Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Duke of Hazard

For half a century, the blunt spoken Duke of Edinburgh has turned political incorrectness into an art form, peppering royal tours with ethnic slurs about slitty eyes, pot bellies and booze.

Now, to celebrate the prince's 85th birthday, two reporters have compiled "Duke of Hazard: The Wit and Wisdom of Prince Philip". Phil Dampier and Ashley Walton had no shortage of material.

"He really is my favourite royal," Dampier told Reuters in an interview to mark the book's publication on Wednesday by Book Guild Publishing.

"He is one of a kind and certainly speaks his mind. I like the fact he doesn't care what people think of him. That is refreshing in this day and age. We had fun compiling it."

Buckingham Palace was not amused.

Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, the prince's private secretary, said: "If he had been as acerbic as presented in the book, he wouldn't have kept the staff that he has ... These extracts are not indicative of the man as a whole."

But Dampier said it was an affectionate portrayal, arguing: "He has a down-to-earth view of life and a magnificent sense of humour."

Asked to pick his favourite faux pas, Dampier chose Kenya's independence ceremony in 1963 when Philip represented Britain.

As the Union Jack was about to be hauled down, he turned to Kenyan independence leader Jomo Kenyatta and asked: "Are you sure you want to go through with this?"

Dampier singled out another favourite.

"In 1967 he was asked if he would like to go to Moscow to help thaw out the Cold War. He replied 'I would very much like to go to Russia -- although the bastards murdered half my family.'"

The last surviving members of the Russian royal family were allegedly executed by a Bolshevik firing squad in 1918. Philip is a direct descendant of Tsarina Alexandra who died alongside her husband Tsar Nicholas II and their children.

But no corner of the world is safe from Prince Philip.

On a trip to China in the 1980s, he warned British students: "You'll get slitty eyes if you stay too long." And while touring Australia in 2002, he asked an Aborigine whether they still threw spears at each other.

In Oban, Scotland, in 1995 he asked a driving instructor: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the (driving) test?"

In 1993, Philip told a Briton he met in Hungary: "You can't have been here that long -- you haven't got a pot belly."

And age certainly has not softened his tongue.

In a weekend interview with the Daily Telegraph, he complained that the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympics were "absolute bloody nuisances."


yellowdog granny said...

ahhh jeez i was laughing out loud..still laughing..oh Goddess, you have to love him...especially telling that to jomo kenyatta..he was mau mau...coulda taken a panga to him...oh lordy he is soo favorite royal...

dom said...

He's my top Royal too !
Shame he's Greek , and the rest of them are from German descent ... ho-hum