Join 3,435 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You managed not to get eaten then?
May 31, 2011 12:17 AM   Subscribe

"From Papua New Guinea to Stoke-on-Trent, Prince Philip has left his mark around the world. As his 90th birthday looms, Hannah Ewan recalls the soundbites that could only have come from one man"
posted by vidur (80 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh Philip, you racist drunk relic.
posted by The Whelk at 12:36 AM on May 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


"Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practiced for a good many years." Address to the General Dental Council, quoted in Time in 1960.

Gotta give the man some credit for honesty, though.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:40 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?" To a wheelchair-bound Susan Edwards, and her guide dog Natalie in 2002.

Comedy gold. The man is clearly a controversial standup comic stuck in a royal body.
posted by jklaiho at 12:54 AM on May 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


Ghastly!
posted by infini at 1:00 AM on May 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Well, you didn't design your beard too well, did you? You really must try better with your beard." To a young fashion designer at a Buckingham Palace in 2009.

A hipster putdown for the ages.
posted by jklaiho at 1:04 AM on May 31, 2011 [19 favorites]


Thanks vidur, sending this to my Dad who has his Phil the Greek moments himself.
posted by arcticseal at 1:05 AM on May 31, 2011


"They're not mating are they?" Spotting two robots bumping in to one another at the Science Museum in 2000.

"I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family." In 1967, asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union.

so, so good.
posted by hototogisu at 1:06 AM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Get me a beer. I don't care what kind it is, just get me a beer!"

I'm with Phil on this one.
posted by arcticseal at 1:10 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


A friend who lived in Cambridge and hence heard more than a few stories about the Prince explained that one theory that has currency amongst those who deal with the man semi-regularly is that he is moderately clever, incredibly bored (which may be underscored by his comment that he wished he'd never left the navy), and knows he's completely bloody untouchable, so he delights in winding people up to whatever extent he can.

Phil the Greek is, in short, a troll. He should be the patron saint of SomethingAwful or 4chan.
posted by rodgerd at 1:17 AM on May 31, 2011 [52 favorites]


He makes me laugh. He's like a Harry Enfield character who has sprung to life and escaped into the wild.
posted by pracowity at 1:20 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The same people who are appalled by Prince Phillip were outraged when Frankie Boyle was removed from Mock the Week.
posted by atrazine at 1:37 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do hope the Prince Phillip, Troll King meme takes off.
posted by Damienmce at 1:43 AM on May 31, 2011


Possibly supporting the idea that he's moderately clever, he seems to not be a bad painter either.
posted by chmmr at 1:48 AM on May 31, 2011


This man needs a TV show. I'm not sure if it should be a sitcom or some late-night interview show, but wow... My opinion of him has changed from "mean, ignorant git" to "rather clever put-on".
posted by frodisaur at 1:53 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not so different from our American royals— the wit of George W Bush combined with the warmth of Dick Cheney.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:02 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


A friend who lived in Cambridge and hence heard more than a few stories about the Prince explained that one theory that has currency amongst those who deal with the man semi-regularly is that he is moderately clever, incredibly bored (which may be underscored by his comment that he wished he'd never left the navy), and knows he's completely bloody untouchable, so he delights in winding people up to whatever extent he can.

I used to work at the Design Council, and one of my roles was to scribe the meeting of the panel for the Prince Philip Designer's Prize (at Buck Pal no less). Basically, I had to sit in the corner like a lady in waiting while Great Men decided Important Things. My impression of Phil was very much like the above description, but the funniest thing was watching world-renowned industrial designers and architects proffer an opinion and then suddenly back track once Phil had had the last word.
posted by Summer at 2:10 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also the unknowing provider, legend has it, of one of the most prized naval wardroom decorations. When Phil the Greek is on official business visiting ships, one hears, and caught short, it can happen that a jolly jack tar is positioned with a net at a strategic point in the plumbing. If the prince obliges and a royal turd is dispatched, it is snagged. Freeze dried, spray-painted gold and mounted on a plinth, it then becomes an object of considerable pride to the ship's company - although not always on display.
posted by Devonian at 2:11 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reading them all together, it's striking how much the Scots figure in his gaffes.
posted by arcticseal at 2:22 AM on May 31, 2011


Possibly supporting the idea that he's moderately clever, he seems to not be a bad painter either.

