Prince Philip broke royal protocol with an unprecedented political stance “Never there!” | royal | News
Prince Philip was known to follow the long-standing royal rule of avoiding involvement in political affairs to support the queen’s neutral stance. But his Labor counterpart, Lord Boateng, has revealed the late Duke of Edinburgh broke with tradition in an unprecedented move seen as a sign of his protest against apartheid in South Africa. Lord Boateng noted that Prince Philip had banned the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards from being held in the Commonwealth country due to the discriminatory law.
Speaking to BBC One, the Labor peer said: “He put duty and the Queen first, but he was worried.
“He cared about an entire humanity and cared about a common planet. And you saw that in every aspect of his own life and work.
“And in South Africa, long before it was fashionable, he took a stand against racism and apartheid.
“He said the award should never be given in South Africa as long as apartheid existed.”
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He continued: “And afterwards he visited Pollsmoor Prison, because the price is high in Commonwealth prisons, not just in elite schools, as they say, but also in hardship places.
“He visited Pollsmoor Prison with Nelson Mandela and I think that says a lot about the man. He transcended all issues of race and class, he was interested in the development of young people and humanity.
“And that link between action and thoughtful thought. He was a very, very special person.”
Lord Boateng previously mentioned the Duke’s visit to Pollsmoor Prison as he paid his respects to Prince Philip following his death in 2021.
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He said: “He said no to racism because his award was incompatible with racism.
“It was His Royal Highness for you: he wouldn’t allow it in a racist South Africa, but he supported and encouraged it in the new South Africa. The prize was for everyone.”
South Africa withdrew its Commonwealth membership in 1961 and was not re-admitted until promising talks on constitutional reforms in 1993.
Other members of the Commonwealth had for years criticized policies of segregation known as apartheid.
Baroness Patricia Scotland also highlighted the Duke of Edinburgh’s commitment to racism noting his influence on the Commonwealth.
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Baroness Scotland said: “It has always been ahead of its time and the Commonwealth is also ahead of its time.
“If you think of issues in terms of racism, 1953 he was talking about racism.
“The Commonwealth was at the center of the fight against racism.
“Climate Change, 1989. It was the Commonwealth of Langkawi, Malaysia that declared it an existential threat to the world.”
The Baroness continued: “I think he was one of the main architects who really understood that you were moving away from the dominion and towards the association of equal states, 54 now, 8 when they started.
“I think he’s so handcrafted what made independence possible in terms of institutionalizing the secretariat that was established in 1965, but people are wondering where the secretariat will be?”
She added: “His love for the Commonwealth, his commitment to the Commonwealth and his commitment to the minority and diversity within it was absolutely unyielding.”