Philip was the prince of political incorrectness – but he never intended to upset anyone

AS a royal reporter for 35 years, Philip was my favourite member of the House of Windsor.

To some he was a racist, a dinosaur, a prince of political incorrectness.

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I saw an ex-naval officer from a different generation whose humour was rooted in a century when “victims” of jokes were less sensitive.

One classic “gaffe” came on the Golden Jubilee Tour of 2002 when he visited the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns, Australia.

He chatted to local leader William Brin, who told me: “He just asked me if we still throw spears at each other.”

Philip then watched a fire dance ceremony in which one aborigine rubbed sticks close to another’s head.

The Duke quipped: “You’ve set fire to him. This is just like being back in the Scouts.”


The story made headlines around the world.

He told reporters the next day: “The trouble with you lot is you’ve no sense of humour.”

In Berlin in 2004, he met British exchange students and asked 16-year-old Stuart Marks where he came from.

The lad replied: “Ballyclare in Northern Ireland, sir.”

Philip then asked 18-year-old Jack Logue the same thing.

He too answered: “Ballyclare in Northern Ireland, sir.”

Philip joked: “At last! We’ve got two Irishmen in the same room who agree on something.”

On a tour of the Caribbean in 1994, he asked Cayman Islands museum curator William Tennent: “Aren’t you all descended from pirates?”

In Anguilla, he was told of a project to protect doves from man.

He said: “Cats kill far more birds than men.

“Why don’t you have a slogan ‘Kill a cat and save a bird?’.”

And pointing to a beekeeper in protective gear, he said: “They tell you it’s safe but look at him.”

Philip never intended to upset anyone. But, no doubt, he sometimes did.


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