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The wit and wisdom of Prince Philip

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After 74 years of marriage to the Queen, Prince Philip has today died at the age of 99. During his many decades in the public eye, the Duke of Edinburgh earned the respect and admiration of many for his selfless dedication to duty. Attending quite literally thousands of events besides his wife he developed a reputation for off the cuff gems and blunt speaking. Steerpike has gathered up 74 of the Duke’s best quotes from 74 years by the Queen’s side.

On his role and family

  1. ‘I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly’ he said of his role in 1992.

  2. ‘If it doesn’t fart or doesn’t eat hay, she isn’t interested’ on his daughter Princess Anne.
  3. ‘I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family’ when asked in 1967 if he would like to visit the USSR.
  4. ‘It looks like a tart’s bedroom’ on plans for Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s house at Sunninghill Park.
  5. ‘My son…er…owns them’ on being asked whether he knew the Scilly Isles.
  6. ‘Where did you get that hat?’ he supposedly said to Queen at her Coronation.
  7. ‘It looks like the kind of thing my daughter would bring back from her school art lessons’ he said of ‘primitive’ Ethiopian art in 1965.  
  8. ‘Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy’ on his his role in an interview with Jeremy Paxman.
  9. ‘I never see any home cooking – all I get is fancy stuff’ in 1962.
  10. ‘Dontopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it, a science which I have practiced for a good many years’ to the General Dental Council, quoted in Time in 1960.
  11. ‘I have never been noticeably reticent about talking on subjects about which I know nothing’ to a group of industrialists in 1961.

On domestic royal engagements

  1. ‘They’re not mating are they?’ on two robots bumping in to one another at the Science Museum in 2000.
  2. ‘People

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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