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Royal retirement

May 4, 2017

I’m not sure how many people retire aged almost 96, but you have to hand it to Prince Philip that he’s going out in style.

How many World War II war heroes are still working? Yet he is a true war hero, saving many lives as a first lieutenant during the Allied invasion of Sicily.

And he has a colourful background. Born in Greece he considers himself Danish, from the House of Schleswig-Holstein.

In 1922, his family was forced to flee Greece – with the baby Philip in an orange crate.

His eccentric mother, Princess Alice, attended the wedding of Prince Philip and the Princess Elizabeth dressed as a nun.

Over the years, Philip has often been controversial, with often bizarre public comments. But he’s also been loyal and incredibly hard-working. I’ve covered several royal tours, and believe me, they are gruelling.

Philip has served Queen and country – and Canada well. He has visited this country numerous times. The last time I covered him was in 2013, when he presented new colours to the Royal Canadian Regiment. He appeared frail, yet despite that he made a flying, less-than-24-hour transatlantic trip because as colonel in chief, he felt it was his duty and obligation to present the new colours.

This fall, the Queen and Prince Philip will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. It’s been a long and winding road for the royal couple since they wed in November, 1947. No one can question their dedication, their love of country and Commonwealth – or their hard work.

And for those people who say it’s time to dump the monarchy, think again. The monarchy’s roots run deep. All you have to do is cover a Royal Tour to appreciate just how much they are appreciated in this country. The monarchy is a defining, unifying force for this country. It separates us from the U.S.

You may not like the person who wears the Crown. That’s not what the monarchy is all about. It’s about having a mature level of government that is above politics. Watch the faces of people the Queen talks to on the Royal Tours to appreciate how much that means. Critics of the monarchy quote polls showing 50% of Canadians would like to do away with our connection to the Crown. That’s a figure that comes at a time when there has been no education campaign. I believe most Canadians, upon serious consideration, would reject a mould us into a republican U.S. shape.

Talk to any Canadian who’s been given an award in the name of the Queen, and they will tell you how meaningful that award is. Talk to people like former Lt.-Gov. David Onley about what an honour it is to hand out those awards, and they will tell you how people had tears in their eyes to be recognized in such a fashion.

If this country elected a Donald Trump, wouldn’t you like to have Queen Elizabeth as senior, sober voice of second thought? Look back over any U.S. president in the last 60 years and name one you’d prefer as your head of state to Elizabeth.

No, hands off the monarchy. It has served us well. And before you replace it, tell us who – or what  – you will replace it with.

 

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