His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Thus starts the Wikipedia section on the Full Style of one man who died this week (of the more than 1 million people worldwide): Philip Mountbatten, husband to Queen Elizabeth II. It goes on for quite a while in all its fullness and style:
- Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich
- Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
- Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
- Member of the Order of Merit
- Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
- Knight of the Order of Australia
- Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand
- Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order
- Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu
- Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada
- Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit
- Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council
- Privy Councillor of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada
- Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty
- Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom
He was 99 and had been married to Elizabeth for 73 years. A “good run,” as some put it.
My parents would have both turned 99 this year (my father died in 2010, aged 88; my mother in 2017, aged 95). When Dad knew that he was in the final stage of his life he said something like this to Mom:
We haven’t been shortchanged.
We’ve had a good run.
What? A good run? For heaven’s sake they lived through the Great Depression, WWII, the Korean War, the Cold War and Cuban missile crisis (when my mother stored water in jugs in the crawlspace of our split-level house in Calgary in case we had to shelter against a nuclear blast), and the War in Vietnam.
And yet during that time they also came to healthy adulthood, went to university, married and raised a family, worked, pursued their various interests, travelled, fought and made up, enjoyed their friends and grandchildren and even their children from time to time, laughed together, and loved. A good run indeed, even without the Full Style of HRH The Prince Philip.
And so this week I raise a glass to Sheldon and Marjorie and to their contemporary, Philip: not as an Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle but as a man who has been in my consciousness for more than 60 years.
Here’s to a good run.
And whether it be long or short, may it be a good run for all of us.