support his wife and the monarchy.

And if that meant spending an afternoon with a bunch of colonial journalists asking inane questions, he would do it – but he drew the line at pretending he was enjoying it.

That is what I have taken away from that reception. An insight into a man who epitomised the word 'duty'.

From the vault: October 19, 2011 at:

With Her Maj and hubby visiting Oz, it is opportune to post a reminiscence by Gareth Evans, former Attorney General and Foreign Minister, of his meeting with Prince Philip. Gareth’s comments are quoted in Barry Cohen’s Whitlam to Winston:

Gareth Evans remembers well the moment he cast off any lingering doubts he had about the monarchy and became a confirmed republican. It was December 1985 and Her Majesty was at Yarralumla with her consort to sign into law the Australia Act, the legislation that allowed Australia to finally sever all those remaining linkages with the United Kingdom that we were constitutionally capable of severing, short of a referendum.

It was, he recalls, a great occasion.

The entire Ministry gathered in a semicircle as the Queen and Prince Philip came around, shook our hands one by one and engaged in a little conversation with each of us.

After I had a polite but brief exchange with Her Majesty, she settled into a rather more prolonged discussion with Senator Susan Ryan, standing beside me, leaving me face to face with Prince Philip with a conversation gap to fill. My gambit wasn’t, on reflection, the most adventurous or stylish but I still think it was serviceable enough for the occasion. My opening line – ‘This is really a marvellous occasion and it’s wonderful that you are here for it’ – did not evince any discernible reaction at all. So I plunged on with something like this: ‘I feel particularly pleased personally that this has come to fruition. When I was Attorney-General I spent a fair bit of time rushing backwards and forwards to Whitehall, the Parliament and in fact the Palace as well, putting all this together, and it’s great that we’ve now made it.’

Prince Philip paused, looked at me and uttered just two words in reply: ‘Big deal.’

From the vault: July 16, 2012 at:

From an article by former pollie Barry Cohen in The Australian newspaper:

Philip was no friend of the Left, British or Australian. He was reported as having described Gough Whitlam as “that socialist arsehole”. I rang seeking Gough’s view of the duke. After a prolonged pause came the breathy response, “He married well.”


Left: former NSW Premier Neville Wran
Centre: Al Grassby, Minister for Immigration in the Whitlam Government
Right: Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

From the same article:

One particularly memorable meeting occurred during Gough’s reign. A few of us were talking to Prince Philip when the ubiquitous and colourful Al Grassby joined us in a cacophony of colour that lifted bad taste to an art form.

Philip couldn’t help himself. He leaned forward and inquired sotto voce: “Any feelthy pictures?”

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