If I had written this yesterday, as intended, my over-riding perspective would have been very different. More positive? No, impossible given the act of decadence dominating the news. However, today, I was reminded of just how far we have fallen, brazenly! For today marked the celebration of the life of one of the greats; one of a generation, sadly, almost lost to us now; a man whose like we shall never see again. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was, undoubtedly, blessed with film star good looks but character and courage were that which enabled him to navigate an extremely difficult and lonely childhood, only to become a decorated naval hero in WWII. Selflessly, however, he sacrificed his burgeoning career, dedicating his life, instead, to his role as the Queen’s consort; her ‘strength and stay’. Highly intelligent, he had a vital thirst for knowledge together with a work ethic second to none. Destined to make a difference, he did everything to the best of his ability and touched the lives of all who met him. For my part, he had me at ‘Hello’ – literally – but, then, I was always going to be a fan. Humour defined him. He had that twinkle; eyes which danced, positively sparkling with fun to the end. His very own windows to the soul … Renowned for his gaffes, he could be blunt and extremely sarcastic but that was part of his charm, a compilation of the aforementioned being a favourite of mine affording so many gems. Never boring. That, he could never be. How privileged were we to see his like and how sad it is to accept that men of that ilk are all but consigned to the past.
The old saying purports that the apple does not fall far from the tree. The appearance of Prince Andrew – front and centre – at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Memorial Service, however, is a timely reminder that there are exceptions! He, who once basked in glory as a Falklands War hero, is now little more than a stain on the monarchy, stripped of all titles and, seemingly, condemned to living the rest of his days in obscurity. Accused of rape and sexual assault, he was, only recently, forced to hand over an estimated £12Million to a woman he claims never to have met in a bid to escape the prospect of interrogation in court and stem further damage to the Royal Family. As black sheep go, this is the job of a Perma-marker, surely, and, yet, here he was … the chosen one! It just doesn’t make sense. Or, maybe it does. Throughout her seventy-year reign, when push comes to shove, the Queen has always put duty before family; and, admittedly, Andrew has been stripped of all military titles and can no longer use the title HRH but, at the end of the day, he is her son and, reportedly, her favourite. The Queen has struggled since the loss of her beloved husband and has, visibly, lost her ‘strength and stay’. A mere shadow of her former self, she is frail and understandably weary following the trauma of a year she has had to face alone but this was an event she was determined to attend; a family, albeit in public, paying tribute to an incredible man who was the centre of their world. In choosing her disgraced second son as her support, was this a public statement or just a mother in need? I suspect the latter and, quite rightly, that is her prerogative.
The Hero and The Pitiful. As established, heroes are rare but at the opposite end of the scale – the pitiful – there are plenty. Prince Andrew lacks both intelligence and humility. A product of his upbringing? To a great extent, of course. Could the same be said of Will Smith? I have no doubt. However, the actor is also very much a product of today. He can – or could – do no wrong with everything he touched turning to gold. Achieving great success and wealth in a career launched by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, his edit was that of Hollywood’s Mr Nice Guy; always friendly, always smiling, always fun. That is until Sunday night and the 94th Academy Awards. Oh, boy! Is that still ‘allowed’ or should it be ‘Oh, it!’? Seriously, though, the pathetic – but extremely destructive – ‘woke’ culture has so much to answer for. Will Smith’s behaviour on Sunday night, for one.
Sock it to ’em, Will! Or, more literally, to Chris Rock! Aggressive, violent, unacceptable, all of the aforementioned, Will. No more Mr Nice Guy, you let your guard down; you let the mask slip. You should have been escorted from the building and stripped of the Oscar you were about to receive but this is 2022 and you are black … and you know that. Not Sidney Poitier black with the class and elegance of another era but Will Smith black, of today, with the inner angst and aggression now permitted – nay, encouraged – by a four-letter word, ‘woke’. For, admit it, had Will Smith been white, he would have been escorted from the building; he would have been stripped of his Oscar and, moreover, he would have been charged with assault. It’s all about MeToo and equality, though – until it’s not!
What has happened to this world? Is this what we have become? Prince Philip. Will Smith. A chasm so great and so symbolic for, in the urgency to strive for the ‘woke’ version of equality, it seems the lowest common denominator is the celebrated benchmark – in everything! What hope? No standards, no manners, no values, no etiquette, no elegance, no chivalry, no gentlemen, no ladies … no Cary Grant, no Grace Kelly, no Gregory Peck, no Audrey Hepburn, no Sidney Poitier, no Katharine Hepburn. No concept of ‘Black Tie’! Dinner suit, white dress shirt and a bow tie devoid of elastic. Since when did that become too much to ask?
‘I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly.’
Prince Philip, when asked what he felt about his life in 1992.
Thank God, he didn’t! Sadly, missed but ne’er forgotten …
This is Trish, signing off.