Prince Philip has been recommended for a knighthood by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who announced the shock decision on Australia’s national day.
Australia day (January 26) is a significant date in the calendar for most people down under and marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships at Port Jackson. It used to be know as Invasion Day, and many feel that the date is intrinsically connected to Australia’s convict past, celebrating “Britain’s driving ashore of Australia’s first white citizens in chains”.
Nevertheless, Australia Day has become the country’s biggest annual civic event, and Mr Abbott, who reintroduced the honours system last year after it was discontinued in 1976, has chosen this day to announce a knighthood for Prince Philip for a “long life of service and dedication”.
BBC News reports that opposition politicians have described the decision as out-of-step with the times.The leader of the opposition Labor party, Bill Shorten, snarled it was “anachronistic” to give the top award to a British royal on Australia Day.
Speaking on Fairfax radio, Mr Shorten explained how he thought the news was a joke at first.
“Why would we give him our top Australian honour? He’s already got a lot of them.”
Republicans claim the honour system is an outdated remnant of colonialism, and as only Queen Elizabeth II can appoint Australian knights and dames on the recommendation of the prime minister, she’s hardly unlikely to not green light one for her own husband.
Australia is still a parliamentary democracy that retains Britain’s monarch as its head of state, but Mr Shorten believes now, more than ever, his fellow Australians should rally behind the idea of a republic.
“Let us have the courage to ask ourselves if we measure up to more than just a grab-bag of cliches. Let us declare that our head of state should be one of us.”
Other politicians have also slammed the Prime Minister’s decision to honour Prince Philip with a knighthood. The former premier of Western Australia called it “eccentric.”
“As we try to reflect upon our nation… one of Australia’s highest honours goes to someone who’s not part of our community really. It certainly doesn’t reflect the view of the Australian people through a meritocratic process.”
Greens leader Christine Milne was also outraged that Prince Philip was recognised with such an honour above other worthy Australian people.
“There are plenty of wonderful people right here who are worthy of recognition.But this is Tony Abbott – stuck on what Australia was and failing to notice all that we are, or have any vision or pathway towards all that we can be.”
Worthy or not, The Mirror decided to celebrate the Duke Of Edinburgh’s hour with a list of classic clangers from the mouth of Prince Philip. For your reading pleasure, here’s ten of the best.
After being told that Madonna was singing the Die Another Day theme in 2002, Prince Philip remarked “Are we going to need ear plugs?”
After accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991, Prince Philip felt it necessary to remind his hosts, “Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species.”
At a project to protect turtle doves in Anguilla in 1965, the Duke pondered, “Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird.”
When bumping into a tourist in Budapest in 1993, the Queen’s consort observed, “You can’t have been here long, you haven’t got a pot belly.”
On discussing the ‘genius’ of Tom Jones in 1969, a philosophical Prince Philip lamented, “It’s difficult to see how it’s possible to become immensely valuable by singing what are the most hideous songs.”
When visiting the Aircraft Research Association in 2002, the Duke made his feelings clear on air travel. “If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”
Upon meeting a Scottish driving instructor in 1995, the Duke of diplomacy asked, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”
When offered wine in Rome in 2000, Prince Philip snapped, “I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!”
Turning his thoughts to Russia in 1967, the famous royal said, “I’d like to go there very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.”
And in honour of Prince Philip being awarded an Australian Knighthood, let’s finish with this little example of one putting one’s rather large foot in their rather large mouth. When the Duke of Edinburgh met Aboriginal leader William Brin in Queensland in 2002, he asked, “Do you still throw spears at each other?”
[Image Via Metro.co.uk]