A lifetime of privilege, gaffes and political incorrectness.
Tributes have been paid, from all over the world to the late Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip Mountbatten, who passed away yesterday, aged 99. For those of us, who have been accustomed to his presence, all these years, we now speak of him in the past tense.
As is the case with international relations, where skillful diplomacy is the order of the day, these tributes, more often than not, tend to be dominated by anodyne statements and useless platitudes. As a point of reference, check out Barack Obama’s trending statement on this platform.
The Duke of Edinburgh, himself, was such a gift to the press pack, not because he was irascible from years of walking behind his wife, or at times cantankerous, but because he was so unpredictable and it was near impossible to know what was going to come out of his mouth and who would be the object of his insults.
What’s extraordinary here was that, he knew what he was doing — insulting people of colour, in Britain and in the wider commonwealth. And that by virtue of his position as her majesty’s husband, he would never be called upon to apologize for what should be seen as rabidly racist and bigoted comments.
And guess what? He never expressed regret nor formally apologized for his appalling comments, not once.
I have compiled a treasure trove of his comments below, with help from The Times newspaper, to provide some sort of insight into the kind of man he was.
To Jomo Kenyatta, during Kenya’s independence ceremony: Are you sure that you really want to go ahead with this?
To a number of British students in China on an exchange program: Try not to stay too long here, or you will go home with Slitty eyes.
To a Scottish driving instructor: How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test
To a young female officer wearing a bullet-proof vest: You look like a suicide bomber
To a female sea cadet, on being told she worked in a nightclub: Is it a strip club?
To young deaf people in Cardiff referring to the school’s steel band: No wonder you are deaf.
Pointing to an old-fashioned fuse box in Scotland: It looks like it was done by an Indian
To Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian President: You look ready for bed.
To a British Student trekking in Papua New Guinea: You managed not to get eaten then?
To a 13 year old boy who told him that he wanted to go into space: You are too fat to be an astronaut
To a Cambridge University car park attendant who didn’t recognize him: Bloody silly fool.
To Barack Obama, who said that he met with the Russians and Chinese in 2009: Could you tell them apart from the other?
What must be understood from these quotes is that Prince Phillip was scarcely alone in holding these views; Indeed, his pedophile progeny — Prince Andrew has made a good few racist comments in the past, a number of which came to light during the Jeffrey Epstein episode.
Racism remains a major issue in all western societies and with the palace still reeling from the Oprah interview, several weeks ago, people must see the royal family — a profoundly white conservative institution — as a huge part of the problem.
For the late Duke of Edinburgh, as privileged a white male, as anyone can get, his life was one of bitterness, gaffes and political incorrectness.
Thanks very much for reading.