Watch Prince Philip make his final solo royal engagement

Publish Date
Thursday, 3 August 2017, 3:15PM
Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

Prince Phillip, the 96-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, made his final solo appearance at an official event on Wednesday, ending a royal career marked by occasional gaffes that landed him in hot water.

The prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, attended a parade of Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace and met servicemen that had taken part in a 1,664 mile race to raise money for the Royal Marine's Charity.

Though known for often off-colour comments that seized the headlines, Philip has been by the queen's side throughout her 65 years on the throne and she has described him as 'my strength and stay'.

He announced his retirement in May this year, after completing more than 22,000 solo appearances, spanning seven decades. At an engagement on the day of the announcement, a guest had told Philip he was sorry to hear he was standing down.

At times witty, at other times, insensitive, Prince Philip has become known for being the most gaffe-prone member of the Royal Family, not shy of expressing his uncensored and often politically incorrect opinions on a variety of subjects. 

'British women can't cook' (in Britain in 1966).

'What do you gargle with, pebbles?' (speaking to singer Tom Jones after the 1969 Royal Variety Performance).

'I declare this thing open, whatever it is.' (on a visit to Canada in 1969).

'Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed' (during the 1981 recession).

'If it has got 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.' (at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting).

'It looks like a tart's bedroom.' (on seeing plans for the Duke and Duchess of York's house at Sunninghill Park in 1988)

'Yak, yak, yak; come on get a move on.' (shouted from the deck of Britannia in Belize in 1994 to the Queen who was chatting to her hosts on the quayside). 

'We didn't have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking 'Are you all right? Are you sure you don't have a ghastly problem?' You just got on with it.' (about the Second World War commenting on modern stress counselling for servicemen in 1995).

'How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?' (to a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, during a 1995 walkabout).

'If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?' (in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting). 

'Bloody silly fool!' (in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who did not recognise him).

'It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.' (pointing at an old-fashioned fusebox in a factory near Edinburgh in 1999).

'Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.' (to young deaf people in Cardiff, in 1999, referring to a school's steel band).

'They must be out of their minds.' (in the Solomon Islands, in 1982, when he was told that the annual population growth was 5%).

'You are a woman, aren't you?' (In Kenya, in 1984, after accepting a small gift from a local woman).

'If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed.' (to British students in China, during the 1986 state visit).

'Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world.' (in Thailand, in 1991, after accepting a conservation award).

'Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease.' (in Australia, in 1992, when asked to stroke a Koala bear).

'You can't have been here that long - you haven't got a pot belly.' (to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary, in 1993).

'Aren't most of you descended from pirates?' (to a wealthy islander in the Cayman Islands in 1994).

'You managed not to get eaten, then?' (suggesting to a student in 1998 who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea that tribes there were still cannibals).

In Germany, in 1997, he welcomed German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at a trade fair as 'Reichskanzler' - the last German leader who used the title was Adolf Hitler. 

'You're too fat to be an astronaut.' (to 13-year-old Andrew Adams who told Philip he wanted to go into space. Salford, 2001).

'I wish he'd turn the microphone off.' (muttered at the Royal Variety Performance as he watched Sir Elton John perform, 2001).

'Do you still throw spears at each other?' (In Australia in 2002 talking to a successful aborigine entrepreneur).

'You look like a suicide bomber.' (to a young female officer wearing a bullet-proof vest on Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in 2002).

'Do you know they're now producing eating dogs for anorexics?' (to a blind woman outside Exeter Cathedral, 2002). 

'Well, you didn't design your beard too well, did you?' (to designer Stephen Judge about his tiny goatee beard in July 2009).

'There's a lot of your family in tonight.' (after looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a Palace reception for British Indians in October 2009).

'Do you work it a strip club?' (to 24-year-old Barnstaple Sea Cadet Elizabeth Rendle when she told him she also worked in a nightclub in March 2010).

'Do you have a pair of knickers made out of this?' pointing to some tartan (to Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie a papal reception in Edinburgh in September 2010).

'Bits are beginning to drop off.' (on approaching his 90th birthday, 2011).

'How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?' (meeting disabled David Miller who drives a mobility scooter at the Valentine Mansion in Redbridge in March 2012). 

'I would get arrested if I unzipped that dress.' (to 25-year-old council worker Hannah Jackson, who was wearing a dress with a zip running the length of its front, on a Jubilee visit to Bromley, Kent, in May 2012)

Source: Daily Mail