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(Opinion): I hang my head in shame -Helen Prest Ajayi

On hearing of Prince Phillip’s passing I immediately went to our family album and dug out the photograph of my Grandfather Chief Arthur Prest meeting the Queen and Prince Phillip on their maiden visit to Nigeria in 1958. Not that it has anything to do with his passing, but because that’s what people tend to do on social media. (I hang my head in shame 🙃).

Prince Philip’s passing is truly the end of an era for the Royal Family. Believe it or not he was considered the great moderniser, much in the mold of Princess Diana and Meghan Markle. It was he who, amongst other innovations insisted that Royal Weddings should be televised starting with his own to Elizabeth.

He was also regarded as an outsider, (Prince Phillip of Greece, not exactly Greek either, but that’s a long story), and held with suspicion. He too like Princess Diana and Meghan Markle was vilified when he joined the family, and was once described by a senior member of the ‘Firm’ as “that foundling” on account of the fact that his father was dead and his mother was in a sanatorium.

As we have seen over the years, Prince Phillip, like Harry was not fond of palace protocol, but I guess since he was the Queens husband, unlike Diana and Meghan not much could be done about it.

I must say I liked Phillip. His entrance into the Royal Family brought energy and modernity to what was already becoming a stultified institution. He had one of the most difficult and emasculating jobs in the world being consort to HRM Elizabeth II and he carried it off admirably for so many years.

I liked him because he was true to himself and his world view, no apologies. But I liked him even more when I discovered many years back that he had a number of Nigerian friends, my late Grandfather-in-law Chief SL Edu being one of them.

Prince Phillip Duke of Edingburgh Adieu may God grant you eternal rest

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