Derek Taylor
Derek Taylor

A prayer for Prince Philip

The Duke of Edinburgh is driven away in a car after leaving the King Edward VII's Hospital, London, where he has been recovering after heart surgery. (PA Wire/PA Images /Stefan Rousseau via Jewish News)
The Duke of Edinburgh is driven away in a car after leaving the King Edward VII's Hospital, London, where he has been recovering after heart surgery. (PA Wire/PA Images /Stefan Rousseau via Jewish News)
In 1834 the Duchess of Cambridge was very ill in pregnancy in Hanover. Why on earth would that be of any interest to you? Give me five minutes and all will be revealed.
From 1715 to 1837 the King of England was also the King of Hanover. Substituting for William IV in 1834 was his brother, the Duke  of Cambridge. The Duchess’ doctors despaired for her life, but the Chief Rabbi, Nathan Marcus Adler, had prayers said in synagogue for her recovery. The Duchess did get well again and the Duke was grateful to the future British Chief Rabbi for the rest of his life.
Now today the Duke of Edinburgh is ill and he’s nearly 100 years old. So shouldn’t we be saying prayers for his full recovery? Isaiah told us to be a light unto the nations so we’d better do that.
In this country it’s the Board of Deputies who speak for us. They came together first in 1760 to congratulate George III on coming to the throne in good health. So there is more precedent.
The royal family could use a bit of support at the moment.  I did not watch that dreadful American slagging off the royal family. I did watch the splendid programme to mark Commonwealth Day. It was heartwarming to see the top spiritual leaders of every religion in the Commonwealth wishing the institution well. And to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge  encouraging in person many people doing noble work on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged in countries thousands of miles away. To recognise, not for the first time, that every kind of person can live out their lives in peace if the Commonwealth sticks together.
The present Duchess of Cambridge has shown that it is possible to dedicate ones life to public service, even if you start from little understanding of exactly what is  demanded. She will make a first class Queen when William eventually takes the crown and her popularity – about a fabulous 75% – is a justified reward. This ghastly American is getting a lot of publicity which she is alleged to have planned from the beginning. She is also getting a lot of support in America, whose anti-monarchist constitution can hardly reject their appalling fellow-citizen.
A lot of other countries are criticising us, but we can only regret that they can’t swap their dictators for our democracy.
Its a pity the appalling American never appears to have realised that if you have the privilege of being a royal, there is a very high price to pay, and that is continuous public service. Over many years, I have watched Princess Anne in the freezing cold at Murrayfield, sitting cheerfully through yet another Scottish international rugby defeat. Whether she likes rugby or not, she is always in attendance.
The Queen is a great deal more popular than her illustrious predecessor, Queen Victoria. I am always quietly relieved that, if it really came to the crunch, she could refuse to sign a bill and it wouldn’t become law. In such an utter emergency, let a political leader try to contradict her. It’s her parliament, her armed forces and her representing  our country.
How dare this miserable American pick up vast sums of money attacking an institution which stands us in such good stead. The Commonwealth countries all over the world benefit from membership and it is the royal family that holds the institution together.
With any luck the pair of them will stay in California. If they come back to this country I hope we will learn of their itinerary in advance, so that we can go and boo them.
About the Author
Derek is an author & former editor of the Jewish Year Book
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