The Tact and Diplomacy of Prince Philip Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

The Tact and Diplomacy of Prince Philip

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As the Duke of Edinburgh, and husband of the British monarch, Prince Philip has earned the notorious reputation of putting his royal foot into his ever so regal mouth. Here are some alleged sayings of HRH on the international circuit1.

  • His Highness won the support of the Race Relations Board during his 1999 visit to an electronics company near Edinburgh, when he pointed to a fuse box and remarked, 'It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.'

  • This came shortly after he met representatives of the British Deaf Association at a celebration in Cardiff and told them, 'If you are standing near there2, no wonder you are deaf.'

  • As early as the 1960s, the Duke offered his support to the feminist movement by declaring that 'British women can't cook'. Around the same time, he won the respect of singer Tom Jones by asking him, 'What do you gargle with, pebbles?'

  • The Duke's understanding of the problems of the working classes was demonstrated at the height of the recession in 1981, when he remarked, 'Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.'

  • In 1993, the Duke comforted the residents of Lockerbie by telling them, 'People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle.' His unswerving support for the Scots was also evident in 1995, when he asked a Scottish driving instructor, 'How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?'

  • But the Duke's affinity with the common people extends far beyond the confines of the UK. During a trip to Canada he was heard to say, 'We don't come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.' In 1993, he told a Briton in Hungary, 'You can't have been here that long - you haven't got a pot belly.'

  • His Highness' finest hour, however, remains his legendary remark to British students in China in 1986 - 'If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed.'

1Which are not upheld in any way, shape or form by h2g2.2The music.

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