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The gaffes that have made Philip a national treasure

A selection of Prince Philip’s irreverent comments over the years.

The Duke of Edinburgh has perhaps been best known for his legendary gaffes.

He has shocked and sometimes delighted the public with his outspoken comments and clangers.

His reputation for plain speaking has often led to controversy, but he has been branded a “national treasure” by the press for his inability to curb his off-the-cuff remarks.

He claimed he was misunderstood. In fact, the Duke has been ”misunderstood” almost everywhere he went.

Here are some of Philip’s famous remarks:

Welsh singer Tom Jones in 1969 (PA)

“What do you gargle with, pebbles?” (speaking to singer Tom Jones after the 1969 Royal Variety Performance).

“I declare this thing open, whatever it is” (on a visit to Canada in 1969).

The Duke of Edinburgh, The World Wildlife Funds International President with Tim Walker, chairman of WWF-UK, in 1986 (PA)

“If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it” (at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting).

The Duke of Edinburgh was not impressed with the Duke and Duchess of York's plans for Sunninghill Park (PA)

“It looks like a tart’s bedroom” (on seeing plans for the Duke and Duchess of York’s house at Sunninghill Park in 1988).

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in Belize in 1994 (Martin Keene/PA)

“Yak, yak, yak; come on get a move on” (shouted from the deck of Britannia in Belize in 1994 to the Queen who was chatting to her hosts on the quayside).

“Bloody silly fool!” (in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who did not recognise him).

“You are a woman, aren’t you?” (In Kenya, in 1984, after accepting a small gift from a local woman).

The Royal yacht Britannia at anchor off the Cayman Islands (Martin Keene/PA)

“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” (to a wealthy islander in the Cayman Islands in 1994).

“It looks as if it was put in by an Indian” (pointing at an old-fashioned fusebox in a factory near Edinburgh in 1999).

“They must be out of their minds” (in the Solomon Islands, in 1982, when he was told that the annual population growth was 5%).

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh greet German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at Buckingham Palace in 1998 (PA)

In Germany, in 1997, he welcomed German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at a trade fair as “Reichskanzler” – the last German leader who used the title was Adolf Hitler.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive for the Royal Variety Performance, at the Dominion Theatre in London in 2001 (Peter Jordan/PA)

“I wish he’d turn the microphone off” (muttered at the Royal Variety Performance as he watched Sir Elton John perform, 2001).

“You look like a suicide bomber” (to a young female officer wearing a bullet-proof vest on Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in 2002).

Key events in the life of Prince Philip (PA graphics)

“Do you still throw spears at each other?” (In Australia in 2002 talking to a successful aborigine entrepreneur).

“Do you work at a strip club?” (to 24-year-old Barnstaple Sea Cadet Elizabeth Rendle when she told him she also worked in a nightclub in March 2010).

Annabel Goldie was Scottish Tory leader in 2010 (Danny Lawson/PA)

“Do you have a pair of knickers made out of this?” pointing to some tartan (to Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie at a papal reception in Edinburgh in September 2010).

“How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?” (meeting disabled David Miller who drives a mobility scooter at the Valentine Mansion in Redbridge in March 2012).

“Just take the f***ing picture” (losing patience with an RAF photographer at events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – July 2015).

“I hope he breaks his bloody neck” (when a photographer covering a royal visit to India fell out of a tree).


From Belfast Telegraph