Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

From Wikiquote
(Redirected from Prince Philip)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Constitutionally I don't exist.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, 10 June 19219 April 2021) was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He was the longest-serving, oldest-ever spouse of a reigning British monarch, and the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family.


If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.
  • Oh, what, a strip club?
    • Response to Elizabeth Rendle, a 24-year-old, who, when introduced to the prince, said that she worked as a barmaid in a nightclub, as quoted in "Prince Philip in strip club gaffe" (12 March 2010), Yahoo! News
  • There is nothing like it for morale to be reminded that the years are passing—ever more quickly—and that bits are dropping off the ancient frame. But it is nice to be remembered at all.
  • Have you run over anybody?


  • You have mosquitoes. I have the Press.
    • In a 1966 conversation with the matron of a hospital while on a tour of the Caribbean as quoted in The Reality of Monarchy (1970) by Andrew Duncan
  • British women can't cook.
    • Statement of 1966, as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes", BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • The man who invented the red carpet needed his head examined.
    • About to disembark on state visit to Brazil (November 1968), as quoted in The Reality of Monarchy (1970) by Andrew Duncan
  • It seems to me that it's the best way of wasting money that I know of. I don't think investments on the moon pay a very high dividend.
    • On the U.S. Apollo program, press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil (November 1968) as quoted in The Reality of Monarchy (1970) by Andrew Duncan


  • Education, journalism, technology, entertainment and business may also find better methods for their purpose than books and writing. But this does not mean that tapes and films have made books obsolescent—the contention is almost too ludicrous to be taken seriously. Books are certainly old fashioned, but only people with a very limited perception are silly enough to condemn ideas because of their age. It is, of course, equally silly to condemn the new fangled simply because it is strange, and I am full of admiration for the technologists who have developed all sorts of gadgets for the purpose of improving communications. However, I believe that all these fascinating machines are complementary to, and not substitutes for, books and the printed word.

The Environmental Revolution: Speeches on Conservation, 1962–77 (1978)[edit]

