Fair play to the pride of our nation Prince Philip, born in Corfu, Greece, with added Danish, German and Russian blood. As he approaches his 96th birthday, the old boy has decided to retire from being rushed from place to place to shake hands with people, cut ribbons and make dubious jokes. Have a happy retirement, Phil.

I have long given up the ghost on getting shot of the monarchy. I could never quite see the point of a royal family with zero power with one of them being our nominal head of state, but there are two reasons for leaving things as they are: the alternative, having a president (imagine having a barking mad president like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Theresa May), appeals even less, so I have taken the Dennis Skinner view of things. Most people like having a royal family and there are far more important things in our country to get stressed about.

I don’t actively dislike the royals but I don’t quite get the point. None of them have proper jobs, apart from carrying out royal national service when they are young (and well done for them for that, especially Prince Andrew who flew a helicopter for the RAF in 1982 and has been unemployed ever since, and Prince Harry who fought in Afghanistan). Prince William did some voluntary work with the air ambulance service and Harry is involved in a lot of good causes. I suppose they are doing good things in the absences of having proper jobs and we should, in some ways, be grateful for that.

The new generation of royals, especially William, Kate and Harry, are from exactly the same stock, but somehow embrace the modern age, without dumping the traditions and protocol of the past, the things that endeared the previous generations to them in the first place. No, the young ones can never really have the first clue what it’s like to not be extravagantly rich, but they can make the effort. And they do.

My theory is that many royals live well into old age because they don’t have the same stresses and strains as the rest of us. But by the same token, who would really want to be a royal, living an unreal, surreal life, under the spotlight of the world, not because of any particular talent, but because of who they are? Not me. Prince Philip may be 95 and fabulously rich beyond the dreams of most of us, but what a life it was. An empty, unfulfilled life, having personally achieved nothing beyond establishing the continuity of the monarchy.