Age has not withered, nor custom made stale, the inimitable ability of Prince Philip to commit verbal gaffes. At 86, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II remains matchless in his capacity to entertain and embarass. His latest error was to mistake award winning actress Cate Blanchett, who played the role of Queen Elizabeth I twice over - in both Shekhar Kapur's films - for a repairer of electronic equipment. Introduced to her recently, he asked if she would try her hand at repairing his DVD player. "There's a cord sticking out at the back," he said in all seriousness. "Might you tell me where it goes?" Blanchett's reply, if any, went unheard.
Even Indians have been his targets. Observing a shoddily installed fuse box in a high-tech factory while visiting Edinburgh, he famously remarked that it looked "like it was put in by an Indian". During a Royal visit to a Hindu temple in London, set up by the local Tamil community, he asked the priest if he was related to the Tamil Tigers!
Some more of Prince Philip's gems:
In 1996, soon after the gunning down of 16 children and their teacher at Dunblane, Scotland, he observed: "A gun is no more dangerous than a cricket bat in the hands of a madman".
Speaking to a driving instructor in Scotland, he asked: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"
Visiting China in 1986, he told a group of British students there, "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed." Later, for good measure, he added, "If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it."
To a British student, while visiting Papua New Guinea, he said, "You managed not to get eaten then?"
On a visit to the new National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff, he told a group of deaf children standing next to a Jamaican steel drum band, "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.
To a Briton in Budapest, Hungary, he said, "You can't have been here that long – you haven't got a pot belly."
While presenting a Duke of Edinburgh Award to a student last year, he learnt the young man was going to work as a volunteer in Romania for six months. Prince Philip asked if the student if he was going to help Romanian orphans. Upon hearing an affirmative, he responded, "Ah good, there's so many over there you feel they breed them just to put them in orphanages."
His book, If I Were an Animalhas a striking wish fulfillment fantasy: "In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation."