A Helpful Timeline of Prince Philip Not Dying
In response to the news that he flipped a Land Rover and, miraculously, walked away virtually unscathed.
Prince Philip is unkillable. That is the only possible explanation for the news that on Thursday, the 97-year-old flipped and totaled his Land Rover in a collision, but was pulled out basically unscathed—though The Sun did helpfully report that he was screaming “My legs! My legs!” while being helped from the vehicle, a quote that it liked so much, the paper used it as Friday's front page headline, because Britain is a normal country.
There is simply no other answer: He is “Tubthumping” incarnate. He gets knocked down, he gets back up again, and he’s ready to get back to the day job, which I think (?) is to insult literally every possible minority demographic, and also to just sort of stand there while the Queen shakes everyone’s hand, both of which he excels at.
I’ve come to this conclusion because in recent years Prince Philip has been beleaguered by pretty much constant rumors of his death, and every time they are wrong. A death rumor is, obviously, par for the course when you are very old and very famous, but old Phil seems to be the subject of a new one every few months. Yet every time he comes back like the Emma Roberts “Surprise bitch” GIF, which I suppose teaches us that to survive when you are really old, all that matters is that you are also really rich.
Anyway, there have been loads of times when Philip has cheated death (either death thrust upon him by speculation, or, like, actually, like this time), so for posterity I have mapped his apparent proximity to death out on this helpful graph and accompanying written timeline:
Back in 2011, when Phil was a wee spring chicken of only 90, his Wikipedia entry was changed to say that he had died. He was, it was later confirmed, not dead.
Whispers of a meeting at Buckingham Palace encouraged speculation that Philip had slid off up to the big lizard sanctuary in the sky, but royal spokespeople later announced that Philip would be retiring officially from public life (rather than, like, all life). On this occasion, Philip was also not dead.
The rumor mill heated up again a couple of months later, when Phil was taken to the hospital with an infection resulting from a pre-existing condition as a “precautionary measure.” This did mean that he missed Royal Ascot, but again: He was not dead.
Things went quiet again for the better part of a year, until Philip was hospitalized to undergo “hip surgery." In the same way that people thought the Queen’s “heavy cold” over Christmas 2016 might have been a euphemism for “she is fucking dying lads,” it was assumed that his illness was a bit more serious than the Palace was letting on. Philip, however, was not dead.
Despite having retired from his public engagements, Phil did show up to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It’s considered rude to steal the bride’s limelight on her special day, but during the TV broadcast all eyes were on Philip, because he looked—well, he looked like he’d been dug up. Not dead, though!
Another rumor that Phil had died went viral back in July of last year, with some people claiming that the BBC was going to imminently announce his death. A source told the Sun that the Queen was “absolutely fuming” and even had to ring him up to check that he was, you know, alive, in an exchange that presumably went something like this:
“Philip, one has heard that you’ve died. Can you confirm?”
“Negative. Not dead.”
Which brings us to now. Thursday was Phil’s most dramatic brush with the reaper, yet when—presumably because he is 97 and still driving a fucking Land Rover—he crashed his big massive car into a woman driving a Kia with a baby in it. (The folks at the Daily Mail have provided this very useful infographic, if you are struggling to imagine exactly how crumpled his face might have looked, because as we know, the British papers’ heads fall off as soon as there is any news concerning the royals). The driver of the car sustained some cuts, and one passenger has an arm injury.
But Philip? Not dead, fuckers. Not dead.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Lauren O'Neill on Twitter.