Britain's Prince Philip the husband of Queen Elizabeth, at the Commonwealth Day Observance service at Westminster Abbey in central London, on March 11, 2013. (Reuters / File Photo)
Britain's Prince Philip the husband of Queen Elizabeth, at the Commonwealth Day Observance service at Westminster Abbey in central London, on March 11, 2013. (Reuters / File Photo)

'British women can't cook': Prince Philip's 'off-the-cuff' remarks

The death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is a profound loss for the 94-year-old monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who once described him as her "strength and stay all these years". The outspoken former navy commander devoted much of his life as the queen's consort to charity work.
AFP |
PUBLISHED ON APR 09, 2021 06:15 PM IST

Britain's Prince Philip, a constant presence at Queen Elizabeth II's side for decades, died Friday at age 99, Buckingham Palace announced. The prince had earned a reputation for his "off-the-cuff" remarks during his long career as Queen Elizabeth II's consort, that were politely described as 'gaffes' but often bordered on offensive. Here are some of his most notable phrasemaking moments.

1."You're about to see the world's most experienced plaque-unveiler." -- while opening a new stand at Lord's cricket ground in London in May 2017.

2. "(Children) go to school because their parents don't want them in the house." -- to Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban after campaigning for girls' right to go to school, in October 2013, reducing her to giggles.

3. "Bits are beginning to drop off." - on approaching his 90th birthday in 2011.

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

5. "Do you know they're now producing eating dogs for anorexics?" -- to a blind woman, in 2002.

6. "Still throwing spears?" -- an Australian Aborigine is quizzed during a 2002 visit.

7. "Well, you'll never fly in it, you're too fat." -- a 13-year-old boy has his dreams of being an astronaut shattered in 2001.

8 . "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf." -- to a group of deaf people standing near a steel band in 1999.

9 . "You managed not to get eaten, then?" -- in 1998, to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea.

10. "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?" -- campaigners wanting handguns banned are outraged in 1996, after 16 primary school children and their teacher are shot dead in Dunblane, Scotland.

11. "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?" -- a driving instructor in Scotland is put on the spot in 1995.

12. "Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" -- a Cayman islander is quizzed on his heritage in 1994.

13. "It was part of the fortunes of war. 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." -- the former naval officer dismisses stress counselling for service personnel during a television documentary for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, in 1994.

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

15. "Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease." -- a request to stroke a Koala bear in Australia is declined, 1992.

16. "Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world." -- after accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991.

17. "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed." -- a group of British students is warned on a state visit to China, 1986.

18 . "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." -- on Chinese cuisine at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting.

19 . "You are a woman, aren't you?" -- when a native woman in Kenya presents him with a small gift in 1984.

20 . "Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed." -- wide off the mark in 1981 at the height of the British recession.

21 . "British women can't cook." -- the Greek-born prince misses feta and olives in 1966.

22 . "I declare this thing open, whatever it is." -- on a visit to Canada in 1969.


The death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is a profound loss for the 94-year-old monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who once described him as her "strength and stay all these years". The outspoken former navy commander devoted much of his life as the queen's consort to charity work. He was admitted to hospital on February 16, 2021, and went home after a month during which he was treated for a pre-existing heart condition and an infection. His death came just months before his 100th birthday in June -- an event typically marked in Britain with a congratulatory message from the Queen, who is now Britain's longest-serving monarch.

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