The world has recently heard of the passing of Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip. He was 99 years old and had been married to the queen for about 73 years. Though they were distantly related through Queen Victoria, the first time they officially met was when he was 18 and she was 13. And the rest is history. It is actual history, because she is the queen. I am hoping that it wasn’t love at first sight because that would be a little creepy, but we will assume that everything was on the up and up and totally according to halacha.
When little girls are told fairy tales about princes and kings — how they come and rescue us from wicked stepsisters or from living in a house with a dirt floor and communicating only with mice and birds — they really should be told the tale of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth, because they had the fairy tale marriage. The real fairy tale. Not the one where the beautiful young girl spends the rest of her life redecorating the palace and making sure the children don’t get into any trouble. Or the one where the young girl wakes from a kiss to find out that her prince actually has another family in a different kingdom.
Their fairy tale, Phil and Liz, was the ultimate. She was a future queen, the ruler of England (or whatever it is that she does), and he was a tall, handsome prince who never said a word. Ever. He didn’t cheat on her. He didn’t steal from her. He thought she was the greatest thing in the whole world and she got to do whatever she wanted. And as an actual queen, she probably could do a whole lot of really cool stuff! Not to mention the jewelry she got to inherit from all of the royals before her. He never had to buy her a thing! What husband wouldn’t enjoy that?
It actually says a lot about both of them that they managed to stay married for so long and never had a scandal about who was doing what to whom and when and where and for how long. There always seemed to be a mutual respect and a genuine friendship. Though, for all we know, they could have been living in separate castles for the last 50 years. But since all we have are optics, I have decided to go with my theory.
Sure, they have had their share of trouble with their kids. Can you imagine the conversation going on the night before Charles and Diana’s wedding? “Philip dear, what should we do about the Camilla situation?” “Whatever you want, dear.” “But Philip, do you think we should warn Diana?” “Whatever you want, dear.” “But Philip, have you spoken to Charles about it like I asked you to?” “Whatever you want, dear.” Hmm, seems their conversations are similar to ones that regular people have as well! Good to know.
According to People magazine (yes, I now get People, because it was only a dollar an issue, and as empty nesters, it helps make the long Friday nights go by faster. Though only after we have finished learning this week’s parsha and next week’s parsha and last week’s parsha — don’t tell my oreos) the Queen was looking forward to making her beloved a 100th birthday party in just a few weeks. He has been in and out of the hospital over the past few months, and also according to People, they had to follow covid protocol, so even he was alone (though his “alone” and some regular guy named Philip’s “alone” are probably two very different “alones”) and it still is sad.
It really is the end of an era. And speaking of ending of eras, this week my synagogue will be crowning its new prince. Since I have much to say, and not much more room to say it in, I will only say this. To whomever wins the election, I wish you much luck in your new role as the rabbi of our second home. May you keep everyone happy with your words, your opinions, and your deeds, and may your queen be happy with the kingdom that you have chosen.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is looking forward to further delving into the whole “voting for a new rabbi” process next week, even if the guy she wanted to win doesn’t.