Forget the considerable baggage for a moment and spare a thought for a 94-year old woman who has lost her husband of 73 years, because beyond the inevitable media frenzy surrounding the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, a family, and in particular a wife, is grieving.
The end was obviously near but one is never really prepared when it happens.
My parents were married for 61 years and when my father died suddenly in December 2017 I was never in any doubt that mum wouldn’t stick around for long. After a lifetime together, once that connection is broken it leaves a gaping wound that nothing can heal.
Within just over three months she was gone too.
The Queen has been a slave to duty since she was born and one only has to look at Queen Victoria and her own mother to see the resilience our royal women are equipped with.
But I’ve seen at close quarters what the death of a spouse can do to the partner that’s left. It’s like a countdown begins ticking down and at her advanced age, with the person who knew her better than anyone else gone, I fear a sense of duty may not be sufficient to stave off the very real physical toll such a level of grief can take.
Where would we be without a Google list of trending stories?
The Daily Mail managed to link Prince Philip’s death with Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview (even though he was in hospital at the time and was apparently shielded from the allegations made in it anyway).
Other national newspaper sites made do with seemingly regurgitating every word the late Duke had ever said in public, and a few gems from behind closed doors retold by “insiders”.
Meanwhile, the biggest royal death since the Queen Mum and Hello Magazine’s website can’t go a single day without “fans going crazy” about what Amanda Holden is wearing – even if it’s a pair of jeans. Her publicists are earning every penny she’s paying them.
Then we have the usual 55-year old Beatles stories being peddled as previously unknown information (Dear Jude, Daily Express? Really? And they say sub editors are a dying breed) and Millie Bobby Brown’s latest Tik Tok – oh how hilarious.
None of it is news. It’s clickbait, an SEO exercise posing as news in which we are spoon fed marketing material – the more vacuous the better – to distract the masses from how their lives are being subliminally mapped out for them.
This is what you should be wearing, this is what you should be eating, this is what you should be watching, this is the exercise regime you should follow. Don’t miss out or you will be an outcast amongst your piers. Somehow you will be a lesser person for not following the herd.
More people know about Brooklyn Becham’s fiancee’s beachwear than are aware of the daily death toll in Myanmar as the army use civilians for target practice, that the wilful destruction of the Brazilian rainforest is putting the planet at very real risk, that the UK sold arms to Saudi Arabis for them to use against Yemen or that sectarian violence is once again rearing its ugly head in Northern Ireland, including the lovely town of Carrickfergus where I have family.
But it’s OK because as long as we’re distracted by the shiny inane, ignorance is bliss and we won’t question anything in large enough numbers for it to make a difference.
Looks like for the foreseeable future holiday brochures for St Vincent are going to need to add “smells like farts” to the resort description.
Quote of the week has to be Lee and Jenny from Gogglebox.
Q: Is this The Invisible Man?
A: How do I know? I can’t see him.