Arise Prince Philip: a look at the British consort’s notorious gaffes

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Many consider Prince Philip’s gaffes as the innocent comments of a nice, old duffer. Others say it reveals a deep-seated racial and chauvinist prejudice.

Here are a few choice comments from Australia’s newest knight.

“Do you still throw spears at each other?” Speaking to Aboriginal leader Ivan Brim in Cairns in 2002.

“Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease.” When asked to pat a koala in Australia in 1992.

“It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.” Describing a fuse box at a factory in Scotland in 1999.

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

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

“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” Question to a Scottish driving instructor in 1995.

“You managed not to get eaten then?” Question to a British student who had been trekking on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea in 1998.

“Well, you’ll never fly in it, you’re too fat to be an astronaut.” Said to a 13-year-old while visiting the NOVA space craft at the University of Salford in Manchester in 2001.

“If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” Comment to British exchange students in Beijing in 1986.

“Do you know they have eating-dogs for the anorexic now?” Sharing a joke with a blind, wheelchair-bound woman in 2002.

“Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.” Commentary on the deep recession in Britain in the 1980s.

“You are a woman, aren’t you?” To a gift-bearing native in Kenya in 1984.

“The bastards murdered half my family.” On Russians in 1967.

“If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she is not interested.” On Princess Anne’s love of horses.

“What do you gargle with? Pebbles?” To Tom Jones after a Royal Variety Performance.

“Look, 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?” On gun rights after the Dunblane school massacre.

Fairfax Media

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