I guess we now know where Prince Charles didn't get his architectural talent from, then.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:26 AM on May 31, 2011


"So you're responsible for the kind of crap Channel Four produces!" Speaking to then chairman of the channel, Michael Bishop, in 1962
He's The Doctor!
posted by fullerine at 2:27 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


A runaway from Blandings Castle.
posted by Skeptic at 2:34 AM on May 31, 2011


I'm not sure why we all find his particular brand of colonial racism so amusing. He's like a football lout with a trust fund and a plummy accent. Utterly without redeeming qualities.
posted by londonmark at 3:01 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best advert for Republicanism ever.
He likes to put on his string vest and I talk just lake a fishwife, dun eye bone'ead?
posted by SyntacticSugar at 3:24 AM on May 31, 2011


Reading them all together, it's striking how much the Scots figure in his gaffes.

That's probably because he's the Chookie Embra.
posted by daveje at 3:32 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Well, that's more than you know about anything else then." Speaking, a touch condescendingly, to Michael Buerk, after being told by the BBC newsreader that he did know about the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Awards in 2004.

He strikes me as a bitter, old man. It might be because he spends a lot of time meeting people who have power while really having none of his own.

Also, this is a guy who transformed himself into Philip Mountbatten, denies any ties to Greece, despite being born in Greece to a father also born in Greece who served in the Greek army.

"People think there's a rigid class system here, but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans." In 2000.

He's just as British as those Americans who marry Dukes, having himself married into a British (or German if you like) royal family and acquired British citizenship.
posted by vacapinta at 3:33 AM on May 31, 2011


The same people who are appalled by Prince Phillip were outraged when Frankie Boyle was removed from Mock the Week.

That only makes any sense if you think that a TV comic on a panel show and the consort of the monarch (who, as were are unceasingly reminded, represents our country to the world blah blah blah) ought to be held to the same standard of behaviour.

Which is an...interesting view.
posted by reynir at 3:33 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think my favourite Prince Philip story is the one about his speech at Cambridge after giving an honorary degree to Sir Paul Judge, benefactor of the University's business school. According to legend the speech ran as follows:

There's Mr Judge! He bought his degree. I can see some other wealthy people in this room. If you play your cards right, you too could get degrees. As for the academics who have been honoured, they're Welsh, and they've only got their degrees because the vice-chancellor is Welsh.
posted by verstegan at 3:46 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found the following comment by one @paulypilot in the linked article quite interesting (it also happens to be the most popular, having got 43 "likes", and counting) :

The resentful, miserable Lefties will never have the basic intelligence to understand what Prince Philip does, which is actually a clever strategy. He commits regular mild "gaffes" in order to deflect attention from the Queen. It is no coincidence that the Queen is unblemished & has never committed even a mild gaffe ever.
It's the same strategy Dennis Thatcher used.
Very smart. Act (slightly) the fool, in order to take nit-picking attention away from the main person.

And all the fools out there fell for it! Philip & Lizzy have been laughing at all the Lefties & morons in the press for decades. They are a highly polished act, that we should be very proud of.

posted by baejoseph at 3:53 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


THE ARISTOCRATS!
posted by longbaugh at 4:06 AM on May 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure why we all find his particular brand of colonial racism so amusing. He's like a football lout with a trust fund and a plummy accent. Utterly without redeeming qualities.

As someone who is not a subject of his wife, I find it endlessly amusing that someone could be completely insulated from the way that people actually live (the "unless you fly something called 'economy class,' which sounds dreadful" line has been my personal favorite for years) and equally insulated from modern attitudes about other cultures. He's not overtly hateful, just an ignorant relic who's had people to wipe his ass his whole life and consequently doesn't know how to do it. He's funny in the "I can't believe that such a person exists anymore" sort of way.

