Generational change: Prince Philip carries out final official engagement

Generational change: Prince Philip carries out final official engagement, by the BBC.

The Duke of Edinburgh met Royal Marines in his final solo public engagement before he retires from royal duties.

The 96-year-old announced his retirement in May, after decades of supporting the Queen as well as attending events for his own charities and organisations.

Prince Philip has completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

Readers comment:

I think that when the queen dies the UK will have, collectively, a big jolt. It’ll be a very clear signpost pointing to the post WW2 era being well and truly over. …

I agree that the Queen’s death will almost certainly have great significance. I’m 65 and she’s been the monarch for all of my life.

I’m certain that the future of the monarchy is going to be a major topic, after she’s gone. A recent play was based on King Charles refusing to sign new security legislation put forward by a hard right PM. It was interesting, despite being over-dramatic, and there is little doubt that he is going to be far less popular. The Labour Party appear to be readying themselves to campaign for an elected president instead.

From what I can see the younger generations are ready for change.

In terms of the larger impact on, shall we say, the national psyche, then I’m totally uncertain about how it will play out. I believe that significant changes are in train already. I am not sure that the Queen and her symbolic link to “our finest hour” memories of the second world war mean that much to the under 50’s.

The recent election was a big jolt and, however it plays out, Brexit has effectively split the country. It is important to realise that people under 45 were not supportive of Brexit, although there were significant social class and regional variations. A similar issue affects the Tory party where its vote is seemingly even more dependent than the Brexit vote on the over 60’s. There is to my mind a massive generational divide in this country and I think it’s getting bigger.

My daughter aged 28 told me that of the thirty or so graduates she knows who went to London to work around the same time as her, only two voted Conservative. They are fed up with the impossible task of getting on the housing ladder and most of them are high earners for their age. Also, as most of them work in the City, they blame the Tories for Brexit which is hitting a number of them. My daughter’s job is likely to be relocated to Dublin or New York.

I’m not sure that there is any causal link, but the Queen’s departure may well coincide with the ending of the Conservative party. To date they have held together, just about, but the open splits in the cabinet and what appears to have been a poorly planned approach to the Brexit negotiations may yet lead to two parties rising from the ashes.

My only confident prediction is that the UK in ten years will be very different to today. An authoritarian government of some kind is far from impossible. …

The royal family have been a strong link to the traditions, morals and institutions of a more honourable, but bygone age. They seemed to anchor us to decency, for want of a better word. But the link grows ever more tenuous and, I agree, the death of the Queen will likely spell the beginning of the end of the royal family.

I do not believe that Charles will succeed; I am quite sure that he will be bypassed in favour of William. Charles becoming king would ensure the end of the royal family would come sooner rather than later. I think that this is realised by almost everyone – certainly Charles would have been advised as such. He could always use his age as an excuse to stand aside.

The younger generation are always more willing to change; they have less understanding of what it took to achieve what they are so blithly willing to abandon. Fortunately, that has usually been offset by the greater propensity of the older and wiser to actually vote.

You have alluded to the Conservatives splitting before and I think that you are correct. The same divergent vectors are on display in the Australian Liberals — those who want power and are prepared to pander to any constituency to achieve it, and those who are more principled. Thus it has always been, but the gap is becoming wider and thus the differences more pronounced and harder to ignore.

hat-tip Philip Barton and friends