So it is an irony befitting Shakespeare that the funeral of the Greek-born prince, who became the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen’s strength and stay, should decide the fate of his grandson; the young man who so publicly abjured the country beloved to his heart, along with its mores and its heritage.
For it will be beside the coffin of Prince Philip that the Duke of Sussex, who returns to these islands as a foreigner, will take or reject the hand of reconciliation.
Of all those in Harry’s family, it was Philip perhaps who found his departure from The Firm and the nation the most baffling and incomprehensible.
During the last year of the Duke’s life, he would refer to the Sussexes’ departure with bewilderment. Indeed, according to those who knew him, the high-profile circus act of Megxit hurt him like the bite of a tiger.
These days, the word “honour” does not mean much. When one hears of the alleged honour of politicians or do-gooding celebrities, one naturally guffaws. But Prince Philip was a man of honour to his core.
We all know the Duke liked to swear a good deal, was sometimes rude and insensitive and had a keen eye for a pretty ankle.
No amount of varnishing could make him fit for adulation in the halls of political correctness, a position that Philip, thank God, would abhor with liberal use of the F-word.
But honour is a different kettle of royal fish, and his philosophy of life was to make the best of what had been dealt him.
It was notable that Philip, whose youth had been very difficult indeed, never felt sorry for himself.
Even so, his self-control was sorely tested by his grandson.