A child aged 7 arrived in the UK and was given a home, despite having parents and a roof over his head, after travelling through the countries of Greece and France to get here.

His grandfather had been assassinated. His father fought on the wrong side of a civil war, from which he, as a baby, was smuggled out on a boat in an orange crate. His mother was mentally ill, but distant relatives in London and an ability to speak English gave him a reason to come.

The child also had family connections in Denmark, Russia, and Germany. He had other, perfectly safe places to go to. But we let him in, because what sort of monster would close the door on a child?

And the Parliament which sings the praises of Prince Philip today after a long life of devoted service to his adopted home will probably not remark upon the fact that, a century of wealth, democracy and development later, children in worse circumstances than he was are banned from our shores.

He doesn't put a black tie on when they die, does he

The boy who started life as Filippos Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg changed his name and became a British citizen in order to get a passport and marry his third cousin.

They had too many children, all dependent in some way upon the state. He has 22 direct descendants, and we have to pay for all of them in some way, whether it's houses, a role in the public sector, or the attentions of our security services.

And all of that is quoted, by many, as a reason not to let immigrants into the country. They're expensive, they're foreign, and they breed.

Did I mention that he had a beard, too? A gurt big one.

Bearded Philip Mountbatten pictured in 1945, aged 23 and in the Navy
A bearded Philip Mountbatten pictured in 1945, aged 23 and serving in the Royal Navy

It is of course fair to say that the little boy who pitched up on these shores aged 7 was attending a fee-paying school rather than applying for refugee status. He was rescued from Greece by a boat sent on the personal orders of King George V, his uncle was the Marquess of Milford Haven, and he was descended from several of the Royal houses of Europe, including our own.

He did have to live in multiple-occupancy housing, but neither a school dorm or Kensington Palace are quite as bad as a rotten, Covid and roach-infested Army barracks in Kent. And while his start in life was hard, he was never without a title, or a castle, or a meal.

But if Prince Philip's long and valuable life of public duty shows us anything, it is that being adopted brings benefits to the adopter, too. Countless studies have proved that migrant populations have a greater sense of duty, social responsibility, and gratitude. In general they want to repay the kindness, and take far less out of the system than those more confident in their birthright.

Philip benefits, too, from hindsight. We can see what he did with his life. In death, we choose to see it as positively as possible out of respect. Those children who wash up here hungry, wet, and cold, have their whole lives ahead of them, but we choose to see them negatively. We fear what they will do, rather than aspire to help them do well.

Royal connections aside, they have the same potential that Philip did. But in an act of persistent national self-harm, we treat them with disrespect, distrust, and disdain.

Philip might tell you he had some of that himself, too, at the start.

A family portrait taken in 1968
For a man who criticised over-population, he did his bit to encourage it

Philip changed things. He didn't just mechanise the Royal farms, or landscape Windsor Great Park. He forced a Victorian institution to modernise against its will. When Winston Churchill argued that televising the Coronation would destroy the magic of Royalty, Philip got the cameras in and beamed the holy anointing of a monarch around the world.

In altering the nature and accessibility of Royalty, he quietly changed our constitutional agreements. The media became more powerful, politicians more transient, and his family more important to our national conversation.

When what was once remote becomes less so, it is more relevant. And as with Royalty, so with refugees - someone in a boat or a tent on the news is easy to bitch about, but it becomes significantly harder to complain about a Somali Muslim living next door, advising us to tear down the 'peace walls' in Belfast because they keep the Christians segregated.

Efforts by recent governments to get re-elected mean that migrants have been demonised, criminalised, and rejected. A promise to resettle 20,000 escaping the Syrian civil war reached just 7,307 by 2017. A Lords amendment to allow child refugees to continue being reunited with parents already here was voted through in 2016, allowed just 480 kids in, and was cancelled.

We've even thrown our own children out, in a scandal that never got enough attention.

It has been reported that more than 20 families on the French coast would have a right to reunify with loves ones already here. They include mothers with children whose husbands travelled ahead to find a home, and youngsters separated from parents by war, trafficking, and the actions of other countries they have passed through.

But Home Secretary Priti Patel has suggested housing them thousands of miles away on a volcanic island; putting warships in the Channel; and rewriting the internationally-agreed norms that have guaranteed all our rights since the end of the Second World War.

Letting in those with 'talents' means blocking children and those who could benefit from a British education. Charging a whacking great fee means barring those who've fled their homes and are on their uppers. And sending them back to whatever country they've passed through which is not technically at war means they'll be sent back to danger, and being pressed into service in wars waged later.

Prince Philip, when he came here, had no talent. He had no belongings or personal wealth. In Greece he'd have been killed or imprisoned, and in France he'd have been forced to fight for the Nazis.

Because we were kind to him, he developed extraordinary talents, created jobs and helped others find their purpose, and fought bravely for his adopted nation against those who would have destroyed it.

The size of his achievements depended upon his wife, and his job - but even without them, he would have been of use. And if we can say that of a prince, then why should we not say it of someone who is more like you and me?

I wonder if he could have done any of it if he were a browner baby