25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 2and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemishes, but holy and blameless.28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.2 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.31 “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” – Ephesians 5:25-31
British Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, passed away at Windsor Castle on Friday, April 9, 2021. He was 99 years old. Later in the day, Earl Simmons, aka DMX was also reported to have died. As tributes started to flow in on social media, flowed along with massive memory recall of pictures of the gentle giant that was behind a smiling, longest-serving monarch, that has become the symbol of the British monarchy and the Commonwealth. Where the Queen was, the Duke of Edinburgh was standing tall, smiling, and very much supportive of the world’s most powerful woman.
While many mourned the passing of the two vastly different icons from the two Atlantic shores, there are many others that have piled on a diversity of negatives, conspiracies, and some downright nasty and inappropriate irreverent commentaries. For the late Prince Philip one commentary said he was part of the oppressors of the African continent who treated Africans like animals and sacrificed them. No mention of the carnage of the slave trade was noted.
On top of being reminded that DMX died of “a possible drug overdose,” the public was informed that the rap icon has 15 children. Also on memory recall was a rant and litany of the popular icon’s spate with prison sentences.
History is full of heartwarming images of Prince Philip, the tall gentle, smiling giant, who literary stood behind Queen Elizabeth II, the iconic leader, every time she came out and photographed. I have three images that are etched in my mind, they bring joy and an endless smile to my countenance as I recall Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of the longest-serving monarch, father of four grown children, three of whom divorced with their first spouses. At the time of his death, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth had been married for 73 years.
My father was the High Commissioner in London when the Duke of Edinburgh traveled to Blantyre, Malawi when he represented Queen Elizabeth in handing over the reins of power to the new Prime Minister, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. This was on July 6, 1964. The pictures of the Duke chatting with Kamuzu in a pomp and circumstance ceremony, ushered into the annals of our joint history, the cordial future relations Malawi as a nation was to enjoy with the former colonial power.
Malawi later joined the Commonwealth where the Queen sits as the head of the 47-member organization. Prince Philip was always with the Queen at all Commonwealth events.
As Malawians, formerly known as Nyasalanders, settled down to nation-building, Malawi’s envoy, High Commissioner N.W. Mbekeani, along with his wife, Madame Lois Mbekeani were often invited to Buckingham Palace. One day at a banquet in the four years he served as Malawi’s representative, HC Mbekeani sat next to the Queen at the banquet in Windsor Castle. Sitting next to the monarch, High Commissioner and the Queen discussed matters of mutual interest and concern of the two countries. Prince Philip and Madame Mbekeani on the other hand talked about how the Duke loves to and shells the peas he and his wife eat at Buckingham Palace, and the mutual joys of raising children.
The thought of the Prince shelling peas has always baffled me. But it caused me to study him. I have always watched him, ever behind the Queen, ever tall, ever-smiling; all this during the turbulent decades when women around the world fought and championed breaking the glass ceiling, shouting for equal rights with men, gaining places at the work and conference tables. Queen Elizabeth has it all; and Prince Philip completed the picture, with a smile, for good measure.
I celebrate Prince Philip, the tall giant behind the super tall giant icon of not just one country, but multi-country leadership that Queen Elizabeth epitomizes.
In 1979, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Malawi. A lot of things took place that year, among them, I obtained a graduate honors degree in history. But the Queen’s and Duke’s visit to Malawi stand out always because of the beautiful red Rolls Royce ride that Kamuzu used for the Royal visitors. And yet, in my memory what outshines even the Rolls were the Kamenya Brothers of Dedza district that came to entertain the Royals. The Kamenya Brothers sang, and without batting an eye or missing a beat, adlibbed a faux pas in their celebration of the royal visitors:
Kwini Kwini wabwela ndi nkazi wake Kwini! (The Queen has come with his wife! The Queen!)
Lololololoooo! Atumiza uthenga O’baba Tembo kuti Kwini ndinkaziyo Kwini! (Oooooh! We have received a message from Honorable Tembo, that the Queen is the woman, the Queen!)
Lololololoooooo! Kwini Kwini wabwela ndimamunake Kwini! (Ooooh! The Queen has come with her husband! The Queen!)
(Compliments of Kamenya Brothers ala Dedza specials.)
These are heartwarming moments in my mind’s historic eye. The more one looks at pictures of Queen Elizabeth at public functions in her 70-year reign, one sees Prince Philip standing loyally behind her. I have often wondered: do they argue? Does the Queen have to succumb to her husband’s will or submit to him? These two people have led an exemplary union, modeling what every couple desires for their nuptials.
Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace announced that the funeral for Prince Philip will take place on Saturday, April 17, 2021; there will be a ceremonial procession inside the Windsor Castle grounds, where Prince Charles will be among the few members of the Royals. This will be televised on BBC, Sky, and ITN. It is expected to start at 2:45 GMT.
Rest in God’s eternal loving peace Prince Philip.