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Prince Philip's Best Quotes

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

The Duke of Edinburgh was famously forthright, funny and always known for speaking his mind.

A sign commemorating the Duke of Edinburgh

Here, we celebrate some of the Duke's best jokes - and greatest gaffes - from over the years.

"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).

"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).

"If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed." (perhaps his most infamous comment - to British students in China, during a 1986 state visit).

The Duke and Duchess of York’s house – Sunninghill Park – had provided the nation with some mirth. Ditto the Duke. "It looks like a tart's bedroom" he said on seeing plans for the house in 1988.

"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).

In 2009, at a garden party at Buckingham Palace, he spotted Stephen Judge, who was sporting a small sculpted beard. “What do you do?” asked Philip. “I’m a designer, sir,” Mr Judge replied. “Well, you’re obviously not a hirsute designer,” the Duke added. Seeing that the man was crushed, Philip tried to revive the conversation by saying: “Well, you didn’t design your beard too well, did you? If you are going to grow a beard, grow a beard. You really must try harder.”

"Just take the f***ing picture." (losing patience with an RAF photographer at events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain - July 2015).

"When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife." (on marriage).

Staying on the marriage theme, he was stopped for speeding through central London on 19 November, 1947. “I’m sorry officer,” he said, “but I’ve got an appointment with the Archbishop of Canterbury.” He married Princess Elizabeth the next day and was on the way to a final rehearsal of the royal wedding.

At a a banquet in Brazil, the president of the national bowling club had made a short speech in Portuguese that the prince did not understand. The speaker made an effort to summon up his entire English vocabulary when presenting a bowling ball emblem to the prince who graciously replied: “And balls to you, sir.”



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