Prince Philip led tributes to Daily Telegraph cartoonist Matthew Pritchett – known simply as “Matt” – marking 30 years since his first cartoon was published in the newspaper.
The Duke of Edinburgh sent a hand-signed congratulatory message to Pritchett today, saying he was a “genius” with an “ability to think of wonderfully appropriate swipes at the idiocies of contemporary life”.
Upon his retirement from public life last year aged 96, the Duke was presented with a Matt cartoon which read: “Unveil your own damn plaque.”
Political leaders also congratulated Pritchett on the milestone, with Prime Minister Theresa May saying: “It’s always good for politicians to laugh at ourselves and he helps us to do that.”
Her predecessor, David Cameron, said he loved a cartoon about the time he left his daughter in a pub so much that he mounted it on her bedroom wall.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) February 24, 2018
Every other living former prime minister also sent congratulations. Sir John Major praised Matt’s “gentle, understated humour”.
Former Labour premier Gordon Brown said: “If, as it is said, a picture can paint a thousand words, then a pocket cartoon conjured up by Matt can regularly do even more.”
But current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn apparently declined to join the anniversary celebrations, with his team reportedly telling the Telegraph that none of the Matt cartoons they had seen about him were funny.
The milestone was marked on Saturday with an new full-colour Matt cartoon on the front of the Telegraph Magazine, with an interview inside featuring Pritchett choosing some of his favourite moments from his more than 8,000 cartoons of the past 30 years.
The Telegraph also ran a souvenir four-page special cover-wrap today, showcasing 93 Matt cartoons, also viewable in an online gallery, curated by Pritchett to cover the past 30 years.
Matt fans including Jeremy Vine, John Humphrys, Evan Davis, Gyles Brandreth and Jilly Cooper paid tribute to the cartoonist in an online video, and Pritchett showed readers the process of how he decides on each day’s cartoon in a behind the scenes shoot.
Reflecting on the past 30 years, Pritchett said: “Time flies when you’re panicking about tomorrow’s cartoon.”
The entire Telegraph newsroom gathered on Friday afternoon to toast Pritchett’s anniversary.
The entire newsroom gathering to toast Matt’s 30th anniversary at The Telegraph pic.twitter.com/sNQbFEiBbL
— Richard Moynihan (@richjm) February 23, 2018
Telegraph editor Chris Evans said: “In an unpredictable world, our readers know that Matt’s cartoon can be relied on to lift their spirits and make them smile.
“All of us at The Telegraph are delighted to celebrate 30 incredible years of cartoons with him.”
Celebrations will continue throughout 2018, culminating at a Cadogan Hall event in November with Pritchett and Evans. This will coincide with the publication of a book entitled 30 Years of Matt.