Thursday, June 02, 2011

In which Philip channels Groucho

One of the funniest things I’ve read in a while – the Independent’s list of 90 gaffes by the peerless Prince Philip. Some of this stuff is deeply offensive (while also being very funny) and some of it isn’t particularly funny at all – but I thought much of it was plain brilliant. In any case, how can you not admire a man - and a Royal at that - who invites the editor-in-chief of a newspaper to a press reception and then tells him “Well, you didn’t have to come!”

Some other favourites:
"What do you gargle with – pebbles?" To Tom Jones, after the Royal Variety Performance, 1969.

"Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" In the Cayman Islands, 1994.

"You have mosquitoes. I have the Press." To the matron of a hospital in the Caribbean in 1966.

"Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species." Accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991.

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

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

"It's a vast waste of space." Philip entertained guests in 2000 at the reception of a new £18m British Embassy in Berlin, which the Queen had just opened.

"I'd much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly." When asked what he felt about his life in 1992.
In a world that can get idiotic at times about political correctness, this is equal-opportunity insulting of the highest order, and some of it is worthy of Groucho Marx. I can just see the Queen standing next to her errant spouse during some of these very public exchanges, rolling her eyes like a long-suffering Margaret Dumont.

Speaking of which, here are two versions of the same photo.


  1. Loved the way you have juxtaposed the two pictures.

  2. Absolutely hilarious, I really enjoyed them all. I thought the one on the Scilly islands wasn't so much of a gaffe, though it was rude but a man his age should have his pleasures, eh, what?