He may not have been the most popular royal in the last decade or so as royal popularity has been heavily based on fashion, thanks to Twitter. But The Duke of Edinburgh did not need a trending hashtag or a war of words amongst bloggers. Prince Philip was an original, an innovator, and truly the first modern royal.
Some of us were around to watch Charles and Diana’s wedding on television. In more recent times, people gathered around the television to watch William and Kate exchange vows in Westminster Abbey. Royal fans worldwide have one individual to thank for the chance to be part of history, and that is Prince Philip!
A few months before her coronation, The Queen entrusted Philip to be her Coronation Commission Chair. The Duke of Edinburgh came up with the idea that would rattle the establishment: televise the coronation!
The Queen Mother, a stickler for tradition, was against the idea. Back in the day, the coronation was for the upper classes, not for the world to see in black and white. Winston Churchill was utterly disgusted by the notion of cameras in Westminster Abbey.
Churchill went on to say: “It would be unfitting that the whole ceremony, not only in its secular but also in its religious and spiritual aspects, should be presented as if it were a theatrical performance,” he told the House of Commons.
Despite the backlash, The Queen sided with her husband. Not only did this show unity between husband and wife, but it let the establishment know she was not going to be told what to do; she would rule her way and carve her own path.
Television sales went through the roof before 2 June 1953, let’s face it, thanks to The Duke of Edinburgh. On that day, over 27 million people were estimated to have witnessed an event that they were never privy to. And it was all due to one of the first of many innovative ideas Prince Philip would come up with in close to 74 years of being Her Majesty’s “strength and stay.”