Author Topic: The Wit and Humour of Prince Philip......  (Read 317 times)

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The Wit and Humour of Prince Philip......
« on: April 16, 2021, 07:40:27 AM »
His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II died last week at the age of 99.

Philip was outspoken, direct and often veered wildly beyond what many believed was appropriate.  In her book “The Wicked Wit of Prince Philip,” the author Karen Dolby writes, “Prince Philip has not always been popular with liberals. But then he’s never tried to be.”

During his long life in a very public role, it’s hard to think of a group of people he did not offend — at home or abroad.

Here are some of his more notorious comments:

During a 1986 visit to China, he told a British student: “If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes.”

“I would like to go to Russia very much — although the bastards murdered half my family.”

To a driving instructor in Scotland in 1995, he said: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?”

He once asked President Barack Obama, who was talking about world leaders, “Can you tell the difference between them?”

“I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family,” he said in 1967 when asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union.

“You can’t have been here that long, you haven’t got a pot belly,” said to a British tourist in Budapest , Hungary in 1993.

“You managed not to get eaten then?“ he asked a British backpacker who trekked through Papua New Guinea in 1998.

“We don’t come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves,” he said about a trip to Canada in 1976.

“My favourite subject at school was avoiding unnecessary work.”

“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” he asked residents of the Cayman Islands in 1994.

“Do you still throw spears at each other?” he asked Aboriginal leader William Brin at the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Queensland in 2002.

On the economy
“A few years ago, everybody was saying we must have more leisure, everyone’s working too much. Now that everybody’s got more leisure time they are complaining they are unemployed,” he said during the recession in 1981.

“All money nowadays seems to be produced with a natural homing instinct for the Treasury,” he said talking about high taxes in 1963.

“We go into the red next year… I shall probably have to give up polo,” he moaned about the Royal Family’s finances on US television in 1969.

On disability
“Deaf? If you’re near there, no wonder you are deaf,” he mused loudly to deaf children standing near a Caribbean steel drum band in 2000.

“Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?” he told a wheelchair-bound Susan Edwards with her guide dog Natalie in 2002.

“Do people trip over you?” he asked a wheelchair-bound nursing-home resident in 2002.

“How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?” he asked mobility scooter user David Miller, a trustee of the Valentine Mansion in Redbridge, in 2012.

On women
“British women can’t cook,” he told the Scottish Women’s Institute in 1961.

“You are a woman, aren’t you?” he asked woman in Kenya in 1984.

“People think there’s a rigid class system here, but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans,” he said in 2000.

“Do you have any knickers in that material?” he asked Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie in 2010, while they were admiring tartan made for the Pope.

“I don’t think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing,” he said confusingly in 1988 when discussing blood sports.

“Ah, so this is feminist corner then,“ he asked a group of female Labour MPs whose name badges read “Ms” at a Buckingham Palace drinks party in 2000.

“Every time I talk to a woman they say I’ve been to bed with her. Well I’m bloody flattered at my age to think some girl is interested in me,” he said in 2006.

“I thought it was against the law these days for a woman to solicit,” he told a woman solicitor.

“You’re not wearing mink knickers, are you?” Philip ASKS fashion writer Serena French at a World Wildlife Fund gathering in 1993.

“I would be arrested if I unzipped that dress,” he remarked to a well-wisher during a Diamond Jubilee visit with the Queen to Bromley in Kent.

“Who do you sponge off?” he asked women at a community centre in Barking and Dagenham in 2015.

“Yak, yak, yak; come on get a move on,” Prince Philip said to the Queen from the deck of Britannia in Belize in 1994. Her Majesty was talking to her hosts.

On youth
“Young people are the same as they always were. They are just as ignorant,” he said while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.

“Ah you’re the one who wrote the letter. So you can write then? Ha, ha! Well done,” he told 14-year old George Barlow who invited the Queen to visit Romford, Essex, in 2003.

“So who’s on drugs here?… HE looks as if he’s on drugs,” he said referring to a 14-year-old member of a Bangladeshi youth club in 2002.

“You could do with losing a little bit of weight,” he told hopeful astronaut Andrew Adams, 13.

