Tony Abbott awarded a knighthood to Prince Philip allegedly because the Queen asked him to.
Greg Sheridan, a close friend of Abbott, made the claim in The Australian on Wednesday, describing it as the ousted leader’s “worst mistake” in office.
Despite the fact it might have improved his political prospects, Mr Abbott refused to ever reveal that the idea was not his own, The Australian reported.
“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,” Mr Sheridan wrote.
Queen Elizabeth II allegedly requested the honour because her son, Prince Charles, had already received a knighthood from Australia, but her husband Prince Philip had not.
The Queen agreed to Mr Abbott’s recommendation to knight the Prince in early January, 2015. Senior government ministers only found out about the decision when it was announced publicly on January 26.
At the time, Mr Abbott insisted “Prince Philip’s long life of service and dedication should be honoured by Australia”.
He was forced to give up the power to create knights and dames because of the public and internal party backlash.
Greg Sheridan attended university with Mr Abbott. The pair have been friends since.
-with reporting by Kaitlin Thals and Jackson Stiles