Philip laughs at swearing grenadier
The Duke of Edinburgh got a warts and all taste of Army life including some colourful barrack-room language when he visited the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards at Aldershot today.
Normally, soldiers are on their best behaviour when a member of the Royal Family visits.
But one player in a football match could not contain himself from complaining in no uncertain terms how shattered he was after being substituted in a game between corporals and guardsmen.
Doubled up in pain and exhaustion on the touchline, the soldier appeared unaware that Prince Philip was standing only five yards away as he went through a lexicon of swear words to describe his agony.
"Are you all right? asked the Duke, who was talking to a group of sergeants on the touchline. "No, I'm f*****," said the soldier, still bent double with his head down.
Philip, 92, no stranger to the odd swear word after a career in the Royal Navy, laughed and then continued to chuckle away to himself as the substituted player finally looked up and walked off looking slightly sheepish.
The Duke has been Colonel of the regiment since 1975 and takes a close interest in its activities.
At Lille Barracks in Aldershot he was briefed on what the 1st Battalion has been doing in recent months.
One if its companies, The Queen's Company, had been to the Falkland Islands for eight weeks and he recalled a couple of visits to the South Atlantic, one of which included an unsuccessful fishing trip. "I tried fly fishing for sea trout but nothing happened," he said forlornly.
He also heard how some members of the battalion had spent four weeks on jungle warfare training in Brunei, where one slightly-built soldier told him about the rigours of lugging 60lbs of kit through dense jungle in driving rain, 32C heat and 90% humidity. "You were 24 stone before you went out there, weren't you?" said Philip.
The Duke, who posed for a formal picture with officers and presented long service medals to three sergeants, left after lunch in the officers' mess.
Lieutenant Colonel Chips Broughton, commanding officer of the battalion, said the Duke's visit had proved a great boost to the men, whose main duties this year are ceremonial at Buckingham Palace and Trooping the Colour.
"It's an honour," he said. "He is our regimental colonel. He has been a tremendous supporter of the Grenadiers."