If you would be given a chance to choose a royal of the year, who would it be?
I can almost hear screeching voices of royalists and observers shouting their choices: Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Crown Princess of Denmark, Mary, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. But my choice will always be the beloved Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
He has done so much for the monarchy and devoted all his life to his role as Queen's husband, yet at 94, Prince Philip has not retired, he is still actively gracing ceremonial and public events. As the longest-serving prince consort in British history, the Duke of Edinburgh is aware how it is to just be relegated to the best supporting role, it is almost a major blow to a man's ego. But he carried it on very well.
More than a spouse of the ruling sovereign, a consort is someone who tries to make the monarchy appear more dignified and a strong support to the significant-other who functioned as a unifying symbol to the country. But it is not as easy as it sounds, it has no power or authority. It is even more “undefined” if the consort is a male.
In European monarchy, there’s no clear distinction of the role of a Prince Consort in the constitution. When the sovereign is a male, his wife is always crowned with him and always given the title rank of a Queen. But not if the sovereign is a female. There’s no way in the constitution that the husband of a Queen is given the title of a King.
In England, the last King Consort was King Philip, the husband of Queen Mary I (Tudor), who, after his wife’s death, went on to become the King of Spain, Philip II (to whom the Philippines was named). After chaos in Philip’s role where he almost functioned as a King regnant, the role of the Queen’s husband was altered after the reign of Mary. Although the next Queen’s husband was William III, he co-ruled with his wife, Mary II (Stuart), thus, functioned a King regnant.
The first British Queen’s husband who became the Prince Consort was Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne (Stuart). Since then, well only two female sovereigns followed Anne, Victoria and Elizabeth II, the constitution prohibited the Queen’s husband from taking any official role other than a member of the Council of State during the absence of his wife. The next powerful person in the kingdom after the Queen is always the heir-apparent.
In the present-day Europe, only two monarchs are female, Elizabeth II of Britain and Margrethe II of Denmark. The most visible and popular however is Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He is my best pick for European Royal of the Year 2015.
However, Prince Henrik, the husband of Queen Margrethe II, is also a hardworking consort in his own way and so with the rest of European Queen Consorts: Mathilde of Belgium, Maxima of the Netherlands, Letezia of Spain, Sonja of Norway and Silvia of Sweden. But Prince Philip is different. He is the oldest and the long-serving consort in Europe and at 94, he is still actively doing his duties to the monarchy.
HRH PRINCE PHILIP, THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH
Trivia: Did you know that Prince Philip was not really awarded with the title, Prince Consort, when his wife ascended the throne in 1952? He was only honored by the Queen with the title, Prince of the United Kingdom in 1953. It was Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, who was officially named Prince Consort. However, since a husband of the Queen is always known as Prince Consort let’s call Prince Philip that way. J
His critics would claim the Duke of Edinburgh lacks refinement because he would express openly what’s on his mind even if it is already off-beat. His humor often rankled the liberals and the conservatives and misinterpreted his outspokenness as invasive bordering arrogance. For them, he is a bit of a character, but I like his openness and sense of humor, it makes him more totally connected with the modern world.
He never feared criticism and he stroke back like a thunderbolt when confronted. He has taken his role into the extreme beyond wave, smile and nod and has been protecting the reign of his wife from controversies and scandals.
His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh is not your ordinary man. He was born a royal prince, HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark and was sixth in line of succession to the Greek throne when he was forced to relinquish his royal title in 1947 to marry the then Princess Elizabeth.
A grandson of a King (George I of Greece), a great great grandson of a Queen (Victoria of England), a great great great grandson of an Emperor (Nicholas I of Russia), Philip is more royal than the Queen. He is also a decorated war veteran (a navy officer at the outbreak of World War II), a staunch defender of the firm (the royal family’s term for the British monarchy) and the long-serving British Prince consort in history.
He is the last true-blooded European prince to marry into the British royal family (coincidentally, the last true-blooded European princess to marry into the British royal family was his first cousin, Princess Marina, the wife of Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent). Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are third cousins through Queen Victoria and second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. They are blood related to most of the European royal families.
In 2015, he had taken more official engagement than Kate Middleton, endearing him more to the royalists. At 94, Prince Philip is still sprightly active, mentally and physically able, gracing public engagements, attending ceremonial functions and supporting the Queen. He had survived several health scares in the past years and showed no signs of slowing down. Long live Prince Philip!