The Duke's Last Hurrah
By Sam Burnham
I have to admit that I am fascinated by the British Royl Family. I'm not a "Royal watcher" in the sense off-roading People Magazine to find out what style dress Pipa Middleton wore to the new prince'sbirthday party. I'm a fan because I'ma Conservative and a Traditionalist of sorts and Ienjoy the tradition, the ceremony, the history, and the symbolism that is involved in the institution.
Last night, when it was announced that the Queen's staff was called to an emergency meeting at 3 am local time, I was a bit alarmed. I had already had a rough night and was really hoping for some good news at that point. I sat up scrolling Twitter in search of an answer and to commiserate with fellow Conservatives. I realized that nothing was going to be announced before 8 am local time and decided to doze off with a disappointed resignation toward the rumors that the Duke had died. I awoke this morning to the news that the Duke was not dead, and was not even particularly sick. The meeting was to announce that The Duke was announcing that he was retiring from public life beginning this fall.
The Duke of Edinburgh was announcing his retirement at 3am after having officially opened the Warner Stand at Lord's Cricket Grounds? Over my lifetime I have come to know a lot about adventurous and mischievous men once they have reached a certain age. The Duke is well past that age and I'm telling you, there is more to the story. .
I've been married to a strong, capable, and intelligent woman for almost 20 years. The Duke has held that same distinction for about 50 years longer than me. It's not always an easy gig but it's not one you want to foul up if you can help it.. That being said, coming dragging in to Buckingham Palace at 2:30 after a long day of cricket and pub crawling will get you called into an unpleasant meeting with the boss lady. The meeting has to be a little more intense when the boss lady is the Queen of England, Wales, and Scotland, Head of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Head of the Church of England, and a veteran of World War II as a military vehicle mechanic Instead of just notifying all her friends to keep an eye out for you and make sure you aren't off carousing with Cricket players at all hours of the night, playing poker, drinking Scotch, and smoking cigars, this wife calls in half of the nobility and military of the British Empire and notifies them that you are grounded. "It's cricket and card games or me."
You can sing "I'm gonna miss her"all you want in the hypothetical. But when missing her means chilling with the rats in the basement of the Tower of London while living off your last few years eating moldy bread and drinking lukewarm water, you acquiesce and start plotting ways to sneak your cricket buddies in the back door after the boss lady hits the hay. Regardless, you don't stop partying at 96 years of age, you just have to be more creative about it and wiser to the game of not getting caught.
With that, I offer a toast to a hero, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, I raise a glass of Kentucky Bourbon high and wish you good health, long life, and many more years of fun and excitement. You married well, have loved long, made a couple billion people laugh a lot and I hope you can do so for a while to come. Cheers!
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Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire