Prince Philip Gaffes: His Most Controversial Statements

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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh smiles during a visit to the headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force’s (RAuxAF) 603 Squadron on July 4, 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Getty)

After an emergency meeting was called at Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning, speculation began to run rampant that Prince Philip has died. However, nothing has been confirmed, and in fact, Rosa Hwang, Senior Broadcast Producer for CTV National News, is now reporting that Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are both alive and well.

Still, with these dramatic developments on Thursday night, millions are more curious than ever about the life of Prince Philip, who is known for being quite blunt, and he is famous for getting into trouble with a fair number of gaffes and controversial statements over the course of his life.

One of the most famous came in May 1999, when Philip reportedly made a joke at the expense of deaf children, joking that they were deaf because they were sitting near a Caribbean band he did not like; Philip said, “If you’re near that music it’s no wonder you’re deaf,” according to The Telegraph.

Also in 1999, Philip was touring an Edinburgh electronics factory, and he said that a fusebox that was bursting with wires looked like it was “put in by an Indian,” according to The Guardian.

Within a few hours of this electronics factory incident, Buckingham Palace issued an official apology, saying, “The Duke of Edinburgh regrets any offence which may have been caused. With hindsight he accepts that what were intended as light hearted comments were inappropriate.”

In 2009, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth met Stephen Menary, a teenage army cadet blinded in an IRA bombing. After Queen Elizabeth asked him how much of his sight he had left, Philip said, “Not a lot, judging by the tie he’s wearing,” according to The Telegraph.

The boy later said that he didn’t take offense at the remark.

“I know he has a reputation for making seemingly offensive remarks but I don’t think there’s any malice in what he says,” Menary said. “He meets people that are often very nervous about meeting him and other members of the Royal Family and I think he just tries to put people at ease by trying to make a joke. I certainly didn’t take any offence.”

During a trip to China in 1986, Philip reportedly said, “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed,” according to The Telegraph. Philip later defended the remark, saying,“I’d forgotten about it. But for one particular reporter who overheard it, it wouldn’t have come out. What’s more, the Chinese weren’t worried about it, so why should anyone else?”

According to The Guardian, in 1995, Philip asked a Scottish driving instructor, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?”

According to The Independent, Philip said of the recession in the 1980s, “A few years ago, everybody was saying we must have more leisure, everyone’s working too much. Now that everybody’s got more leisure time they are complaining they are unemployed. People don’t seem to make up their minds what they want.”

Finally, Philip reportedly said in 1961, “British women can’t cook,” according to The Mirror.

These are just a few of the most famous of Prince Philip’s many, many gaffes during his time in the public eye. Philip was very aware of the trouble this got him into, and according to The Daily Mail, he once described himself as experiencing “Dontopedalogy…the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practised for a good many years.”

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