At risk of being unpopular, it's probably worth calling out some of the least statesmanlike comments our Head of State's husband has made over 70 years.
On the day Prince Philip retires from public service, most of the press seem happy to excuse as lighthearted ‘gaffes’ — or ignore completely — some of the stupidly offensive comments he’s made over the years.
For balance then, it’s probably important, one last time, to recap some of the least statesmanlike things the husband of our Head of State has blurted out since becoming the Queen’s consort in 1952:
- In 1988 on “overpopulation” he said: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation”.
- In 1986, he said to British students in China: “If you stay here much longer, you’ll go home with slitty eyes”.
- To a group of women at a community centre in east London he said: “Who do you sponge off?”
- At a reception for influential Indians in 2009 he said to Atul Patel: “There’s a lot of your family in tonight”.
- In 1965 he said of Ethiopian art: “It looks like the kind of thing my daughter would bring back from school art lessons”.
- Speaking to a Scottish driving instructor in 1995 he said: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”
- At a Bangladeshi youth club in 2002: “So who’s on drugs here?… he looks as if he’s on drugs”.
- In 1990, to black politician Lord Taylor of Warwick he said: “And what exotic part of the world do you come from?”
“Farewell, Sir. They don’t make ’em like you these days!” gushed the front of the Mail this morning. In terms of comments like these, we can only hope that the Mail are for once correct.