a really trustworthy husband and consort

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"He was quite simply my strength and stayed with me all these years," said Elizabeth in a speech on the couple's 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.Reuters

I grew up listening to stories about 1st Lieutenant Philip from my father who was 2nd Lieutenant on the bridge of the Flower Class Corvette where they served together.

In those days, & # 39; Philip & # 39; a penniless emigrant who fought against the Nazis on the high seas. When he married Princess Elizabeth, he had to go through the most profound transition from role and character.

Naturally exuberant, independent, competent, headstrong and dynamic, he had to find the strength of character to take on the role of the Queen's consort without destroying the delicate protocols that dominated the role or slacking off under the weight of institutional gravity that did it all sat together.

While we argued over the different priorities of public service over self-service, Prince Philip managed to be supportive without succumbing to anonymity and maintain the integrity of his character without selfishly imposing it.

His independence of mind and harsh integrity illuminated the boring routine of the monarchy with biting wit and a delight in the paradox and the absurd.

As he abandoned a career in the navy that he loved, where he excelled, he exemplified the kind of humility and self-giving that Christianity has in his heart.

Baptized as Greek Orthodox, he accepted the quirks of Anglicanism for the woman he loved and with whom he walked for eight decades.

He showed patience, forbearance, humility, and kindness when the cost of all these virtues was exacting.

His manhood was generous, tough, reliable, protective, and resourceful, complementing his wife's role and character both privately and publicly.

We should never take such a virtue for granted, but rather be deeply grateful for it and recognize it for containing the depths of human integrity that have given such stability to both family and society.

Dr. Gavin Ashenden is a former chaplain to the Queen. He blogs on Ashenden.org.

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