It's no secret that Queen Elizabeth's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. Or, as the Times puts it in a story celebrating his 90th birthday today, he tends "to fall back on the nearest available stereotype when he meets people who are not like himself (which is almost everyone)." You may have heard some of these quotes before, but the paper really did round up some gems:
To a Kenyan woman offering him a present: “You are a woman, aren’t you?” To a young boy who said he wanted to be an astronaut: “You could do with losing a bit of weight.” To the president of Nigeria, resplendent in traditional costume: “You look like you’re ready for bed.” To the singer Tom Jones: “Do you gargle with pebbles to sing that way?”
When informed on a trip to Australia that his question — “Do you still throw spears at each other?” — had proved highly upsetting to the Aboriginal leader to whom it was addressed, Prince Philip accused the news media of making a big deal out of nothing.
It is what undoubtedly was behind his query — “Aren’t most of you descended from cannibals?” — to a museum curator in the Cayman Islands, and what inspired him to ask a Scottish driving instructor: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them to pass the test?”
On the positive side, now he's really old, so he's sort of grown into an excuse, finally.