How to spend a whole life playing second knives? To remain in the shadows, a few steps back, influential but almost silent, both actor and spectator of his own life? Take a banal anecdote, a ceremony of no great interest among the thousands who punctuated the almost century-old life of Prince Philip.
It is July 2007. The Queen is organizing one of the formal garden parties for the summer. Eight thousand notables crowd in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, in a very framed meeting between Elisabeth II and her people. At 4 p.m. precisely, His Majesty appears on the top of the steps, stops while the orchestra plays God Save the Queen and comes down to talk to some of his subjects, carefully sorted in advance by the butlers. The crowd splits into two rows to let her pass. We elbows and rise on tiptoe to see her.