Not speaking ill of the dead is a rigid convention after somebody dies. And true to this form, even anti-monarchy campaigners have been polite about the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Marchamont is no stranger to switching sides on the royal question, but there is something rum about being nice just because someone has become an ex-parrot. Neither the deceased nor the critic should get off so easily, so here’s what the newly-respectful have previously said.
Emma Dent Coad, former Labour MP
Former Labour MP for upmarket Kensington Emma Dent Coad drew headlines when she accused Philip of being “unfaithful” to the Queen during a fringe party event in 2017.
When challenged on her comments by the Evening Standard, she added, “Oh no, shock horror. I’m not going to respond to that, everyone knows what’s going on… I don’t want to get into the detail of it because it’s got out of hand.”
Dent Coad later also suggested that the Queen and Philip should move out of Buckingham Palace if the taxpayer was paying for a refurbishment. At the time of writing, the former MP appears not to have made a statement on Philip’s death.
Chi Onwurah, Labour MP
When Philip stepped down from official royal duties in 2017, not everybody was eager to congratulate him his lengthy public service. Newcastle’s Labour MP Chi Onwurah tweeted, “Congratulations to Prince Philip on retiring in financial security at time of his choosing from a job he enjoys #forthemanynotthefew #waspi.”
The waspi hashtag referred to a campaign against the process for state pensions being equalised between men and women, with the other hashtag referring to famous republican Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign slogan. On being criticised for her tweet, Onwurah claimed she had “huge respect” for the royals.
Now shadow science minister, Onwurah has shared a more royalist message today from Labour leader Keir Starmer, and highlighted the “the many, many people around the world who respected and benefited from his public service”.
Graham Smith, Republic CEO
The Republic group for abolish the monarchy has been notably restrained in its comments today. “Our condolences to the Queen and her family,” the group tweeted. “This is a personal and private moment for the family, so we won’t have anything further to say today.”
This is in contrast to previous comments about Philip. Graham Smith, the chief executive of Republic, once wrote that the prince “doesn’t do much though does he? The hard work royal is a myth.”
Amid the royals’ public spat with Meghan Markle last month, Smith also wrote, “Years of the media brushing off Prince Philip’s offensive and sometimes racist comments as ‘gaffes’ might be why people have forgotten racism in the royal family isn’t new. Or surprising.”