Thursday 22 February 2018

'Nothing but a bloody amoeba' - don't beware of Greeks bearing gaffes

The Duke of Edinburgh brought much-needed comic relief to the UK's 'Firm' and he'll be missed, says Barry Egan

Back seat: Prince Philip. Photo: PA
Back seat: Prince Philip. Photo: PA
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

The Duke of Edinburgh was alleged to have said prior to his wedding to Princess Elizabeth, the heiress presumptive to the British throne, on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey: "I suppose I won't be having any fun any more." That wasn't always the case.

In the 1950s, Prince Philip used to seek refuge in London from the fusty realities of life at Buckingham Palace with his aristo chums at the Thursday Club. Depending on the night, the pals included Lord Louis Mountbatten, Cecil Beaton, various Royals as well as David Niven, Peter Ustinov, Stephen Ward, the Krays, Arthur Koestler, spy Kim Philby, musician Larry Adler and lady friends with colourful names such as Flo, Loulou, Beryl, Gertie, Simone and Pat.

Tarts, toffs and traitors aside, a one-time member of the Thursday Club, Miles Kington, once recalled a revelatory conversation. "You men are all distinguished people," he said to Lord Mountbatten, "You are all distinguished in action, or thought, or culture, or in heredity. But these girls..."

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