There are really two ways to react to someone like that-- laugh or be appalled. You're just as correct to be in the latter camp, but I don't think anyone thinks of him as a positive example or furtherer of his ancient attitudes. That said, if he was being propped up with my country's public money, I would probably find him less endearing.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:14 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I found the following comment by one @paulypilot in the linked article quite interesting (it also happens to be the most popular, having got 43 "likes", and counting) :
The relentless spamming of right-wing talking-points on the comments sections of ostensibly left-wing newspapers has become so clichéd in the UK that I think it's like some sort of underground artistic movement now. Somewhere in Hoxton a young man is sniggering because he got his argument about Lewis Hamilton and reverse-racism published on CiF.
posted by fullerine at 4:18 AM on May 31, 2011


Devonian, please tell me that it's really true. I so want to believe.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:20 AM on May 31, 2011


I find it endlessly amusing that someone could be completely insulated from the way that people actually live (the "unless you fly something called 'economy class,' which sounds dreadful" line has been my personal favorite for years)

Actually, considering how dreadful economy class actually is, in my eyes that quote indicates a surprising insight into the lives of the middle classes, rather than insulation.

Not that I wouldn't pay good money to see Phil fly Ryanair, mind you.
posted by Skeptic at 4:30 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


but I don't think anyone thinks of him as a positive example or furtherer of his ancient attitudes

No, perhaps not, but there's a general tone of admiration in a lot of the laughter that leaves me cold, as if they're laughing with him, not at him.
posted by londonmark at 4:32 AM on May 31, 2011


I like the part where he says wives are basically for sex and that's it.
posted by vbfg at 4:47 AM on May 31, 2011


londonmark You put it as if it was impossible to both with him and at him, when most of those quotes show that, if he has one redeeming quality, it's that of self-deprecation.
posted by Skeptic at 4:49 AM on May 31, 2011


There are really two ways to react to someone like that-- laugh or be appalled.

Or both. Appalled in an "I can't believe he just said that!" manner before laughing with, at, and all around him and his terrible jokes, and laughing at and being slightly appalled with yourself for being amused. But there's no need for anyone to be po-faced about him.

He's 90. Compared to other 90-year-old men, or to the ones who aren't just sitting in a corner drooling down their shirts, he's really not that bad. The ones to worry about, if you think royalty are worth worrying about, are William and his new wife. They have plenty of room now to say and do good things and bad, and they don't have the excuse of having been born before, for example, women had equal voting rights.
posted by pracowity at 4:51 AM on May 31, 2011


@paulypilot must be married to the most powerful woman in all of space and time.
posted by PlusDistance at 4:56 AM on May 31, 2011


Looks like we've found a drinking buddy for Vice President Biden.
posted by Scoo at 4:59 AM on May 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


most of those quotes show that, if he has one redeeming quality, it's that of self-deprecation

That's a wildly generous interpretation; "most" of the quotes show no such thing. By all means enjoy him, but don't kid yourself that he is anything grander than an over-indulged after-dinner speaker.
posted by londonmark at 5:05 AM on May 31, 2011


He's funny in the "I can't believe that such a person exists anymore" sort of way.


See this is why, If Captain America exists today, he should be all kinds of racist. Not mean or vicious, just From The 40s.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


@meatbomb I haven't seen the actual evidence, but I do have it on very good authority and it's certainly in keeping with the Royal Navy traditions I know.

I choose to believe.
posted by Devonian at 5:14 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's funny like my grandpa is funny, which is to say, I enjoy him very much but it will not be an entirely bad thing when the "born in another time pass" for this type of humor becomes extinct.

Of course now I'm imagining my grandpa and Prince Phillip tromping around heaven telling incredibly inappropriate jokes and cracking wise at angels.

Phillip probably could have ended up with a pretty normal life, but he was a poor cousin without a country and his mentor was a very strong personality.
posted by padraigin at 5:16 AM on May 31, 2011


"People think there's a rigid class system here, but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans." In 2000.

He's just as British as those Americans who marry Dukes, having himself married into a British (or German if you like) royal family and acquired British citizenship.


