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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 12:38 GMT
Long line of princely gaffes
The Duke of Edinburgh
International diplomacy is not Prince Philip's strong suit
The Duke of Edinburgh gave another foot-in-mouth display when he asked a Tamil priest about any links to the militant fighters the Tamil Tigers, during a visit to a Hindu temple with the Queen on her Golden Jubilee tour.

Such gaffes have become the prince's trademark while going about his official duties.

British women can't cook.

The Duke of Edinburgh

During a state visit to China in 1986, he famously told a group of British students: "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed".

And speaking to a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, he asked: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?".

Other eyebrow-raising pronouncements have included:

  • Still throwing spears? (Question put to an Australian Aborigine during a visit in March 2002)

  • "British women can't cook." (1966)

  • "Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed." (during the 1981 recession)

  • "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." (commenting in 1995 on modern stress counselling for servicemen)

  • "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?" (in 1996, amid calls to ban firearms after the Dunblane shooting)

  • "Bloody silly fool!" (in 1997, referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who failed to recognise him)

  • "It looks as if it was put in by an Indian." (in 1999, referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh)

  • "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf." (in 1999, to young deaf people in Cardiff, referring to a school's steel band)

  • "They must be out of their minds." (in 1982, in the Solomon Islands, after being told that the annual population growth was only 5%)

  • "You are a woman, aren't you?" (in 1984, in Kenya, to a native woman who had presented him with a small gift)

    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

    The Duke of Edinburgh

  • "Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world." (in 1991, in Thailand, after accepting a conservation award)

  • "Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease." (in 1992 in Australia, when asked to stroke a Koala bear)

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

  • "Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" (in 1994, to an islander in the Cayman Islands)

  • "You managed not to get eaten, then?" (in 1998, to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea)

  • "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)
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