This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Prince Philip did the most extremely Prince Philip thing possible yesterday, ambling up to a group of women at the Chadwell Heath Asian Women's Network in East London and asking, "Who do you sponge off?" He then reportedly asked one professional fundraiser, "Do you have any friends left?" Last week he said "fucking" to a photographer. Basically, as a nation, we are trying to get as many fun Prince Philip headlines in before he dies.
The general vibe of all this has been: Prince Philip is a deranged old throwback, a dinosaur man, a relic. Prince Philip is everything that is wrong with the out-of-touch monarchy—hovering thousands of levels above the accepted dimensions of the class system, tottering around public libraries, and nodding, a man made of paper and air and unearned medals, a bloodless lizard propped up by his military cut suit. An old racist with his fingers in the Queen. A century-old figure of doom, doing his final caviar jello shots out of Elizabeth II's naval before his heart withers in his chest and he flutters to the floor like a big dead leaf.
But stop and consider this: Maybe Prince Philip is an absolute don, a legend, Prince PhiLAD. Prince Philip is the only person on Earth who gives less of a shit than Rihanna. Maybe Prince Philip stopped caring so hard he actually became cool. Maybe Prince Philip is the last great punk.
No, because, listen: I asked our tame office punk what being punk is, and he said, "Anti-authoritarian, anarchist, not fans of work, usually own a very high horse upon which they sit." That's Big Princey P. "Spoiled brats with pure choice in hair." He is describing Prince Philip. With John Lydon little more than a boggle-eyed butter shill, Prince Philip is now as punk as it gets. Put the man in a leather jacket and shave an inverted mohawk his hair, and nobody would blink. Get him to pierce himself with a safety pins while touring the West Midlands in a shitty van, and he'd be right at home. Think about it: Prince Philip has almost certainly said "fuck the Queen" to the actual Queen. Dude is a thousand, a million times more punk than you.
But more importantly, within Prince Philip lies the evolution of man, as he stands before us now, crushed from dust by the pressure of a gilded life into a diamond. The Cretaceous period of man, from 40 to 60 years old, sees them become more agitated, more grumpy, more realistically interested in being a part of a Neighborhood Watch, more likely to sign a petition about Top Gear. Between 60 and 80, the sap falls further: They become racist, offended by the concept of curry, their mouths unable to pronounce a baby name more complex than "Nigel." And then, during this period, your average man just straight up dies, and we never know what's next.
Prince Philip is what's next. He has lived so long—attended to by the finest doctors, fattened on the finest foods, injected with the freshest blood of the first born sacrificed under the whitest of moons—that his existence is essentially one of never-before-seen scientific interest. And in him lies the future. Bust through being an old grumpy man act and old grumpy racist era and now he's something else: meta-grumpy, meta-racist, a force unto himself, a powerful 94-year-old never before seen, an ancient galactic power squished down and made crystalline into one perfect could-not-give-less-of-a-toss unit. Prince Philip is planet and he is stars. He is the human embodiment of giving the finger to all of it, to the whole lot.
Listen, I'm all for bumrushing Buckingham Palace and pulling the monarchy out by their fat necks, kicking them all in the bollocks or tits, spitting in their faces, setting fire to the castles and the gold, and pulling statues down from their plinths. Make a Facebook event of that and invite me. Sundays are not good for me, but Saturdays are.
But listen, leave Prince Philip out of it. Spare him, for all of our sakes. Because Prince Philip is not just the Guinness World Record holder for "Man Who Most Looks Like, from Photos, Most Looks Like Smells Extremely of Piss." Prince Philip is a philosophy, a way of life. Do we not all aspire to be ancient and well fed and vital enough to ask a hard-working women's group whether they are on the benno? Do we not all wish to make it to 94 and say "fucking" with such disdain newspapers write about it? Do we not all, VICE readers, kind of want to have sex with a monarch? Prince Philip is all that and more. Long may he go to underfunded community centers and remind us of that.
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