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Our tribute to Duke of Edinburgh

young picture of Duke of Edinburgh
young picture of Duke of Edinburgh Image credit: bbc.co.uk

“How many people have you knocked over on that thing?”

The Duke of Edinburgh will always be remembered for his untimely comments, asking David Miller the number of people he had run into using his mobility scooter when the two met at the Valentine Mansion, Redbridge in 2012 is just one of those occasions.

But let us not forget, Prince Philip was almost 100 when he passed away earlier today, born in different generation those sort of un-political comments meant no malice, no offence, they intended to be harmless despite the way they came across.

At the tender age of 9 the Prince witnessed the harsh reality of what mental health can do to a family when his mother, Alice Battenberg was transferred to an institution with an illness then known as “neurotic-pre-psychotic libidinous condition” in 1931. She was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

It wasn’t until 1967 until Prince Philip was reunited with his mother shortly before she passed away in Buckingham Palace.

In the years which past after his mother’s death the Prince would make headlines for his ‘gaffs’, the media would jump at the chance to portray this aging man as a grumpy, thoughtless Royal who, through the pages of their publications, had a habit of going round upsetting others.

The mobility scooter incident was splashed all over the tabloids, but how about the support the Duke gave to local societies on his numerous royal visits.

On February 20, 2008, Prince Phillip met the members of Ab Phab youth club in Dagenham, an organisation for young people with disabilities.

Club co-ordinator Josy Hughes said at the time, "It was such an honour because although many organisations are given the award Prince Phillip only does two visits a year.”

Then there’s the countless charities the Duke supported, one of which is The Air League which provides flying and gliding opportunities for disabled veterans which Prince Philip was a patron for.

But the flying organisation is just one of many good causes which had his full support, in 1977 The Prince Philip Trust Fund was established to financially support people with disability as well as the elderly, families, children and young people.

His most notable contribution to helping others dates back to September 1, 1956, when The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award operated for the first time.

Since then thousands of young people lives have benefitted from the initiative, people like Georgia Hill.

In January 2020 the 21-year-old from Eastbourne who has spina bifida completed her DofE Award.

Sharing her achievement with Eastbourne Herald she said: “When I first started hearing about DofE, it was mainly because my friends were doing it.

“I’d hear about their plans to do different expeditions and I thought ‘that’s just something I wouldn’t be able to do at all’.”

During his lifetime the Duke of Edinburgh changed the lives of thousands of people with disabilities from shaking hands on a royal visit, giving his name to an organisation to launching his own award scheme, yes he may had said the wrong thing now and again, but the good causes he supported far outweigh those which sadly he may be remembered for.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021.