Prince Philip’s 15 most ghastly, cringeworthy gaffes

Prince Philip’s 15 most ghastly, cringeworthy gaffes

The Duke of Edinburgh is known for his embarrassingly racist, sexist, and flagrantly un-PC quotes. As he (sort of) steps down from royal engagements, we recall his best worst remarks.

His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and recently made Knight of the Order of Australia has a famously loose tongue. In his 95 years, the Queen’s husband has made enough cringe inducing quotes to go with his embarrassing number of titles (see at the bottom for his full regalia).

With Philip’s just announced retirement from royal engagements, let’s take a look back at his best worst comments, shall we? Jolly good…

There are the astonishingly racist and prejudiced quotes by His Royal Highness:

“Do you still throw spears at each other?”
A question to an Indigenous elder during a Royal visit to Australia in 2002.

“If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
To a British exchange student studying in China.

“It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.”
Commenting on a dodgy fuse box at a factory in Scotland.

“I meant to say cowboys. I just got my cowboys and Indians mixed up.”
Clarifying his earlier remarks about the fuse box.

“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”
Questioning of a Scottish driving instructor.

“You look as if you’re ready for the bed.”
Appraisal of the ceremonial robes the Nigerian secretary-general of the Commonwealth was wearing at a state dinner.

“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.”
Advice to a meeting of the World Wildlife Fund in 1986.

There were Prince Philip’s overtly insensitive, grossly un-PC remarks:

“Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.”
In 1999 to deaf people in Wales about a steel band.

“Well, you’ll never fly in it; you’re too fat to be an astronaut.”
Speaking to a 13-year-old while about the NOVA space craft on a 2001 visit to a Manchester university.

“Do you know they have eating-dogs for the anorexic now?”
In 2002 to a blind woman and her guide dog.

“Do you work in a strip club?”
To Navy trainer Elizabeth Rendle.

The duke has naturally made a few positively stuck-up assessments:

“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.”
Discussing the evolution of air travel with the Aircraft Research Association.

“Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.”
About the Thatcher era recession in Britain.

But there were at least two Prince Philip quotes a lot of people might actually find agreeable:

“Are we going to need ear plugs?”
On finding out that Madonna was going to sing at the premiere of Bond film Die Another Day in 2002, at which Prince Philip and the Queen were guests of honour.

“Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy.”
A candid admission to BBC hard-man inquisitor, Jeremy Paxman.

Philip, King of Titles

According to Wikipedia, Prince Philip’s style and title in full: His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Canadian Forces Decoration, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom. (Phew!)

IMAGE: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Bryce Lowry

Bryce Lowry

Publisher and Editor of Australian Times.