By Michael Gyekye
On June 10, the late Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip would have turned one-hundred years old. On what would have been a monumental birthday, just two months on from his tragic passing, it is remarkable to reflect on the movement the Duke has left behind, spanning decades and generations.
Certainly, the late Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Philip deserves the torrents of eulogies for his inspirational ninety-nine years of life, devotion and duty to the Crown, Country, and the Commonwealth. From Kingston to Kigali and Manchester to Mumbai, his visits, environmental stewardship, and youth empowerment initiatives touched countless individuals and communities in profound ways and defined his enduring legacy.
A Strong Legacy
For young people across the Commonwealth and beyond, the famous Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, instituted by Prince Philip in 1956, will continue to guarantee an alleyway into the real world; promising them the same invaluable confidence-building, personal development and public service skills that have inspired its alumni of Olympic heroes, political leaders, and other trailblazers.
Today, environmental activists the world over can also acknowledge with gratitude the pioneering roles of HRH Prince Philip in mobilising global concern and support for conservation and sound ecological management. His tireless campaigns for those programmes laid crucial grounds for the modern environmental defenders who are helping to rescue our planet from climate change and decay.
Devotion to the Commonwealth
Over his long life, the Duke of Edinburgh visited scores of Commonwealth countries. On these tours, his interactions with foreign cultures and communities boosted intercultural expression and understanding. Notably, it was on a tour with then Princess Elizabeth in Kenya 69 years ago, when the momentous news of his wife’s elevation to the throne was received.
Since the start of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the Duke of Edinburgh has clearly demonstrated that male partners of powerful female leaders can serve without steering whilst supporting their other halves to succeed.
Selflessness, loyalty, cordiality, and compassion were the foremost traits of the Duke of Edinburgh. And during his time as the longest-serving consort, he consistently demonstrated these values to the admiration of both close acquaintances and distant observers.
Ninety-Nine Years of Service
In his life, the Prince has left us many lessons which are crucial to creating thriving societies and nations. His service in the Royal Navy and World War II imbues young people with patriotism and a sense of duty. As a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, his life enriched ours with the important lesson of commitment to spouse and family.
As a nature conservationist, he lit the flame of environmental consciousness in the minds of people worldwide and spurred responsible life changes to help protect and preserve our planet. From his faith in the potential and power of young people to make the world a better place, we learn from him that opportunities exist for our rounded development into responsible citizens, and we should confront the challenges of our generation with courage and competence.
Prince, Patriarch and Patriot, HRH Prince Philip was a gift to the world and his legacy will live on. Good Night, Good Knight!
*Michael Gyekye lives in Accra, Ghana. E-mail – [email protected]
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