“Holidays are curious things, aren’t they? You send children to school to get them out of your hair. Then they come back and make life difficult for parents. That is why holidays are set so they are just about the limit of your endurance,” he told schoolchildren in 2000.

“You were playing your instruments? Or do you have tape recorders under your seats?” he asked an Australian school orchestra in 2002.

On Britain
“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” he asked a Scottish driving instructor in 1995.

“The problem with London is the tourists. They cause the congestion. If we could just stop the tourism, we could stop the congestion,” he said at the opening of City Hall in 2002.

“And what exotic part of the world do you come from?” he asked Tory politician Lord Taylor of Warwick in 1999. “Birmingham,” the MP replied.

“Only a Scotsman can really survive a Scottish education,” he said when he was made Chancellor of Edinburgh University in November 1953.

On the media
“You have mosquitoes. I have the Press,” he joked to the matron of a hospital in the Caribbean in 1966.

“Well, that’s more than you know about anything else then,” he told Michael Buerk, after the BBC newsreader said he did know about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Awards in 2004.

“What are you doing here?” he asked Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent, at Windsor Castle reception in 2002. “I was invited, sir.” Philip: “Well, you didn’t have to come.”

“Damn fool question!” he said derisively to BBC journalist Caroline Wyatt after she asked the Queen how she was enjoying her stay in Paris in 2006.

“Where are you from?” he asked the editor of the Sun, before replying: “Oh, no…one can’t tell from the outside.”
“Just take the f***ing picture,” he told a photographer at the RAF club in 2015.

On common people
“You bloody silly fool!” he exclaimed to an elderly car park attendant who who didn’t recognise him at Cambridge University in 1997.

“Oh! You are the people ruining the rivers and the environment,” he told three young employees of a Scottish fish farm at Holyrood Palace in 1999.

“If you travel as much as we do you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort. Provided you don’t travel in something called Economy Class, which sounds ghastly,” he said to the Aircraft Research Association in 2002.

“Are you all one family?” he asked of multi-ethnic dance troupe Diversity at the Royal Variety Performance in 2009.

“Is it a strip club?” he asked a female Sea Cadet who told him she worked in a nightclub.

“Why don’t you go and live in a hostel to save cash?” he asked a penniless student in 1998.

“The Philippines must be half empty, you’re all here running the NHS,” he said to a Filipino nurse at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital in February 2016.

On the Royal family
“Tolerance is the one essential ingredient … You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance,” he said, giving advice for a successful marriage in 1997.

“If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested,” the Prince said of his daughter, Princess Anne, who competed as an equestrian athlete in the 1976 Olympics.

“It looks like a tart’s bedroom,” he said of plans for the Duke and then Duchess of York’s house at Sunninghill Park.

“My son…er…owns them,” he replied after being asked whether he knew the Scilly Isles.

“Where did you get that hat?” he supposedly said to Queen at her Coronation.

“It looks like the kind of thing my daughter would bring back from her school art lessons,” he said of “primitive” Ethiopian art in 1965.

On himself
“I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly,” he said of his role in 1992.

“I have never been noticeably reticent about talking on subjects about which I know nothing,” he told a group of industrialists in 1961.

“Bits are beginning to drop off,” he said of approaching his 90th birthday in 2011.

“I reckon I have done something right if I don’t appear in the media. So I’ve retreated – quite consciously – so as not to be an embarrassment,” he said in 2006.

“It’s my custom to say something flattering to begin with so I shall be excused if I put my foot in it later on,” he said in 1956.

“Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practiced for a good many years,” he told the General Dental Council, quoted in Time in 1960.

On the rich, famous and politicians
“You’re just a silly little Whitehall twit: you don’t trust me and I don’t trust you,” he said to Sir Rennie Maudslay, Keeper of the Privy Purse, in the 1970s.

“What do you gargle with – pebbles?” he asked Tom Jones after the Royal Variety Performance in 1969. He added later: “It is very difficult at all to see how it is possible to become immensely valuable by singing what I think are the most hideous songs.”

