The Duke of Political Incorrectness: Prince Philip and the Queen in Pictures


In the decades that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, acted as the Queen’s consort, he had always found ways to distinguish himself during royal visits.

Prince Philip was famed for his plain-speaking, as well as his witty and sometimes controversial remarks. He always sought to make those he spoke to, dignitaries and members of the public alike, to feel comfortable, sometimes making off-the-cuff or risque comments to show those he met they could stand easy.

20th November 1947: Princess Elizabeth and The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh waving to a crowd from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London shortly after their wedding at Westminster Abbey. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

When discussing tartan with the then-leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Annabel Goldies, at a papal reception in 2010, the Prince asked: “That’s a nice tie… Do you have any knickers in that material?”

Speaking to wealthy locals in the Cayman Islands in 1994, he asked them: “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”

Britain’s tabloid press often leapt upon these remarks, characterising them as “gaffes”, but the Duke’s enduring success as a senior working Royal was a testament to a success of the contextual humour enjoyed by those present — but perhaps not always understood by literally minded observers from afar.

August 1951: Princess Elizabeth with her husband Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

During his more than six decades in service of the country, Prince Philip had become an expert at opening ceremonies, and sought ways to make the otherwise dry occasions interesting, such as during a visit to Canada in 1969, when he stated: “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.”

While at Hertfordshire University in 2003, opening a new campus which architecturally saw whole building sides open as giant windows the Duke of Edinburgh said: “During the Blitz, a lot of shops had their windows blown in and put up notices saying, ‘More open than usual’. I now declare this place more open than usual.”

Queen Elizabeth II awarding Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Charles, Prince of Wales with trophies after a polo match, 30th April 1967. (Photo by Michael Stroud/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Duke was also famously down-to-earth, and was known to don a cap and drive his black cab in disguise through London.

But it seemed at times that his life was not as rustic as he may have liked, bemoaning in 1987: “I never see any home cooking – all I get is fancy stuff.”

The royal family at Buckingham Palace, London, 1972. Left to right: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward and Prince Charles. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Elizabeth II

“Bugger the table plan, give me my dinner!” he had said at a party in 2004.

And after a long day in 2000 after meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, he rejected a glass of wine, saying: “I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in a field with some highland cattle at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

He was also frank in matters of taste, saying of plans of his son Prince Andrew’s, the Duke of York’s, house in 1988: “It looks like a tart’s bedroom.”

Though also never afraid to make fun of himself, saying on turning 90 in 2011: “Bits are beginning to drop off.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during their visit to New Zealand, 1977. (Photo by Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)

Prince Philip was a loving family man, and parallels have been drawn between the Duke and his only daughter Princess Anne for their dry wit and commitment to service. The Prince had said of his no-nonsense daughter’s love of horses in 1970: “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.”

And of the 1974 IRA kidnap attempt made against his strong-willed daughter: “If the man had succeeded in abducting Anne, she would have given him a hell of a time while in captivity.”

BRAEMAR, UNITED KINGDOM – SEPTEMBER 01: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, attend the Braemar Gathering at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park on September 1, 2007 in Braemar, Scotland. The monarch is Chieftain of the Braemar Gathering which attracts large crowds each year. There have been gatherings of one sort or another at Braemar for the last nine hundred years. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Prince Philip was a devoted husband who deeply appreciated his wife, saying on marriage in 1997: “You can take it from me the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”

No matter how outrageous the remarks, the Duke of Edinburgh always managed to get away with it. Prince Philip said in 1956 of his mannerisms: “It’s my custom to say something flattering to begin with so I shall be excused if I put my foot in it later on.”

ASCOT, ENGLAND – JUNE 16: Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive in an open carriage on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot on June 16, 2011 in Ascot, England. The five-day meeting is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar, with 2011 marking the 300th anniversary of the annual event. Horse racing has been held at the famous Berkshire course since 1711. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 10th June 1921 – 9th April 2021.

Read more tributes to Prince Philip here.

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