Not to mention he wouldn't be living in Buckingham Palace if someone else hadn't married an American.
posted by TedW at 5:24 AM on May 31, 2011


The same people who are appalled by Prince Phillip were outraged when Frankie Boyle was removed from Mock the Week.
posted by atrazine at 9:37 AM on May 31


Nope.

I'm pretty staggered to see how many folk here think this privileged, racist old toerag's instinctive racism and ignorance is aww, sorta cute, really. And anyone who can't see the yawning gap between that and Boyle's shtick is comedy-deaf.
posted by Decani at 5:27 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"If it has four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.

To be fair, many Chinese people I've met (even some from Guangzhou) think this is really funny and repeat it often, although I'm not sure they know the source.
posted by xthlc at 5:52 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's too bad Prince Harry is busy being similar to his grandfather, because if he were clever enough, this could completely be a Twitter feed called Shit My Colonialist Racist Sexist Grandfather Says.
posted by Kitteh at 6:52 AM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not to mention he wouldn't be living in Buckingham Palace if someone else hadn't married an American.

I think that's the joke, guys.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:58 AM on May 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Y'know, some of these quotes make me laugh, but some make me want to move to England and foment revolution. Example: "You bloody silly fool!" To an elderly car park attendant who made the mistake of not recognising him at Cambridge University in 1997.

And, for crying out loud, old people aren't stuck in time. The older folk I know aren't awful racists, they've learned from changing times and overcome their prejudices, if they had them in the first place.
posted by Kattullus at 7:01 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's upper class and acts, speaks and thinks like the pampered, over-privileged cock he is.

Yet I have more respect for him than the legions of his peers whose façade of understanding and respect is merely a precursor for whatever exploitation they are planning next. Of course he has no idea what it is like to fly economy, but then neither does Cameron or Clegg and those grinning pricks considers themselves men of the people.
posted by fullerine at 7:03 AM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


(that's not to say it's a lot of respect)
posted by fullerine at 7:05 AM on May 31, 2011


Yet I have more respect for him than the legions of his peers whose façade of understanding and respect is merely a precursor for whatever exploitation they are planning next.

Can't we agree to despise them all equally?
posted by londonmark at 7:08 AM on May 31, 2011


$#*! My Monarch Says
posted by benito.strauss at 7:11 AM on May 31, 2011


(on refresh, what Kitteh said)
posted by benito.strauss at 7:14 AM on May 31, 2011


Prince Phillip: More Embarrassing Than YOUR Dad. If anything, this gave me a measure of compassion I may not have had for Prince Charles, especially after reading items 45 and 52.
posted by availablelight at 7:15 AM on May 31, 2011


$#*! My Monarch Says

He isn't a monarch, though he is a god.
posted by vbfg at 7:32 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's too bad Prince Harry is busy being similar to his grandfather, because if he were clever enough, this could completely be a Twitter feed called Shit My Colonialist Racist Sexist Grandfather Says.

Leave Harry's grandfather out of this! The discussion is about Philip and nobody else.
posted by Jehan at 7:49 AM on May 31, 2011 [12 favorites]


Oh good, the conspiracy theorists have arrived :)
posted by londonmark at 7:51 AM on May 31, 2011


Oh good, the conspiracy theorists have arrived :)

Oh come on, now that all the other crank theories have been proven false, this is all I've got left. If you can't get a little enjoyment from calling a prince a bastard then the world's a sadder place.
posted by Jehan at 8:33 AM on May 31, 2011


Looks like we've found a drinking buddy for Vice President Biden.

I would be willing to bring a couple of sixers of good beer (or a Schaeffer Weekender pack) to this event if I can stay and listen.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:12 AM on May 31, 2011


He's really got it out for Tom Jones
posted by motorcycles are jets at 9:15 AM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh good, the conspiracy theorists have arrived :)

Oh come on, now that all the other crank theories have been proven false, this is all I've got left. If you can't get a little enjoyment from calling a prince a bastard then the world's a sadder place.


