The Duke of Edinburgh is no stranger to making controversial statements.
The husband of Queen Elizabeth of England has caused multiple controversies over the years with his ill-timed and thoughtless statements.
Insensitive, rude and racist or just a bumbling buffoon? It is sometimes hard to know exactly what goes through the Duke’s mind before he speaks – most would probably say not too much.
Although there are many more, I’ve picked out:
9 of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Worst Gaffes
Scotland has a reputation as country which likes to have a beer or two; however the Duke of Edinburgh seems to think that is all the do all day long. While speaking to a Scottish driving instructor in Oban, the Duke famously asked, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” A little insulting but compared to some of his other gaffes this is quite mild by comparison.
The Duke must have been brushing sarcasm before his visit to Paraguay. When he met General Stroessner, who was at the time dictator of Paraguay, he popped this classic out, “It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.”
It would appear that building relationships with indigenous people is not the Duke’s strong point. During a royal visit to Australia in 2002, he asked, “Do you still throw spears at each other?” Most certainly in the insensitive bracket for this one.
The Duke of Edinburgh is no stranger to racial gaffes and there was certainly a hint of racism in this 1999 blooper while speaking with black peer, Lord Taylor, the Duke asked, “And which exotic part of the world do you come from?” To imply that all black people are from exotic places shows the man has been holed up in his palace for too long. Thankfully, Lord Taylor had the perfect reply, “I’m from Birmingham.”
Without knowing the Duke personally, this gaffe tells us he obviously has a distaste for things which include the word ‘economy’. At an event with the Aircraft Research Association, he blurted out, “If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort, provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.” Certainly Easy Jet won’t be getting his business anytime soon.
Another racial remark popped out while in China on a official royal visit when the Duke upon talking to a group of British exchange students living in Xian said, “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” Not sure what the Queen had to say about that one when she got him back indoors.
It is quite obvious the Duke speaks from the heart, often by-passing the head. Upon being asked he if would like to visit the Soviet Union, he instantly replied, “I’d like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.” Now, you are not going to get a straighter answer than that!
Poorly-advised or he just doesn’t care? In 1998, when speaking to a woman who had lost two sons in a fire, the Duke had this to say on smoke alarms, “They’re a bloody nuisance – I’ve got one in my bathroom and every time I run my bath the steam sets it off.”
Shoot from the hip, while giving a short acceptance speech after receiving a conservation award in Thailand in 1991, the Duke had these direct words to say, “Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species.” Pick the bones out of that one!