12 Junr 2011
It’s been a quiet weekend for me but a busy one for the Royal family It was the Queen’s’ official’ 85th birthday and the Duke of Edinburgh’. Prince Philip’s, 90th birthday. He is now the longest serving consort that the English royal family has ever had.
I have had the dubious pleasure of meeting Prince Philip on two occasions when I was CEO of a national housing association. I remember the last time extremely well. We were opening a project just behind Piccadilly Circus and for some reason, which I cannot recall, Prince Philip kindly agreed to open it. We had all the usual dignitaries present including I believe the Mayor of Westminster (if that is the borough that Piccadilly Circus is in!) The Duke and I were waiting in the wings to be introduced and I found myself alone with him for quite a long period of time. Prince Philip is well-known for his forthrightness and asked a lot of leading questions and from his demeanour he clearly does not suffer fools gladly. When it came to the official opening we took him around the project and, of course, had lined up one or two model tenants for him to visit and converse with. However, true to form, Prince Philip would dive off in the opposite direction to the one that we had planned and knock on the door of some unsuspecting tenant, who could well have been in her curlers, not expecting a royal visitor, plonk himself down in their armchair and start quizzing them. All very alarming both for the tenant and for me.
Nevertheless, we must all applaud the Dukes for his love and devotion to the Queen and his family and dedication to the nation in his gruelling round of official engagements. He frankly admitted that his memory was not as good as it was (whose is?) and that he intended to slow down and start enjoying himself. As he said he reckons to have done his bit!. Even at 90 he has an extremely busy list of official engagements. I believe they said on the television he had 20 such in the next 23 days. At 90 that is some slowing down!
I had planned to watch our man Murray in the tennis final at Queen’s Club but unfortunately it was rained off and will be played tomorrow.