By Daily Mail Reporter
His incredible energy, remarkable good health and strong sense of public duty have seen Prince Philip through countless official engagements over the course of his 64-year marriage to our Queen.
Yet it is the unashamedly politically incorrect comments he makes that have attracted the most attention over the years.
As the Prince celebrates his 90th birthday tomorrow, we pay tribute to what Philip himself described as ‘Dontopedalogy . . . the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practised for a good many years . . .’
Prince of gaffes: The Duke of Edinburgh has become infamous for his politically incorrect comments while on official duties
ON STATE VISITS
‘You look like you’re ready for bed!’ To the President of Nigeria, who was wearing traditional robes.
‘Do you still throw spears at each other?’ To Aboriginal leader William Brin during a visit to the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Queensland, 2002.
‘We don’t come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.’ On a trip to Canada in 1976.
‘You managed not to get eaten then?’ To a British student who was trekking in Papua New Guinea, during an official visit in 1998.
‘Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?’ To residents of the Cayman Islands in 1994.
‘I would like to go to Russia very much — although the bastards murdered half my family.’ In 1967, when asked if he would like to visit the Soviet Union.
‘Damn fool question!’ To a BBC journalist at a banquet at the Elysée Palace in Paris after she asked the Queen if she was enjoying her stay.
‘It’s a vast waste of space.’ To guests at the opening reception of a new £18 million British Embassy in Berlin in 2000.
‘You can’t have been here that long — you haven’t got a pot belly.’ To a British tourist he met during a tour of Hungarian capital Budapest in 1993.
One of a kind: The prince described himself as suffering from 'Dontopedalogy . . . the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practised for a good many years . . .'
‘How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?’ To a Scottish driving instructor in 1995.
‘It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.’ The Prince’s verdict on a fuse box given during a tour of a Scottish factory in August 1999. He later apologised: ‘I meant to say cowboys. I just got my cowboys and Indians mixed up.’
‘People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still drying out Windsor Castle.’ To survivors of the Lockerbie bombing in 1993.
‘Ghastly.’ Prince Philip’s opinion of Beijing, during a tour of China in 1986.
‘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.’ To a meeting of the World Wildlife Fund in 1986.
‘If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes.’ To a British student on a visit to China in 1986.
ON MULTI-CULTURAL BRITAIN
‘There’s a lot of your family in tonight.’ After noticing business leader Atul Patel’s name badge during a Buckingham Palace reception for 400 influential British Indians in 2009.
‘So who’s on drugs here? He looks as if he’s on drugs.’ To a 14-year-old member of a Bangladeshi youth club in 2002.
‘Are you all one family?’ Said to mixed-race dance troupe Diversity at the 2009 Royal Variety Performance.
Energetic, remarkable good health and a strong sense of public duty: The Duke has attended countless official engagements over the course of his 64-year marriage to our Queen
‘British women can’t cook.’ Endearing himself to the Scottish Women’s Institute in 1961.
‘Ah, so this is feminist corner then.’ To a group of female Labour MPs at a Buckingham Palace drinks party in 2000.
‘You are a woman, aren’t you?’ To a Kenyan woman in 1984, after accepting a state gift.
‘If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.’ On his daughter, Princess Anne.
‘When a man opens the car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.’
‘What do you gargle with — pebbles?’ To Tom Jones, after the Royal Variety Performance, 1969. He later added: ‘It is very difficult at all to see how it is possible to become immensely valuable by singing what I think are the most hideous songs.’
‘Oh, it’s you that owns that ghastly car, is it? We often see it when driving to Windsor Castle.’ To near-neighbour Elton John after hearing that he had sold his Watford FC-themed Aston Martin in 2001.
‘I wish he’d turn the microphone off!’ During Elton John’s performance at the 73rd Royal Variety Show in 2001.
ON FOOD & DRINK
‘Get me a beer. I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!’ On being offered fine Italian wines by Prime Minister Giuliano Amato at a dinner in Rome in 2000.
‘Don’t feed your rabbits pawpaw fruit — it acts as a contraceptive. Then again, it might not work on rabbits.’ To a Caribbean rabbit breeder in Anguilla in 1994.
ON CLASS & MONEY
‘People think there’s a rigid class system here, but dukes have been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans.’ In 2000.
‘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.’ To the Aircraft Research Association in 2002.
‘All money nowadays seems to be produced with a natural homing instinct for the Treasury.’ Lamenting the rate of British tax in 1963.
‘We go into the red next year. I shall probably have to give up polo.’ On the Royal Family’s finances in 1969.
‘Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.’ Said at the height of the recession in 1981.
ON ART & FASHION
‘You didn’t design your beard too well, did you? You really must try better with your beard.’ To a young fashion designer at Buckingham Palace in 2009.
‘It looks like the kind of thing my daughter would bring back from her school art lessons.’ On seeing an exhibition of ‘primitive’ Ethiopian art in 1965.
ON THE PRESS
‘You have mosquitos. I have the Press.’ To the matron of a hospital in the Caribbean.