MP condemns latest in a long line of gaffes

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The Independent Online
The Duke of Edinburgh was accused last night of "blundering" into a sensitive political debate, writes Jojo Moyes. Alex Salmond, Scottish National Party leader, said: "Not for the first time, Prince Philip would have been better keeping his deeply misguided views to himself."

The duke's often less-than-diplomatically expressed views have frequently landed him in trouble in the past. He made one of his most famous gaffes during a visit to China in 1986, when he described Peking as "ghastly" and told British students: "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed."

He told a Briton he met in Hungary in 1993: "You can't have been here that long - you haven't got a pot belly."

Two years later he asked a Scottish driving instructor: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?"

He has also angered the bereaved before. Prince Philip upset residents of Lockerbie when on a visit to the town in 1993, he said to a man who lived in a road where 11 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."

At the funeral of King Baudouin of Belgium in 1993, the prince wore a smart sash of green with red and gold stripes. It was not the Belgian Order of Leopold but the Zaireian Order of the Leopard.

Few have been spared from the duke's somewhat politically incorrect views. At the height of the recession in 1981 he said: "Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed."

In 1969 the duke was said to have annoyed Tom Jones after the Royal Variety Performance by asking: "What do you gargle with, pebbles?" He added the following day: "It is very difficult at all to see how it is possible to become immensely valuable by singing what I think are the most hideous songs."

Yet some remarks may have been considered less controversial. Thirty years ago, Prince Philip said at a private lunch that he thought Adam Faith's singing was like bath water going down a plug hole.