Tag Archives: Prince Philip

90 years of gaffing

I’m far from being a royal family fanatic, and generally think that it’s a medieval institution that does nothing but spend tax payers money and boost England’s morale every 10 years or so when there is a royal wedding or something.  But Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen’s husband, is awesome. He says amazingly inappropriate things and, not only does he appear to never learn his lesson, he doesn’t seem to give a stuff about what people think. It’s his 90th birthday today, which is pretty impressive, so here a few of the gaffes he’s come up with over the years:

  • The man who invented the red carpet needed his head examined.
    • Said while about to disembark on state visit to Brazil, November 1968.
  • You have mosquitoes. I have the Press.
    • Said in a conversation with the matron of a hospital while on a tour of the Caribbean, 1966.
  • It seems to me that it’s the best way of wasting money that I know of. I don’t think investments on the moon pay a very high dividend.
    • On the U.S. Apollo program, press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 1968.
  • How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?
    • Said to a driving instructor in Scotland.
  • If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.
    • Said in 1986 to a group of British students in China.
  • You are a woman, aren’t you?
    • After accepting a gift from a Kenyan woman.
  • If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.
  • You managed not to get eaten then?
    • Said to a British student in Papua New Guinea.
  • People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle.
    • Said on a visit to Lockerbie in 1993 to a man who lived in a road where eleven people had been killed by wreckage from the Pan Am jumbo jet.
  • Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.
    • Said to a group of deaf children standing next to a Jamaican steel drum band.
  • Do you still throw spears at each other?
    • Said in 2002 to an Indigenous Australian businessman.
  • You can’t have been here that long — you haven’t got a pot belly.
    • Said to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?
    • Said in 1994 to an inhabitant of the Cayman Islands.
  • Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed. (In 1981, in reference to the economic recession.)
  • 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.
  • A gun is no more dangerous than a cricket bat in the hands of a madman.
  • I just wonder what it would be like to be reincarnated in an animal whose species had been so reduced in numbers than it was in danger of extinction. What would be its feelings toward the human species whose population explosion had denied it somewhere to exist… I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.
    • Foreword to Fleur Cowles, If I Were an Animal (William Morrow).
  • 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.
  • [That fuse box] It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.
    • Whilst on a tour of a factory in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1999 Prince Philip pointed out a fuse box that looked quite old.
  • How can you tell the difference between them?
    • Said to United States President Barack Obama after being told that Obama had met with The Chinese and Russian ambassadors along with David Cameron.
  • There’s a lot of your family in tonight
    • Said in November 2009 to a Mr Patel at a reception for 400 British Indian businessmen at Buckingham Palace.
  • “Oh, what, a strip club?”
    • Said in response to Elizabeth Rendle, a 24-year-old, who, when introduced to the prince, said that she worked as a barmaid in a nightclub.
And my personal favourite…
  • 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.
I imagine he’s caused much offence and many tears over the years, and not just for the fat kid whose dreams were dashed. Prince Philip is just too awkward, but the royal family would be deathly boring without him.