Prince Philip Quotes: The Most Colorful & Controversial Comments

prince philip quotes

Getty Prince Philip quotes are controversial and colorful. Here's a roundup.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, was known for his colorful, and often politically incorrect, quotes.

Prince Philip was hospitalized on February 17, 2021, He died on April 9, 2021, at Windsor Castle, the age of 99. Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II had been married since 1952.

Some of his quotes were offensive, even gaffes, or, minimally, not politically correct – depending on your interpretation. As Mashable once said, some of Philip’s quotes veer between “endearing dad-joke” and more “incredibly racist grandpa.” Philip rarely held back from saying exactly what was on his mind.

Here’s what you need to know about Prince Phillip’s most colorful and controversial quotes:

On Unemployment

“Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.” [Newsweek]

On Tom Jones

“What do you gargle with, pebbles?” [Newsweek] And later, “It’s difficult to see how it’s possible to become immensely valuable by singing what are the most hideous songs.”

On a Successful Marriage

“Tolerance is the one essential ingredient… You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.” [Newsweek]

On a Turtle Dove Protection Project in Anguilla

“Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird?’” [UK Mirror]

On a Budapest Tourist

“You can’t have been here long, you haven’t got a pot belly.” [UK Mirror]

On a British Trekker in Papua New Guinea

“You managed not to get eaten then?” [UK Mirror]

On Canada

“We don’t come here for our health.” [UK Mirror] He also said during a Canadian visit, “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.” [Woman and Home]

On the Caribbean & the News Media

“You have mosquitoes. I have the Press.” [Wikiquotes]

On British Women & Cooking

“British women can’t cook.” [Wikiquotes]

On the Cantonese

“If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.” [Wikiquotes]

On the Cayman Islands

“Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” [Wikiquotes]

On the Duke of York’s House

“It looks like a tart’s bedroom.” [Woman and Home]

On Turning 90

“Bits are beginning to drop off.” [Woman and Home]

On the Queen Chatting in Belize

“Yak, yak, yak; come on get a move on.” [Woman and Home]

On Young People

“Young people are the same as they always were. Just as ignorant.” [Woman and Home]

On Madonna Singing

“Are we going to need earplugs?” [Woman and Home]

On Prince Anne’s Love of Horses & School Uniforms

“If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.” [Woman and Home] On the school uniforms worn by Anne and her classmates, “It makes you all look like Dracula’s daughters.” [Hello Magazine]

On Elton John

“I wish he’d turn the microphone off!” [Hello Magazine]

On Female Politicians

“Ah, so this is the feminist corner then!” [Hello Magazine]

On the President of Nigeria’s Traditional Clothing

“You look like you’re ready for bed.” [Hello Magazine]

On His Childhood & Being a Prince

“I was not the least aware I was any different from any of the others. It’s true I had this title of Prince, but it’s surprising how you can live it down. My favourite subject at school was avoiding unnecessary work.” [Hello Magazine]

On the Scottish, to a Driving Instructor

‘How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?” [Metro]

To a Parking Attendant Who Didn’t Recognize Him

“Bloody silly fool!” [Metro]

To a 13-Year-Old Boy Who Wanted to Be an Astronaut

“You’re too fat to be an astronaut.” [Metro]

When Offered Wine in Italy

“Get me a beer. I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!” [Metro]

On a Foiled Plot to Kidnap Princess Anne

“If the man had succeeded in abducting Anne, she would have given him a hell of a time while in captivity.” [Metro]

On Loving the Queen

“To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one’s personal and even the world’s troubles seem small and petty.” [Harper’s Bazaar]

On Ethiopian Art

“It looks like the kind of thing my daughter would bring back from her school art lessons.” [Mashable]

On Beijing

“Ghastly.” [Mashable]

To British Students in China

This was one of Philip’s most offensive comments. He said, “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” [Saying Images]

On Technology

“Books are certainly old fashioned, but only people with a very limited perception are silly enough to condemn ideas because of their age. It is, of course, equally silly to condemn the new fangled simply because it is strange, and I am full of admiration for the technologists who have developed all sorts of gadgets for the purpose of improving communications. However, I believe that all these fascinating machines are complementary to, and not substitutes for, books and the printed word.” [Saying Images]

On Reincarnation

“I just wonder what it would be like to be reincarnated in an animal whose species had been so reduced in numbers than it was in danger of extinction. What would be its feelings toward the human species whose population explosion had denied it somewhere to exist… I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.” [Saying Images]

On Guns

“A gun is no more dangerous than a cricket bat in the hands of a madman.” [Saying Images]

To a Local Woman in Kenya

“You are a woman, aren’t you?” [Saying Images]

On the Older Generation

“It is an old cliche to say that the future is in the hands of the young. This is no longer true. The quality of life to be enjoyed or the existence to be survived by our children and future generations is in our hands now.” [Saying Images]

Prince Philip Retired From Royal Duties in 2017


The Prince retired from public duties in 2017. He was living at Windsor Castle with the Queen during the COVID-19 pandemic, AP reported.

In June, the Royal Family released a new photo of Philip and the Queen to celebrate his 99th birthday. “This new photograph of The Duke of Edinburgh and The Queen was taken last week in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle to mark His Royal Highness’s 99th birthday tomorrow,” the Royal Family tweeted.

According to his Buckingham Palace biography, “following a successful naval career during which he saw active service in the Second World War, The Duke of Edinburgh began to focus on his work in support of The Queen following her Accession in 1952.”

“In 2009 he became the longest serving British consort (companion to the Sovereign), a distinction previously held by Queen Charlotte, George III’s consort. His Royal Highness also has many interests which he pursues separately to his work with Her Majesty, including conservation, engineering, and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which he founded in 1956.”

The bio notes: “The Duke of Edinburgh is Patron, President or a member of over 750 organisations, with which he continues to be associated, although he no longer plays an active role by attending engagements.”

According to, Prince Philip “was born on the island of Corfu in Greece, on June 10, 1921.”

He was born into a family of Greek and Danish royals, but they were exiled, and he ended up living in France, Germany and Britain. His uncle was King Constantine I of Greece, who was forced to abdicate his throne.

He married Queen Elizabeth in 1952, and they have four children together: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

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