Harry's the one who looks just like James Hewitt, amirite?
posted by availablelight at 9:38 AM on May 31, 2011


We are amused.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:00 AM on May 31, 2011


Well, he's funnier than Jerry Lewis.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:02 AM on May 31, 2011


Prince Phillip: the best argument against continuing the British monarchy.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:08 AM on May 31, 2011


No snark, I'm really curious: Has Hitchens ever written about this guy? I'd love to read it.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 11:11 AM on May 31, 2011


re, Harry and Hewitt: I'm no fan of the royals, but seriously – I think Harry looks so much like Philip.

Look at this shot of both of them, with the middle one a composite of each at 50% transparency. I didn't manipulate this in any way at all, except to size them and layer them. The pic of Philip is from his engagement photo. The eyes are almost identical (the size and spacing is just exactly the same). Look at the forehead and hairlines at the temples. Look at the cheekbones. Look at the lips.

Philip has a longer chin, and lower-placed ears. Harry nose is a bit wider (though the bridge and length is the same). But whoah. That's quite a resemblance, I think.
posted by taz at 11:37 AM on May 31, 2011


That's quite a resemblance, I think.

I've heard said I resemble my grandmother as well...
posted by infini at 11:56 AM on May 31, 2011


re, Harry and Hewitt: I'm no fan of the royals, but seriously – I think Harry looks so much like Philip.

Look at this shot of both of them, with the middle one a composite of each at 50% transparency. I didn't manipulate this in any way at all, except to size them and layer them. The pic of Philip is from his engagement photo. The eyes are almost identical (the size and spacing is just exactly the same). Look at the forehead and hairlines at the temples. Look at the cheekbones. Look at the lips.

Philip has a longer chin, and lower-placed ears. Harry nose is a bit wider (though the bridge and length is the same). But whoah. That's quite a resemblance, I think.
posted by taz at 11:37 AM on May 31 [+] [!]


Oh my word! Philip is the father of James Hewitt!
posted by Jehan at 11:57 AM on May 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


You heard it here first; Mefi breaks another big case!
posted by taz at 12:24 PM on May 31, 2011


Here's another way of doing it: half Harry (left)/half Philip, no transparency, both images b&w.
posted by taz at 12:39 PM on May 31, 2011


oops... wrong. Harry still had transparency on that one. FIXED.
posted by taz at 1:07 PM on May 31, 2011


Sorry, just not seeing it.
posted by brokkr at 1:14 PM on May 31, 2011


It's like an Archie Bunker-themed reality show.
posted by double bubble at 2:48 PM on May 31, 2011


Not to defend old Phil, but some of these stories are hearsay at best, like the one about him and the deaf children:

For example, in May 1999 British newspapers accused Philip of insulting deaf children at a pop concert in Wales by saying, "No wonder you are deaf listening to this row." Later Philip wrote, "the story is largely invention. It so happens that my mother was quite seriously deaf and I have been Patron of the Royal National Institute for the Deaf for ages, so it's hardly likely that I would do any such thing."
posted by dhens at 3:03 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Tolerance is the one essential ingredient ... You can take it from me that the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance."

Can we not all emulate the most gracious Queen?
posted by BlueHorse at 3:21 PM on May 31, 2011


hey, BlueHorse, I think they are paging you in this thread
posted by taz at 3:44 PM on May 31, 2011


I guess we now know where Prince Charles didn't get his architectural talent from, then.

"I want a fireman's pole here, here and here! One can never find a pole when one needs one!"
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:17 PM on May 31, 2011


Devonian, please tell me that it's really true. I so want to believe.
Hmm . . . .
posted by unliteral at 8:14 PM on May 31, 2011


"During the Blitz a lot of shops had their windows blown in and sometimes they put up notices saying, 'More open than usual.' ...

If that's true, then I now more than ever love the bloody Brits and their disaster-inspired urban signage sensibilities.
posted by unregistered_animagus at 4:15 PM on June 1, 2011


« Older Typography is about reading – and so are ebooks...  |  Faiz for Dummies. Worth a read... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments