Stooping Royally

A question was recently asked on Quora, the online discussion forum in which people pose questions for others to answer. One contributor from the Philippines asked:

Did anyone like Prince Philip?

The man was known for his brusque manner, his bad language and his verbal gaffs. Yet one reply stood out from the rest. It described the Brighton Bombing, in which the IRA tried to exterminate the entire British government in 1984. It's author described how government minister Norman Tebibit’s wife had fallen through four floors and had been trapped for several hours, then spending two years in hospital paralysed from the neck down with the exception of very limited movement in one hand. The correspondent, whose name I cannot locate, wrote:

A few years later, Mr & Mrs Tebbit would be invited to attend a state dinner at Buckingham Palace. Fearful of her disabilities, Margaret [Tebbit] was reluctant to go. Mr Tebbit called Buckingham Palace, explained the situation and was assured that everything would be done to make his wife's evening as easy and comfortable as possible.

The day came, and the Tebbits arrived at the palace. After all the meets and greets and the pomp and glory for which the United Kingdom is known the world over, everyone headed to the room where the banquet would be held.

To her absolute horror, Margaret Tebbit discovered that she had been seated right next to Prince Philip. When the first round of food had been placed on the table, Prince Philip, having been briefed on Mrs Tebbit's disabilities and limitations, picked up all of his cutlery, handed it to a footman, and proceeded to eat the entire meal — every mouthful of every course — with his fingers.

Everyone else present followed suit — including, of course, Margaret Tebbit.

He adds:

As we go through our lives, it's often the little things we do, the little gestures we make without posting and bragging about them on social media, that define us as the person and true character that we are.

The Prince known for his rudeness did the kindest thing he could that evening- he ate a formal dinner with his fingers. I do not know if this is quite enough to warrant Philip’s statue on Canterbury Cathedral, above, but it does suggest a grace of character not obvious to the cameras.

Two millennia ago, an even more august Royal than Philip Mountbatten condescended to join our ruined race and become one of us, that by His actions we might be redeemed forever. He asks not that we promote ourselves to His level, for that would be impossible. Rather, He asks us to comprehend His descending to ours, and believing thereon.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Image by Wolfgang Claussen from Pixabay