After Prince Philip died on Friday night, it seems anyone and everyone who’s had some kind of interaction with him over the past 99 years has crawled out of woodwork to drop a hot take. Now it’s apparently Tony Abbott‘s turn, and yes, he used the opportunity to congratulate himself for giving the Duke of Edinburgh a knighthood.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, the former Prime Minister let us know that he has absolutely no regrets about reintroducing knighthoods back in 2014 (his successor/usurper Malcolm Turnbull thankfully scrapped the practice the following year).
“As PM, I had restored knights and dames to the Order of Australia because I always thought, if we were to have an honours system, a knighthood for truly exceptional service should be its apex,” he wrote.
“I was conscious that we had given our highest award to the son, Prince Charles back in 1981, but never to the father. And that Canada and New Zealand had given Prince Philip their highest awards.”
The medals cost the government $135,000 and did little else than make Abbott even more of a laughing stock than he already was.
Abbott went on to say that he decided to knight Prince Philip because he *checks notes* served in WWII, opened the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, created the Duke of Edinburgh program for high schoolers, and visited Australia a bunch of times.
Elsewhere in the article, Abbott glossed over Prince Philip’s notoriously racist track record in the public eye.
“At times, he suffered at the hands of the media, for supposed gaffes,” Abbott wrote.
Yep, asking an Aboriginal man if he throws spears at people, calling Asian people’s eyes “slitty” and comparing the President of Nigeria’s traditional clothes to pyjamas are all just “supposed gaffes”.
Then there’s this brain fart: “…those of us who scoffed at his humour or scorned the Crown he served have to face the awkward reality that he was almost certainly a better man than any of us.”
Speak for yourself. Literally.
Credit where credit’s due, though. There are in fact a couple of compelling (and nicely-written) lines in Abbott’s article about the “timeless and mystical” nature of the Crown helping satisfy some people’s “need for faith and ritual.”
It’s just awkward for all of us that this in no way justified reinstating knighthoods in Australia at a time when there were far more pressing issues do be dealt with.