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Prince Philip said what?

Prince Philip seen here in 2012. (Star wire services)

Like the Queen’s beloved corgis, Prince Philip is renowned for slipping the leash.

On Wednesday the irrepressible 91-year-old told a Filipina nurse at a suburban hospital that her country must have been “half empty” because so many of her peers are in Britain working for the National Health Service.

The nurse laughed dutifully, (and no doubt hollowly), and a spokesperson for the Luton and Dunstable Hospital pronounced the duke’s visit to unveil an $8.5 million (Cdn) cardiac centre “hugely inspirational,” according to the BBC.

That’s more than a visiting Australian aborigine could say back in 2002, when Philip asked him if he was “still throwing spears?”

Or a driving instructor in the ruggedly Scottish fishing town of Oban, who was asked how he kept “the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?”

Then there was the scandal-stirring 1986 comment to a group of British students in China: “if you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”

Never one to discriminate, Philip didn’t confine his insults to foreigners. “If you go near there, no wonder you’re deaf,” he said of a steel band at a school for the hearing impaired in 1999.

Even the army wasn’t immune to the Prince’s barbs. In a 1995 comment on the rise of stress counselling for servicemen, he lamented that the military was going soft. “We didn’t have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, asking ‘are you all right?’” he chaffed. “You just got on with it.”

Luckily, so did the Philipina nurse. But what was running through her head as she stood in front of His Irrelevance?  That he represents the fading facade of colonialism, racism, sexism and aristocratic arrogance that is on a collision course with extinction? That a changing of the royal guard -- or its demise -- can't come too soon?  That the taxpayers should zip the public purse on the prince's allowance, along with his lips?
Probably, she just put it in her mind-file of encounters with odd English eccentrics. And was much too polite to give him a dose of his own medicine.

Olivia Ward has covered conflicts, politics and human rights as a correspondent and bureau chief from the former Soviet Union to the Balkans, Northern Ireland, the Middle East and South Asia.She has won both national and international awards, collaborated on two Emmy-winning films and is one of the few journalists to have a war requiem written to her work.



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You think Phillip is bad .. you should have talked with my father, the next door neighbour, the lady in the grocery store down the street. For Pete's sake he's 96 and "been there and done that". If you want a 100% score on idiot value, try watching American TV these days.

Philip is a relic of another century -- and not the twentieth.

The monarchy is a relic, not just Philip.

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