Cantonese pub

The blunders that made Philip a “national treasure”



Philip was known for his candid comments

The Duke of Edinburgh was perhaps best known for his blunders.

He shocked and at times delighted audiences with his frank remarks and clicks.

His reputation for outspokenness has often sparked controversy, but he has already been called a “national treasure” by the press for his inability to contain his improvised remarks.

The Duke of Edinburgh
Philip could be counted on to say something he shouldn’t (Leon Neal / PA)

He claimed he had been misunderstood.

In fact, the Duke was “misunderstood” almost everywhere he went.

Here are some of Philip’s famous comments:

“British women don’t know how to cook” – in Britain in 1966.

“What are you gargling with – pebbles?” – speaking to singer Tom Jones after the 1969 Royal Variety Performance.

“I declare this thing open, whatever it is” – during a visit to Canada in 1969.

“Everyone said we need to have more leisure time. Now they are complaining that they are unemployed ”- during the 1981 recession.

Philippe on duty
The Duke jokes with the Cambridge University rowing team in 2009 (Stefan Rousseau / PA)

“If it has four legs and it’s not a chair, if it has two wings and it flies but it’s not a plane, and if it swims and it’s not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it “- at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting.

“It looks like a pie room” – seeing the plans for the Duke and Duchess of York’s house in Sunninghill Park in 1988.

“Yak, yak, yak; come on, get moving ”- shouted from the deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia in Belize in 1994 to the Queen, who was chatting with her hosts on the quayside.

“We didn’t have advisers rushing up every time someone dropped a gun, asking ‘Are you okay? Are you sure you don’t have a terrible problem? “You just got started” – on WWII, commenting on modern stress counseling for the military in 1995.

The Duke at a reception
Philip jokes with cricketers about breaking their fingers while playing sports (PA)

“How do you keep the natives away from alcohol long enough to get them tested?” – to a driving school instructor in Oban, Scotland, during a walkabout in 1995.

“If a cricketer, for example, suddenly decided to go to a school and beat a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean are you going to ban them? cricket bats? – in 1996, amid calls for a gun ban after the Dunblane shooting.

“Damn you silly!” – in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University parking attendant who did not recognize him.

“Looks like it was installed by an Indian” – showing an old fashioned fuse box at a factory near Edinburgh in 1999.

“Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf” – to young deaf people in Cardiff in 1999, referring to a school metal band.

Philip and General Sir Mike Jackson
The Duke of Edinburgh shares a joke with General Sir Mike Jackson (Matthew Fearn / PA)

“They must be crazy” – in Solomon Islands in 1982, when he was told that the annual population growth was 5%.

“You are a woman, aren’t you? – in Kenya in 1984, after accepting a small gift from a local woman.

“If you stay here any longer, your eyes will all be slanted” – to British students in China, during the 1986 State Visit.

“Your country is one of the world’s best-known endangered species trade centers” – in Thailand in 1991, after receiving a conservation award.

“Oh no, I could catch a horrible disease” – in Australia in 1992, when asked to stroke a koala.

“You can’t be here for that long – you don’t have a stomach” – to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary, in 1993.

The Duke meets the audience
Philip laughs as he shares a joke with the cleaners during a visit to University of Salford (PA)

“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates? – to a wealthy Cayman Islander in 1994.

“You managed not to get eaten, then?” – suggesting in 1998 to a student who had trekked in Papua New Guinea that tribes were still cannibals there.

In Germany, in 1997, he hosted German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at a trade fair under the name “Reichskanzler” – the last German leader to use this title was Adolf Hitler.

“You are too fat to be an astronaut” – to Andrew Adams, 13, who told Philip in Salford in 2001 that he wanted to go to space.

“I wish he would turn off the microphone” – muttered at the Royal Variety Performance in 2001 as he watched Sir Elton John perform.

“Do you still throw spears at each other?” – in Australia in 2002, talking to a successful Aboriginal entrepreneur.

Philippe in Australia
The Duke chats with Indigenous artists (Fiona Hanson / PA)

“You look like a suicide bomber” – a young female officer wearing a bulletproof vest in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in 2002.

“Do you know that they are now producing eating dogs for anorexics?” – to a blind woman in front of Exeter Cathedral in 2002.

“Well, you haven’t drawn your beard too well, have you?” – to designer Stephen Judge about his little goatee in July 2009.

“There are a lot of family members tonight” – after looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a reception at Buckingham Palace for British Indians in October 2009.

“Do you work in a strip club? – to Elizabeth Rendle, a Cadet from Barnstaple, 24, in March 2010, after she told him she also worked at a nightclub.

“Do you have any panties made with this?” – showing tartan – to Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie at a papal reception in Edinburgh in September 2010.

“The Bits Begin to Fall” – as it approaches its 90th birthday in 2011.

“How many people did you run into this thing this morning?” – meeting with disabled David Miller, who drives a mobility scooter, at Valentine Mansion in Redbridge in March 2012.

“I would be arrested if I unzipped this dress” – to Hannah Jackson, a 25-year-old council worker, who wore a dress with a zipper down the length of her front, on a Jubilee visit to Bromley, in the South East London, in May 2012.

“The Philippines must be half empty because you are all here at the head of the NHS” – during a meeting with a Filipino nurse at a hospital in Luton in February 2013.

“Most of the stripping is done by hand” – to Audrey Cook, 83, an employee of the Mars factory, when she explained how she used to strip or cut Mars bars by hand. April 2013.

“Do you get bonus points if you knock her down?” – after seeing a toddler sitting on an inflatable ball during an activity class at a nursing home in 2013.

“(The children) go to school because their parents don’t want them in the house” – laughing Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban after campaigning for human rights. girls go to school without fear, in October 2013.

Philippe with Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai reacts to Duke’s comment at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok / PA)

“Just take the f ****** picture” – lose patience with an RAF photographer during events marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in July 2015.

“You look hungry” – to a retiree during a visit to the Chartreuse hospice for elderly men in February 2017.

“Well, I can’t stand any longer” – to mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah, who told him he was sorry to hear he was stepping down from public office, in May 2017.

“You should all be locked up” – to the Royal Marines who had completed a 1,664 mile voyage – on August 2, 2017 during his last official royal engagement as he began his retirement.

“Is he a terrorist? – pointing at a bearded man in the crowd at Sandringham on New Years Eve 2017.

“I’m just a bloody amoeba” – on the Queen’s decision that their children should be called Windsor, not Mountbatten.

“Gentlemen, I think it’s time to pull our fingers out” – to the Industrial Co-Partnership Association on Britain’s Inefficient Industries in 1961.

“Are you asking me if the queen is going to die?” – after being asked about the Prince of Wales’ succession to the throne.

Philippe and Anne
The Duke and his daughter, The Princess Royal (Andrew Milligan / PA)

“If the man had succeeded in kidnapping Anne, she would have given him one hell of a time in captivity” – about a gunman who attempted to kidnap the Princess Royal in 1974.

“I hope he breaks his bloody neck” – when a photographer covering a royal visit to India fell from a tree.

“If he doesn’t fart or eat hay, she’s not interested” – on the Princess Royal.

“When a man opens a door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife” – on marriage.

“It’s a nice change to be in a country that is not ruled by its people” – for Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner.

“Where did you get that hat?” – supposedly to the queen at her coronation.



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