Anti-royalist campaigner says we should condemn 'inappropriate' Prince Philip

Jane Howdle
Prince Philip pictured arriving at a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in March (Rex)
Prince Philip pictured arriving at a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in March (Rex)

Following this morning’s announcement that the Duke of Edinburgh is to stand down from official royal duties, anti-royalists have called for the public to condemn the gaffe-prone prince.

Graham Smith, CEO of campaign group Republic – which is calling for the royal family to be abolished – says the response in some quarters to hail the prince as a national treasure is misguided.

He told Yahoo News: “I’m not sure what he’s retiring from. I don’t think we’ve heard much from him in the last few years which is why no one would have notice that he’d retired without the announcement.

“I think there’s a sense of ‘so what? Is that it?’ I don’t think people are particularly bothered. I’m sure they’ll be paying tributes to him and so on but I think it’ll pass over pretty quickly. I don’t suppose the general public care one way or the other.”

The Queen and Princ Philip at Leicester Cathedral last month (Rex)
The Queen and Princ Philip at Leicester Cathedral last month (Rex)

Regarding Prince Philip’s penchant for inappropriate remarks, which has earned him national treasure status in some quarters, Graham said: “If any MP said the things he said they would have been out of office a long time ago.

“There’s a danger of making light of some of the comments he’s made over the years, it helps to make them acceptable and I think that’s not really okay.”

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He added: “I actually got my Duke of Edinburgh Award a long time ago and he was there and couldn’t help making some rude comment about Australians. It’s just an instinctive thing he seems to do.

“It’s unprofessional and inappropriate and I think someone should have had a word with him a long time ago. But they are untouchable and no one feels able to tell them to behave.

“I think it’s because he’s a royal, people don’t want to pick a fight with them, particularly if they’re married to the Queen.”

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While rumours of his death turned out to be untrue today, Graham predicts a low-key response when Prince Philip’s time eventually comes.

He said: “I imagine with most people it will pass them by in the same way as any well-known public figure would – which won’t be the case with the Queen, I don’t suppose, but I think people have a fairly ambivalent attitude towards Philip.”