The fictional prince

Fiction is quite marvellous, sometimes. It can help you see more clearly.

Like most other people I have watched all four seasons of The Crown. I understand that it is fiction. That does not mean that it can’t help in understanding what has taken place in real life, to real people.

It’s with that in mind that I think back on the life of the Duke of Edinburgh, who died today. I’d say that until a few years ago, I didn’t think of him in an especially favourable light. Pretty much like all the people today who have moaned about all the fuss, just because an elderly white man died.

Before the fiction that is The Crown, I’d have agreed. Now, though, I feel I can guess at what it was like for Prince Philip. And some of it probably wasn’t much fun, even if he was rich and entitled.

So I think what I am saying is that the scriptwriters might not have written his life accurately. Almost certainly not, actually. But they have planted a vision in my mind; I can see how things might have been. And it is that Prince I feel a small sense of loss for.

He’s been there all my life. In fact, he came to Stockholm when I was born. That has always been much appreciated by me, if only as family lore, about how my Aunt Motta’s navy blue dress coloured her underwear blue in the heavy rain, as she stood waiting to see her Prince Philip. I know the Queen was there, too, but it’s Prince Philip and the underwear we think of.

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