Prince Philip: John Major pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh
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Former Prime Minister Sir John Major appeared on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show and spoke about his relationship with Prince Philip. He said the Duke of Edinburgh was the one person the Queen could “unburden” herself to with her “sea of problems” in a touching tribute to his legacy. Sir John added that being head of state was a “lonely” position and hoped the Queen was being given time and space to grieve – with viewers of the show praising the politician stating his speech was “moving” and “intelligent”.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Sir John was asked by host Marr what drove Prince Philip.
He replied: “Well, I think he was excited by things that worked and things that had an element of compassion underneath.
“I think that was the driving force for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, it really was a remarkable thing that he began.
“And, of course, it was aimed not exclusive, it was aimed at all young people but I think it was particularly aimed at young people who weren’t sure they could keep their potential.
“He wanted to show them that they could meet their potential and here were things that they could learn to do that perhaps they thought they couldn’t do.
“And if doing that it gave them confidence, helped them, and mark out what the future might be well so much the better.
“And it was amazingly successful and his compassion for that was absolutely genuine and of course it’s spread I think probably far further, far wider and for far longer than he possibly imagined.”
Andrew Marr then asked Sir John to what extent the Queen relied on the Duke of Edinburgh.
He replied: “Well, consider the position the queen is in, she is the head of state and that is a very lonely position.
“In many ways, there are a limited number of people to whom she can really open her heart.
“To whom she can really speak with total frankness, to whom she can say things that would be offended by other people and thought to be indelicate.
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“Of the handful of people to whom she can speak frankly her husband Prince Philip was obviously the first one.
“And I’m sure that happened, that is why I think the Queen said at a later stage that her great stay and support at times of difficulty.”
The Conservative politician then added: “He was the person who was there, he was the person who could unburden herself and when you’re facing the sea of problems, as she so often was and sometimes we got overwhelmed by what has to be done.
“Someone who understands that, someone who can take part of the burden, someone who can share the decision making, someone who can metaphorically or in the case of Prince Philip I think probably literally can put their arms around you and say, it’s not as bad as you think.
“I think when you talk of him being great support that was it.”
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Sir John then recalled how the pair would appear in public and said: “If you saw them at receptions together the Queen would lead, Prince Philip would be behind but it will be Prince Philip who would often bring people up to meet the Queen who was too nervous to meet her.
“So in every way, I think he was an astonishing support.”
Viewers watching the programme soon posted on Twitter their support for Sir John’s remarks.
One wrote: “John Major speaking movingly and with sense.”
A critic of the former Prime Minister wrote: “Never voted for John Major, still wouldn’t. But what I’d give these days for a Prime Minister who is so considered in his thoughts and responses.”
Another commented: “Wow, didn’t know an ex-politician could have so much depth and empathy, lovely words this morning.”
A viewer also said: “Aww John Major has just made me cry, never thought I’d say that!”
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