Homo sapiens, Lepidium sativum and Calliphora vomitoria - Latin for Human, Cress and Bluebottle – by artist Stuart Pearson Wright
The Duke of Edinburgh is a soft target who has turned foot-in.mouth comments into an art form. For over half a century the Duke has made comments that would no doubt have caused Her Maj to utter WTF if it were possible for her to do so. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Palace has a person employed fulltime to deal with the Prince’s gaffes. Here is a selection:
Stephen Menary, 15, was blinded when he attempted to throw away an explosive device thrown during an IRA attack back in 2002. He was later invited to the Queen’s jubilee celebration in Hyde Park. “How much sight do you have left?” asked the Queen to the young hero. “Not a lot, judging by the tie he’s wearing,” said Prince Philip before the young man had time to answer. The Queen looked at him open-mouthed. A long silence followed. Stephen Menary was wearing a red, navy, and yellow tie, which is part of the uniform of the Middlesex Cadet Force.
“Are you Indian or Pakistani? I can never tell the difference between you chaps.”
At Washington Embassy reception for Commonwealth members.
“British women can't cook. They are very good at decorating food and making it attractive. But they have an inability to cook.”
Addressing mainly female audience at Scottish Rural Women's Institute Display in 1966.
“Do you still throw spears at each other?”
To Australian Aborigines, during a visit to Queensland, 2002.
“If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate how much more aircraft have become. Unless you travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”
During Royal Jubilee tour in 2002.
“I don't think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing.”
Speech in December 1988, dismissing claims that those who sell slaughtered meat have greater moral authority than those who participate in blood sports.
“Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.”
To group of deaf children standing next to Jamaican steel drum band, on visit to new National Assembly for Wales, 1999.
“When a man opens the car door for his wife, it's either a new car of a new wife.”
“Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practised for a good many years.”
Address to General Dental Council, quoted in Time November 21, 1960.
“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test.”
To Scottish driving instructor, 1995.
“Tolerance is the one essential ingredient … You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”
His recipe for a successful marriage, during celebrations for their golden wedding anniversary, November 1997.
“If it has got four legs and is not a chair, if it has two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”
Commenting on Chinese eating habits to World Wildlife Fund conference in 1986.
Commenting on Beijing, China, during 1986 official visit there.
“A gun is no more dangerous than a cricket bat in the hands of a madman. If a cricketer, for example, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?"
Amid calls to ban firearms after the massacre of 16 children and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996.
"Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.”
At the height of the recession in 1981.
"If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed.”
To British students in China during Royal visit there in 1986.
“It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.”
Pointing at an old-fashioned fuse box while on a tour of a factory near Edinburgh.
“Bloody silly fool!”
Referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who failed to recognise him, 1997.
“Aren't most of you descended from pirates?”
To an islander in the Cayman Islands, 1994.
“You managed not to get eaten, then.”
To student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea in 1998, suggesting Papuan tribes people were still cannibals.\
“”People usually say that after a fire it's the water damage that's the worst. We're STILL trying to dry out Windsor castle.”
To grieving residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, during a 1993 visit after a plane exploded and crashed into the town, killing everyone on board and several people on the ground (and shortly after a fire swept through one wing of Windsor Castle).
“We don't come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.”
“You can't have been here that long, you haven't got a potbelly.”
To a Briton residing in Hungary, 1993.
“You are a woman, aren't you?”
In Kenya in 1984, after accepting a gift from an indigenous woman.
“If you gave a seven-year-old a brush and paints he'd produce something like that."
In the Sudan, after viewing some of the paintings housed in the country's ethnic museum.
“The bastards murdered half my family.”
In a room full of press agents, commenting on Russians in 1967, having been asked whether he would consider a visit there.
“What do you gargle with - pebbles?”
To singer Tom Jones, after 1969 Royal Variety Performance.
“I never see any home cooking - all I get is fancy stuff.”
Remark in 1962 taken as a slight against Buckingham Palace chefs, and later had to be qualified.
“We live in what virtually amounts to a museum - which does not happen to a lot of people.”
“It was part of the fortunes of war. We didn't have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking 'are you all right - are you sure you don't have a ghastly problem?'. You just got on with it.”
Commenting on stress counselling for servicemen in a TV documentary on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day.
“It's a pleasant change to be in a country that isn't ruled by its people.”
To Alfredo Stroessner, the Paraguayan dictator.
“The best thing to do with a degree is to forget it.”
At the University of Salford.
"The biggest waste of water in the country is when you spend half a pint and flush two gallons.”
“You look like you’re ready for bed!”
To the President of Nigeria, dressed in traditional robes
“Ah good, there's so many over there you feel they breed them just to put in orphanages.”
Said while presenting a Duke of Edinburgh Award to a student. When informed that the young man was going to help out in Romania for six months, he asked if the student was going to help the Romanian orphans and was told that he was not.
"Well, you'll never fly in it, you're too fat to be an astronaut."
Said at the University of Salford to a 13-year-old aspiring astronaut, who was wishing to fly the NOVA rocket; 2009.
“In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”
Foreword to Fleur Cowles, If I Were an Animal (William Morrow, publisher, 1987)
“Do you know they're now producing eating dogs for the anorexics?”
Said in 2002 to a blind, wheelchair-bound woman who was accompanied by her guide dog.
"Oh, what, a strip club?"
Response to Elizabeth Rendle, a 24-year-old, who, when introduced to the Prince, said that she worked as a barmaid in a nightclub.
"I'm one of those stupid bums who never went to university, and a fat lot of harm it's done me."
"Where did you get that hat?"
To his wife, the Queen, immediately following her coronation
"Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world."
Spoken whilst in Thailand after accepting a conservation award
"Oh, it's you that owns that ghastly car - we often see it when driving to Windsor Castle."
As said to Sir Elton John after Sir Elton announced he had sold his gold Aston Martin.
"French cooking's all very well, but they can't do a decent English breakfast. "
Aboard the floating restaurant 'Il Punto' on the river Orwell in Ipswich, after thoroughly enjoying an excellent full English breakfast (Il Punto is owned by Frenchman Regis Crepy)
"Never pass up a chance to go to the loo or to take a poo. "
When asked his secret for dealing with public appearances
"It doesn't look like much work goes on at this University."
As allegedly announced at Bristol University's BLADE (Bristol Laboratory for Advanced Dynamic Engineering) which was yet to be officially opened.
"Do we need ear plugs?"
At the Royal Premiere of the James Bond film Die Another Day, on being told that Madonna sang the theme song.
Prince Phillip: "And what exotic part of the world do you come from?"
Lord Taylor: "I'm from Birmingham."
An exchange with Lord Taylor of Warwick, who is black
"Damn fool question!"
Said to BBC journalist Caroline Wyatt after she asked Queen Elizabeth if she was enjoying her stay in Paris.
"Brazilians live there"
Prince Philip on the "key problem" facing Brazil
“Were you here in the bad old days, then? ... That’s why you can’t read and write then!”
To some parents in Sheffield during a school visit
“Ah you’re the one who wrote the letter. So you can write then? Ha, ha! Well done.”
To a 14-year old who wrote to HRH, before getting the chance to meet him
"So who's on drugs here? ... He looks as if he's on drugs"
To a 14-year old boy whilst visiting a youth club
Philip: "Who are you?"
Kelner: "I'm the editor-in-chief of 'The Independent', Sir"
Philip: "What are you doing here?"
Kelner: "You invited me, Sir."
Philip: "Well, you didn't have to come."