By Vasiliki Theodosiou,
The death of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, was followed by a series of official announcements and images of his funeral going viral with some characterising the Queen’s loneliness as heart-breaking after the loss of her 99-year-old and for 76 years husband. With Britain’s 8-day mourning period coming to an end and discussions about succession and royal family stories taking over the media, little room was left for the consideration of some evident yet silently dismissed facts.
The death of the Duke of Edinburgh did not occur at what can be regarded as a “normal” time period, but rather a time period extremely weird and challenging for everyone. And the funeral and its viral pictures were to remind this to us once more. Take a closer look, what do you see? The person that has been appointed at the position of a Queen for more than 68 years sitting in the corner, wearing a mask, forced to comply to all the rules we have been asked to comply for more than a year now. The person that has been the longest-lived British monarch, being unable to plan her husband’s farewell with the rules that the royal protocol foresaw, as the latter could not have possibly foreseen a global pandemic and an unprecedented series of events. The person who has served the United Kingdom through historical milestones and who receives approximately 70.000 letters per year, being unable to mourn right next to her friends, family and loved ones.
But so has been the case with over 3 million people all over the world, and their funerals, and their friends, family and loved ones that have been unable to say goodbye they way they wished to. It is not like a big, massive ceremony is able to bring back the dead, however, its existence throughout the years has been for a reason, mainly related to a need for closure and having, in some cases, spiritual or religious connotations. No matter the reasons, COVID-19 has altered these terms and shown once more its impartial character. It hits everyone and everything regardless of background, religious affiliations, sexual orientation, or even culture. And that is why we are all equally obliged to respect it as well as the people surrounding us and comply to the restrictions regardless of our very own identity and background. But this seems to be exactly the same case with death.
Earlier this year, the famous upcoming American singer, Billie Eilish, was asking: ‘when we all fall asleep where do we go?’, and although the association might not seem appropriate for an article of a factual or historical nature, it would be interesting to slightly alter the question and wonder about the following: ‘when we all fall asleep, are we equal?’. Being in a big royal event or in a poor must-be-done manner, the ultimate result is the same. And although it may sound macabre or pessimistic or even inappropriate to state such a belief, death does ‘come equal to us all and makes us all equal when it comes’.
- The Queen alone: how Prince Philip’s death will change the monarchy, The Guardian, Available here.
- Big Moments From Prince Philip’s Funeral, The New York Times, Available here.
- Who will inherit the Duke of Edinburgh’s title following Prince Philip’s death?, The Telegraph, Available here.
- Royal family mix protocol with precautions for Prince Philip’s funeral, The Times, Available here.