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Tony Abbott and the retirement of His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Knight of the Order of Australia

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Her Majesty The Queen taking a very close personal interest in her husband's regalia for the Order of Australia


Reader Mycroft sums up my thoughts on the announcement of the retirement of His Royal Highness Prince Philip.

Congratulations to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, devoted consort to our most gracious Queen, Elizabeth II, on a job well done, may you have a long and leisurely retirement. Well played sir.


Tony Abbott's character was exquisitely displayed after Prince Philip was made a Knight in the Order of Australia in 2014.

Her Majesty the Queen had "let it be known" that she wanted Prince Philip to receive the Order's highest honour.  But it was Tony Abbott who wore the fallout.

Tony has consistently taken personal responsibility for the decision to make the award without involving the Monarch in controversy.  A lesser man, like the one who succeeded him may have been tempted to deflect criticism by pointing out that he was merely implementing the wishes of our Head of State.

You can see Her Majesty's interest in the regalia in the close up above from a photo taken when High Commissioner Alexander Downer visited the palace to deliver the award's accoutrements.

Britain's The Independent explains.

Prince Philip 'was handed knighthood after Queen complained Charles had more honours'

PRINCE Philip was handed a knighthood by Australia after the Queen moaned he had been overlooked for honours in favour of their son Charles.

Prince Philip receives his knighthood from the Queen

Prince Philip was awarded a knighthood by Australia

An Australian journalist claimed former Prime Minister Tony Abbott only gave the Duke of Edinburgh the top honour following a personal intervention from the Queen. 

He said it was only awarded to him to settle a family rivalry between Philip and Charles, as the Duke had "not been so richly rewarded" by Australia as her son. 

Critics said the award of the honour was a "totally crazy" move by Mr Abbott, who personally sanctioned it at a time when Australian republicanism is simmering close to the surface. 

He even announced the knighthood on Australia Day, when the country celebrates its history as an independent nation. 

Mr Abbot was savagely criticised at the time with many questioning why he had made such a controversial move just days before a crunch regional election for his Liberal Party, which it subsequently lost. 

He told reporters: "I stand by the decision. I understand why some people don't like it. I respect their right to be critical and I take it on the chin." 

But it has now been claimed he was prompted to act following an intervention from the Queen. 

Columnist Greg Sheridan wrote in The Australian that awarding Prince Philip the knighthood was the "worst mistake" of Mr Abbott's tenure, but that he had done it out of loyalty to the monarchy. 

Prince Charles posing in military uniform for a portrait

The Queen was said to be unhappy that Charles had received more honours

Philip had not been so richly rewarded by Australia

Journalist Greg Sheridan

He said: "The inside story of the knighthood has not been revealed before and this information does not come from Abbott. But Abbott gave Philip a knighthood because he learned the Queen wanted her husband to have one.

"The Queen’s son, Prince Charles, had a number of Australian honours but Philip had not been so richly rewarded by Australia.

"The Queen is immensely well regarded in Australia, and rightly so. Prince Philip, like Prince Charles, is much less popular.

"For Queen to make a request of Abbott meant that all that was honourable and generous in Abbott — loyalty, chivalry, romance — was lined up against the pragmatic political judgment that should have guided him." 

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott was ousted as Australian prime minister this week

Mr Abbott was ousted as Australian prime minister earlier this week in favour of his more liberal rival Malcolm Turnbull.

Awarding the Duke of Edinburgh a knighthood was one of his more unpopular decision in office, and one that Mr Sheridan believes may have led to his downfall. 

He wrote: "Awarding Philip an Australian knighthood was the worst mistake of Abbott’s tenure in office.

"Although in a sense a matter of no real consequence in itself, it was devastating for Abbott personally and for the Liberal Party.

"It made Abbott look absurdly antique and out of touch, reinforcing every negative stereotype about him. 

"Not only did Abbott endure enormous personal damage because of his loyalty to the Queen, he never leaked the exculpatory explanation, which does not excuse his error in judgment but gives it context, humanises it and may have made it a less toxic political issue." 

The citation on Prince Philip's award recognised his long service to the British monarchy and the Commonwealth. 

It read: “He has served Australia with distinction and is patron of over 800 organisations."