06 June 2011


I have a new hero and it's called Prince Philip. Over the weekend I was reading about his impending 90th birthday and hunted for some of his quotes. Some of his later stuff is the best:

China State Visit, 1986 … to a group of British students in China:
If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes

Said in 2002 to a blind, wheelchair-bound woman who was accompanied by her guide dog
“Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?”

To Australian Aborigines, during a visit to Queensland in 2002.
“Do you still throw spears at each other?”

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

After the Dunblane shooting:
“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?”

To Elton John after hearing Elton had sold his Gold Aston Martin
“Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car – we often see it when driving to Windsor Castle.”

To the President of Nigeria, dressed in traditional robes
“You look like you’re ready for bed!”

China State Visit, 1986:
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.

During 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.
"People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle."

During a visit to the new National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff. Said to a group of deaf children standing next to a Jamaican steel drum band:
Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.

Said in 1994 to an inhabitant of the Cayman Islands:
Aren't most of you descended from pirates?

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 …
"Ah good, there's so many over there you feel they breed them just to put in orphanages."

University of Salford to a 13-year-old aspiring astronaut, who was wishing to fly the NOVA rocket; "Gift of the gaffe: Prince Philip’s top ten embarrassing moments". Daily Mirror. December 14, 2009.
"Well, you'll never fly in it, you're too fat to be an astronaut."

Whilst on a tour of a factory in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1999 Prince Philip pointed out a fuse box that looked quite old:
"It looks as if it was put in by an Indian."

Said to black dance troupe Diversity at the 2009 Royal Variety Performance:
"Are you all one family?"

At Washington Embassy reception for Commonwealth members:
Are you Indian or Pakistani? I can never tell the difference between you chaps.

During Royal Jubilee tour in 2002.
If you travel as much as we do you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – unless you travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.

Comment on seeing plans for the Duchess of York's house.
"It looks like a tart's boudoir."

Proposal for solving London's traffic problems.
"Of course, the problem with London is the tourists. They cause the congestion. They block the streets. If we could just stop tourism, we could stop the congestion."

Said to a farmer's wife from Northern Ireland visiting London for a charity event.
"So you managed to get here without having your knickers blown off."

Said to Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner.
"It's a pleasure to be in a country that isn't ruled by its people."

Comment during the depth of a recession in Britain in 1981.
"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. People don't seem to make up their minds what they want."

Prince Philip used Hitler's title to address German chancellor Helmut Kohl during a speech in Hanover in 1997.

Of his daughter, Princess Anne.
"If it doesn't fart or eat hay, she isn't interested."

Comment on US television in 1969 about the Royal Family's finances
"We go into the red next year... I shall probably have to give up polo."

On getting stuck in a lift between two floors at the Heriot Watt University, 1958.
"This could only happen in a technical college."

On being shown "primitive" Ethiopian art in 1965.
It looks like the kind of thing my daughter would bring back from her school art lessons"

Philip did not approve of the noise Concorde made while flying over the Buckingham Palace.
"I must be in the only person in Britain glad to see the back of that plane."

Meeting a wheelchair-bound nursing-home resident in 2002.
"Do people trip over you?"

Discussing his role in an interview with Jeremy Paxman
"Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy."

To a 14-year-old member of a Bangladeshi youth club in 2002
"So who's on drugs here?... [points] HE looks as if he's on drugs."

Asked in 1999 of Tory politician Lord Taylor of Warwick, whose parents are Jamaican.
"And what exotic part of the world do you come from?" He replied: "Birmingham”

Response to question about how he feels about his life.

"I'd much rather have stayed in the navy, frankly."

1 comment:

nancy1 said...

And then there's this from a book I edited recently:

"Gareth Evans tells a story about when the Queen visited Canberra to proclaim the commencement of the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) in March 1986. At one stage during the ceremony he found himself face to face with the Duke of Edinburgh. To fill a conversational gap, Evans says he told the Duke ‘something about how great an occasion it was, and how I felt personally chuffed after being somewhat involved – to which, after a long, narrow-eyed pause, the Duke said 'Big deal!'."