Saturday 1 October 2016

Britain's Prince Philip no stranger to gaffes

Published 10/07/2015 | 19:44

Britain's Prince Philip meets veterans and serving RAF personnel during a pre-lunch reception at the RAF Club in central London to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Britain's Prince Philip meets veterans and serving RAF personnel during a pre-lunch reception at the RAF Club in central London to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

BRITAIN'S Prince Philip is well known for his plentiful gaffes and lack of political correctness.

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So his latest apparent indiscretion today, when he is alleged to have sworn at a photographer, will have come as little surprise.

Philip, who reportedly turned the air blue at a royal photocall to mark the Battle of Britain anniversary, has a track record for both amusing and offending the nation throughout the decades with his variety of outspoken remarks.

During the Pope's visit to Edinburgh in 2010, the Duke was on spectacular form when he pointed to some tartan and asked the then-Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie: "Do you have a pair of knickers made out of this?"

Miss Goldie was in "hoots of laughter" and retorted: "I couldn't possibly comment - and even if I did, I couldn't possibly exhibit them."

In the past, however, Philip's comments have landed him in trouble, angering race campaigners.

In 1999, he apologised for offensive remarks he made during a visit to an electronics factory in Edinburgh when he pointed to an old-fashioned fusebox and declared: "It looks as if it was put in by an Indian."

The National Assembly Against Racism condemned the remark as "absolutely abysmal and disgraceful" and Buckingham Palace later issued a statement, saying: "The Duke of Edinburgh regrets any offence which may have been caused by remarks he is reported as making earlier today.

"With hindsight, he accepts what were intended as light-hearted comments were inappropriate."

Ten years later, he told businessman Atul Patel: "There's a lot of your family in tonight" after looking at his name badge during a Palace reception for British Indians.

Philip also hit the headlines in 2002 when he asked a successful Aborigine entrepreneur in Australia if they still threw spears at each other.

He was talking to Aboriginal cultural park owner William Brim and his father Ivan during a royal visit to Cairns in Queensland.

Mr Brim described the question as a "bit naive" but said he was not offended.

During a 1986 state visit to China, the Duke famously told British students: "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed."

He also once told a group of deaf youngsters: "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf", referring to a school's steel band and told Susan Edwards, who is blind, uses a wheelchair and has a guide dog: "Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?"

Ms Edwards, from Torquay, Devon, said afterwards: "Some people make stupid jokes so I guess it was just something to say.

"What do you do when you are being introduced to 350 strangers? You have got to say something. I would rather he made a joke than be staid and offhand."

The Duke's plain talking is legendary.

When 13-year-old Andrew Adams told Philip he wanted to go into space after meeting him in Salford in 2001, the Duke set him straight, saying: "You're too fat to be an astronaut."

Even the Queen is not immune to a dose of her husband's impatient directness.

"Yak, yak, yak; come on, get a move on," he is once reported to have shouted to her from the deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia as she chatted to hosts on the quayside.

Press Association

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