A Good Run

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.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in open touring car, Edmonton AB, 1959

Royal visit to Edmonton, 1959; photo by Sheldon Gibson

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.


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6 Responses to A Good Run

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    On Joan’s last day, when she was unconscious most of the time but occasionally still responding to words and voices, I tried to think of something to say to her that I hadn’t already said, hundreds of time. I held her hand, and said, “We’ve had a grand adventure together.”
    I wonder if Lillibet said anything like that to Philip.

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – That’s lovely. I think we’re wise to assume that the dying can hear us, and feel our touch. It’s a gift to have the opportunity to say intentional final words.

  2. barbara carlson says:

    I well remember meeting your father and mother in the studio here. A gracious, kind, wonderful couple — who raised good kids! You and your sibs. They had a “good run” there, too.

  3. Barry Jewell says:

    Dad’s “good run” comment in 1990 was that he had seen aviation from biplanes to the moon and the rise & fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a good run of history.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barry – 🙂 I remember Gram saying that she had gone from horse & buggy to men landing on the moon. It’s a good thing to have some appreciation of what we’ve been lucky enough to see.

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