Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes

The Duke of Edinburgh's recommendation for a knighthood by Australian PM has been met with some controversy. So, nothing new for Prince Philip.

Helen Nianias
Monday 26 January 2015 11:49
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Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London

Prince Philip, aka the Duke of Hazard, is to be awarded a knighthood by Australia, a decision that has been criticised as "anachronistic" by politicians.

Arguing that Australian honours shouldn't be dished out to British royals, leader of the opposition Bill Shorten said: "I just think giving our top award to a British royal is anachronistic. To be honest it's a bit of a time warp. I wasn't quite sure it was serious until I realised it was."

But controversy has dogged gaffe-prone 93-year-old Prince Philip wherever he's gone. Here are his most outlandish statements:

On a 2002 visit to Australia, he asked a group of aborigines: "Do you still throw spears at each other?"

Talking to a Scottish driving instructor: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"

To a British student in China: "If you stay here much longer, you’ll go home with slitty eyes."

On travelling, said to the Aircraft Research Association: "If you travel as much as we do you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don't travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly."

While inspecting a fuse box: "It looks as though it was put in by an Indian." He later clarified his comment: "I meant to say cowboys. I just got my cowboys and Indians mixed up."

Talking to Jeremy Paxman about his role in the Royal family: "Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy."

At a WWF meeting: "If it has 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."

To Elton John, about his Watford FC-themed Aston Martin: "Oh, it's you that owns that ghastly car is it? We often see it when driving to Windsor Castle."

At the Scottish Women's Institute in 1961: "British women can't cook."

To a wheelchair-bound Susan Edwards, and her guide dog Natalie in 2002: "Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?"

While officiating at a Hertfordshire University ceremony, 2003: "During the Blitz, a lot of shops had their windows blown in and put up notices saying: 'More open than usual'. I now declare this place more open than usual."

To someone who'd just got back from travelling across Papua New Guinea: "You managed not to get eaten then?"

To Simon Kelner, former editor of The Independent, at Windsor Castle: "What are you doing here?" "I was invited, sir." Philip: "Well, you didn’t have to come."

To Diversity, a mixed-race street-dance troupe: "Are you all one family?"

To businessman Atul Patel at reception for influential Indians after seeing his name badge: "There’s a lot of your family in tonight."

At the reception of the new British embassy in Berlin, which had cost £18 million: "It's a vast waste of space".

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