When most people think of the British royal family, they’re perceived as the height of finesse, social decorum and protocol. Above all, most people wouldn’t think that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, might be continuously linked to boorish, insensitive, vaguely racist remarks. These have been almost always stray comments made to commoners during his frequent tours of the colonies and commonwealths.
One of his most notorious remarks was made during a small town visit in Scotland. In a brief conversation with a driving instructor, he asked, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the (road) test?”
When touring a Scottish factory, he came upon an old-fashioned fuse box and commented, “It looks like it was put in by an Indian.”
Also in Scotland, after the tragic 1993 crash of a Pan Am jumbo jet that also killed eleven townspeople in Lockerbie, the Prince said to a person who lived near the crash, “People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle.”
The Prince’s most publicized example of foot-in-mouth disease came during a visit to China. Upon meeting a group of British students, he said, “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
Even though this last remark was made in 1986, the reputation of any high profile American politician or public figure would never survive anything even remotely similar. Witness the storm of controversy around Senator George Allen’s “macaca” slur, which became a true career bomb.
Another one of the Prince’s most famous Asian slurs: “If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an airplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”
In a 2002 visit to Australia, Prince Philip asked an Aborigine, “Still throwing spears?”
In the Islands
He once told a group of deaf children standing near a Jamaican steel drum musician, “Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.”
To the Prince’s credit, he later apologized to his deaf subjects for this remark.
On a visit to the Cayman Islands, he asked an islander, “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”
Despite repeated examples of this behavior throughout the years, the Brits take the Prince’s careless and witless remarks, with a shrug of the shoulder and a touch of whimsy.
“Duke of Edinburgh forced to apologize”, Jack O’Sullivan, Independent, URL:(http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990811/ai_n14250125)