We were all shocked and saddened by the announcement from Windsor Castle last Friday afternoon, informing us that His Royal Highness had passed away peacefully that morning. Whilst not entirely unexpected after his recent well-publicised long stay in hospital and heart surgery, it was still upsetting to hear that a man who has been at the forefront of our National consciousness for so many years had left us. Tomorrow marks the funeral for a great man who will be sorely missed by his family, our Nation and indeed by many across the Commonwealth and beyond.
There have been countless words written and tributes paid to Prince Philip, a man famous for his ready wit and often cheeky one-liners. However, this does not mean that we should not add our own words to this chorus.
The RNID has been at the forefront of tributes from the Deaf world, mourning the loss of a “committed patron” who had been involved with the charity since the 1950s. Prince Philip’s own mother, HRH Princess Alice of Battenberg, was profoundly deaf from birth; an expert lip-reader who was proficient in many languages, many people failed to guess her hearing difficulties.
In the late 1990s Prince Philip had a full hearing loss examination with the expressed intention of highlighting the benefits of this, and was spotted wearing hearing aids in public for the first time in early 2017.
These are all milestones that many of us find difficult to acknowledge as we grapple with age-related hearing loss and it is important when such public figures lead the way and offer positive role models for us all. An exemplar of duty and service, Prince Philip was a role model in the true sense of the word.
His Royal Highness will be missed by the whole Nation and, as one senior member of the Royal Family said on Sunday, Britain has lost “the grandfather of the nation”.
Our thoughts are with the Royal Family and Deaf Umbrella offers sincere condolences at this extremely sad time.