Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, May 27, 1999 Published at 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK


UK

Deaf insulted by duke's remark

The duke, pictured with the Queen, has a reputation for gaffes

The Duke of Edinburgh is at the centre of another row after a "light-hearted" remark upset a group of deaf youngsters.

Prince Philip, 77, whose own mother Princess Alice of Battenberg suffered congenital deafness, joked that the youngsters were deafened by standing too close to loud music playing at a celebration in Cardiff.

"Deaf? If you are near there (the music), no wonder why you are deaf," he told them.

Members of the British Deaf Association said they were "shocked" and "insulted" by the Duke's remarks.


[ image:  ]
The 15 teenagers were at a special Festival of the Future event at Cardiff Castle to mark the opening of the Welsh Assembly on Wednesday.

The event was also attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales who, like the Duke, toured the Castle grounds as loud music played around them.

Student Elizabeth Jenkins, 19, said: "I took it as an insult. It was such a shock - I never expected him to say that."

A BDA spokesman said: "That kind of remark is only a reflection of the much wider lack of understanding about deafness.


[ image: The Duke was criticised for remarks made after the Dunblane massacre]
The Duke was criticised for remarks made after the Dunblane massacre
"Many thousands of people in this country were born deaf and did not become deaf because they listened to lots of loud music."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "It was a light-hearted remark that unfortunately was taken the wrong way."

The row is not the first time Prince Philip's comments have landed him in hot water.

His reputation for gaffes started several years ago:

  • On a visit to China he was reported as telling a British student he would end up with "slitty eyes" if he lived too long in the country.

  • In 1996 he drew sharp criticism when he said a gun was no more dangerous than a cricket bat in the hands of a madman. The comment came in the wake of the massacre of 16 children and their teacher by a gun-toting psychopath in Dunblane, Scotland.

  • On a tour of India in 1997, the prince upped the tension during the already-controversial visit to the Amritsar massacre site by questioning the toll of 2,000, given on a plaque, of people who died at the hands of the British.

    "That's not right," said the Duke, a stickler for historical accuracy. "The number is less."

The Duke, who has seemed impervious to criticism in the past, showed signs of frustration earlier this month at attacks in the UK press.

He took exception to the "unfeeling" image given of him, saying he was simply a pragmatist, compared to his more "romantic" son, Prince Charles.

He told the Sunday Telegraph: "And because I don't see things as a romantic would, I'm unfeeling."





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

16 May 99 | UK
Prince Philip: I am misunderstood

20 Apr 99 | Sci/Tech
Royal warning on Internet porn

04 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Girls greet Duke on theatre tour

03 Dec 98 | Sci/Tech
Prince asks governments to protect oceans

10 Nov 98 | UK
Philip makes historic visit

06 Aug 98 | UK
Prince Philip attacks 'townies'





Internet Links


The British Monarchy

British Deaf Association


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online