However, let me end with two images that, at this point, are matters of speculation.
At the time of the death of Prince Philip Mountbatten-Windsor, I wrote a post — linked to a podcast — with this headline: “The long, complex and mysterious life (and faith) of Prince Philip of Greece.” It opened with a reference to some memorable scenes — from the second season of the Netflix series called “The Crown” — focusing on a meeting between the queen and the young Billy Graham. Here is what I wrote at that time:
In 1955, while the Rev. Billy Graham was in Scotland leading a crusade in Glasgow, the evangelist received a note from Buckingham Palace inviting him to preach on Easter morning in the private chapel at the Royal Lodge. It’s a poignant scene, especially when paired with another in which Graham visits the queen to discuss an important subject — the need to forgive others.
In the chapel, Graham discusses Christian faith in highly evangelical language, describing the need to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Queen Elizabeth listens attentively. Prince Philip is clearly bored, upset, disturbed, offended, embarrassed or all of the above.
Was Prince Philip struggling with guilt linked to his rumored infidelities? What is happening in his head and heart? …
For millions of people, “The Crown” offered the dominant image of Prince Philip — the tall, handsome consort of the queen best known for his faults and weaknesses. … But it was also obvious that something important happened during this royal couple’s 73 years of marriage. Somehow, they grew together, doing the best they could to handle the pressures of royal life and the searing spotlight on their four children and, eventually, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
It’s hard to imagine the long life of Queen Elizabeth without her marriage playing a central role. My question, for reporters: Does anyone know if — quite literally — her Christian faith saved this marriage? Did this help Prince Philip regain his own faith, which appears to have grown stronger in the second half of his life.
In “The Crown,” images and speculation were enough. That will not work, for journalists. But it is a subject worth investigating.
Finally, an Anglican priest who I have known for decades is searching to find out if the following anecdote — which is circulating once again, for obvious reasons — is real or fiction. Here is the reference:
ONE of the chaplains of her late Majesty, Queen Victoria, had been preaching on the Second Coming of the Lord, and afterward, in conversation with the preacher, the Queen exclaimed: ” Oh! how I wish that the Lord would come in my lifetime! “
” Why,” asked the chaplain, “does your Majesty feel this very earnest desire?”
The Queen replied with quivering lips, and her whole countenance lighted up by deep emotion:
” I should so love to lay my crown at His feet.”
In this case, I hope that authorities higher than Snopes.com will seek to fact-check these kinds of personal references.
FIRST IMAGE: The double rainbow over Buckingham Palace at the time of the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. From many options on social media.
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