Sunday, 11 April 2021

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

 Fiona and I gave the hour from 8am to Radio Four. I had failed to gel with the Archbishop's Easter service a week ago in the same timeslot. It is my experience that the last year has been a groundhog day on steroids. Now, another week has passed, but it has seen something of a seismic shift: the Duke of Edinburgh has died. This time, for me anyway, The Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster Abbey had it just right. The absolute driver was service and Easter, whether that be the service of Christ, Him to us and us to Him or the same service informing the life of Prince Phillip. The Anglican Worship was beautiful. Some small niggle in myself was ruefully thinking that this was what made the British Empire so successful and even now makes many around the World appreciate being in our Commonwealth. On offer is a velvet gloved totalitarianism in which the concept of Service can be used to persuade people to do extra-ordinary things (remembering that we live on a piece of space rock I wonder how much that should surprise us).. It is a sort of golden deal for the powerful, one which enabled Indian Maharajas or Pacific Island leaders to see a very appealing progressive contexualisation. Where appropriate it got you a Rolls Royce. As many folk are explaining (Robert Wise), at a different plane, the life experience of the majority might diverge. As the service ended the BBC announced that in a change to the schedule Rebecca Stott would give A Point of View on Kenwood Mixers. This was inspired editing. It cut very close to my grain. She landed us in the mid 1970s and utter family chaos in which a strong woman did incredible things. MEN! Prince Phillip was let down by his father! Staggeringly so. My experience of an army officer, a parachutist was quite challenging. A person who could lead, who could see what he wanted doing but was not about always being polite nor see that there could be family divergences. Between 1974-1976 I was a teenager very keen not to be part of the British Public School system. It was a conflict finally only resolved by becoming a Christian and realising Love was the key to becoming part of a much larger context than the individual. It is clear to me Prince Phillip understood that expression of Love in bucketloads, the Queen likewise. And also millions of everyday folk. That is why Rebecca Stott's remembrances of a crowded fatherless house in Hove are so important. Despite the pain, joy was found. I am no left wing feminist who thinks men should be seen and not heard as payback for what went before. I do think that to resolve the age old tension men and women experience, their relationships should be as persons laid before Christ.

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