“There’s a lot of your family in tonight,” he told business chief Atul Patel during a 2009 Buckingham Palace reception for 400 influential British Indians.

“Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car is it? We often see it when driving to Windsor Castle,” he told neighbour Elton John after hearing he had sold his Watford FC-themed Aston Martin in 2001.

“I wish he’d turn the microphone off!” he said of Elton John’s performance at the 73rd Royal Variety Show, 2001.

“Reichskanzler,” Hitler’s title, was used by the Prince to address German chancellor Helmut Kohl during a speech in Hanover in 1997.

“You look like you’re ready for bed!” he told the President of Nigeria who was dressed in traditional robes in 2003.

“Are we going to need ear plugs?” he said after being told that Madonna was singing the James Bond theme tune in 2002.

“Can you fix my DVD player?” he asked actress Cate Blanchett because she worked “in the film industry” in 2008. “There’s a cord sticking out of the back. Might you tell me where it goes?”

On terrorism and war
“If a cricketer, for instance, 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?” he said talking about guns shortly after the Dunblane shootings in 1996.

“People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still drying out Windsor Castle,” he told survivors of the Lockerbie bombings in 1993.

“Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy,” he said an interview with Jeremy Paxman in 2006.

“We didn’t have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun. You just got on with it!” he said of stress counselling for servicemen in 1995.

“Is that a terrorist?” after pointing out a bearded man while walking to Sandringham’s St Mary Magdalene Church on New Year’s Eve in 2017. He reportedly made the comment when he spotted a tall man with a long ginger beard.

On nature
“If it has 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,” he said to a World Wildlife Fund meeting in 1986.

“Don’t feed your rabbits pawpaw fruit – it acts as a contraceptive. Then again, it might not work on rabbits,” he advises a Caribbean rabbit breeder in Anguilla in 1994.

“Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease,” he said during in Australia in 1992 while declining the opportunity to stroke a koala bear.

“It’s not a very big one, but at least it’s dead and it took an awful lot of killing!” he said referring to a crocodile he shot in Gambia in 1957.

“Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird?’” he told wildlife campaigners in 1965.

“[Wind farms] are absolutely useless and an absolute disgrace,” he told the managing director of a wind farm in 2011.

“Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species,” he said in Thailand where he was accepting a conservation reward.

Things the Prince thinks are “ghastly”
Beijing.
Stoke-on-Trent.

Jokes that misfired
“Can you tell the difference between them?” he asked President Obama who had explained that he’d had breakfast with the leaders of the UK, China and Russia in 2009.

“A pissometer?” The Prince renames the piezometer water gauge in 2000.

“Well, you didn’t design your beard too well, did you? You really must try better with your beard,” he chided a young fashion designer at a Buckingham Palace in 2009.

When silence would have been preferable
“It looks as though it was put in by an Indian,” the Prince remarked of a fuse box at a Scottish factory in 1999. He later clarified his comment: “I meant to say cowboys. I just got my cowboys and Indians mixed up.”

“They’re not mating are they?” he inquired of two robots bumping in to one another at the Science Museum in 2000.

“It’s a vast waste of space,” he said of the £18 million British Embassy in Berlin which he accompanied the Queen to open in 2000.

“It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people,” he said to the Paraguay dictator General Stroessner.

“[Smoke alarms are] a damn nuisance – I’ve got one in my bathroom and every time I run my bath the steam sets it off,” he said to a woman who lost two sons in a fire in 1998.

On food and drink
“Bugger the table plan, give me my dinner!” Showing his impatience to be fed at a dinner party in 2004.

“I never see any home cooking – all I get is fancy stuff,” he complained about the standard of Buckingham Palace cuisine in 1962.

“No, I would probably end up spitting it out over everybody,” the Prince said declining fish from Rick Stein’s seafood deli in 2000.

“The French don’t know how to cook breakfast,” he said after consuming bacon, eggs, smoked salmon, kedgeree, croissants and pain au chocolate in 2002.

“Where’s the Southern Comfort?” he asked when presented with a hamper by an American ambassador i

“I don't care what kind it is, just get me a beer.”

“As so often happens, I discover that it would have been better to keep my mouth shut.”