  • For conservation to be successful it is necessary to take into consideration that it is a characteristic of man that he can only be relied upon to do anything consistently which is in his own interest. He may have occasional fits of conscience and moral rectitude but otherwise his actions are governed by self-interest. It follows then that whatever the moral reasons for conservation it will only be achieved by the inducement of profit or pleasure.
    • World Wildlife Fund: British National Appeal Banquet, London (1962)
  • Why then be concerned about the conservation of wildlife when for all practical purposes we would be much better off if humans and their domestic animals and pets were the only living creatures on the face of the earth? There is no obvious and demolishing answer to this rather doubtful logic although in practice the destruction of all wild animals would certainly bring devastating changes to our existence on this planet as we know it today...The trouble is that everything in nature is completely interdependent. Tinker with one part of it and the repercussions ripple out in all directions... Wildlife — and that includes everything from microbes to blue whales and from a fungus to a redwood tree — has been so much part of life on the earth that we are inclined to take its continued existence for granted...Yet the wildlife of the world is disappearing, not because of a malicious and deliberate policy of slaughter and extermination, but simply because of a general and widespread ignorance and neglect.
    • World Wildlife Fund Dinner, York, (1969)
  • The sheer weight of numbers of the human population, our habitations, our machinery and our ruthless exploitation of the living and organic resources of the earth; together these are changing our whole environment. This is what we call progress and much of this development is naturally to the direct and welcome benefit of mankind. However, we cannot at the same time ignore the awkward consequences and the most direct and menacing, but not the only consequence of this change, is pollution... Pollution is a direct outcome of man's ruthless exploitation of the earth's resources. Experience shows that the growth of successful organic populations is eventually balanced by the destruction of its own habitat. The vast man-made deserts show that the human population started this process long ago. There are two important differences today. In the first place the process has gone from a walking pace to a breakneck gallop. Secondly we know exactly what is happening. If not exactly in all cases, we know enough to appreciate what is happening and the need to take care... Pollution is no longer a matter of local incidents, today it has the whole biosphere in its grip. The processes which devastated the Welsh valleys a hundred years ago are now at work, over, on and under the earth and the oceans. Even if we bury all this waste underground there still remains the risk that toxic materials through chemical reactions will be washed out and into underground water courses. If ever there was an area of research more closely related to human welfare it is the problem of the safe disposal of waste and effluents... The fact is that we have got to make a choice between human prosperity on the one hand and the total well-being of the planet Earth on the other. Even then it is hardly a choice because if we only look for human prosperity we shall certainly destroy by pollution the earth and the human population which has existed on it for millions of years... If the world pollution situation is not critical at the moment it is as certain as anything can be that the situation will become increasingly intolerable within a very short time. The situation can be controlled and even reversed but it demands co-operation on a scale and intensity beyond anything achieved so far...I realise that there are any number of vital causes to be fought for, I sympathise with people who work up a passionate concern about the all too many examples of inhumanity, injustice, and unfairness, but behind all this hangs a really deadly cloud. Still largely unnoticed and unrecognised, the process of destroying our natural environment is gathering speed and momentum. If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.
    • Edinburgh University Union (1969)
  • If we are to exercise our responsibilities so that all life can continue on earth, they must have a moral and philosophical basis. Simple self-interest, economic profit and absolute materialism are no longer enough... It has been made perfectly clear that a concern for any part of life on this planet — human, plant or animal, wild or tame — is a concern for all life. A threat to any part of the environment is a threat to the whole environment, but we must have a basis of assessment of these threats, not so that we can establish a priority of fears, but so that we can make a positive contribution to improvement and ultimate survival.
  • It is frequently more rewarding merely to ask pertinent questions. It may get someone to go and look for an answer. If you get a silly answer, which can easily happen, you can return to the charge with even more telling effect. Whatever happens, don't give up and don't despair. Results may not be immediately apparent, but you may have touched a receptive chord without knowing it. Even the most unsympathetic and unenlightened politician, industrialist or bureaucrat begins to take notice when a lot of people write about the same subject.
  • It is an old cliche to say that the future is in the hands of the young. This is no longer true. The quality of life to be enjoyed or the existence to be survived by our children and future generations is in our hands now.
    • The World Wildlife Fund Congress, London, (1970)
  • A new criterion has been added, the conservation of the environment so that in the long run life, including human life, can continue. This new consideration must be taken into account at all levels and in all departments of government and in the boardrooms of every industrial enterprise. It is no longer sufficient simply to quantify the elements of existence as in old-fashioned material economics; conservation means taking notice of the quality of existence as well... The problem is of course to give some value to that quality and perhaps the only way to do this is to try and work out the cost in terms of loss of amenities, loss of holiday and recreation facilities, loss of property values, loss of contact with nature, loss of health standards and loss of food resources, if proper conservation methods are not used. Looked at in that light it may well turn out that money spent on proper pollution control, urban and rural planning and the control of exploitation of wild stocks of plants or animals on land and in the sea, is the less expensive alternative in the long run... The conservation of nature, the proper care for the human environment and a general concern for the long-term future of the whole of our planet are absolutely vital if future generations are to have a chance to enjoy their existence on this earth.
    • The Australian Conservation Foundation, Canberra (April 1970)


  • Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.
    • In 1981, in reference to an economic recession, as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes", BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.
    • 1986 statement as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes", BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed.
    • Said to a group of British students in China in 1986, as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes", BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • I just wonder what it would be like to be reincarnated in an animal whose species had been so reduced in numbers than it was in danger of extinction. What would be its feelings toward the human species whose population explosion had denied it somewhere to exist... I must confess that I am tempted to ask for reincarnation as a particularly deadly virus.


  • People usually say that after a fire it is water damage that is the worst. We are still trying to dry out Windsor Castle.
    • Said on a visit to Lockerbie in 1993 to a man who lived in a road where eleven people had been killed by wreckage from the Pan Am jumbo jet, as quoted in "Prince Philip's gaffes", BBC News (10 August 1999)
  • You can't have been here that long—you haven't got a pot belly.
    • Said to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary in 1993, as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes", BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • Aren't most of you descended from pirates?
    • Said in 1994 to an inhabitant of the Cayman Islands as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes", BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, which he could do very easily, I mean, are you going to ban cricket bats?


  • You are a woman, aren't you?
    • After accepting a gift from a Kenyan woman, as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes" BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?
  • You managed not to get eaten then?
    • Said to a British student in Papua New Guinea, as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes" BBC News (1 March 2002)
  • Ah good, there's so many over there you feel they breed them just to put in orphanages.
    • Said while presenting a Duke of Edinburgh Award to a student. When informed that the young man was going to help out in Romania for six months, he asked if the student was going to help the Romanian orphans and was told that he was not, as quoted in "Duke under fire for Romanian orphans 'joke'" in The Scotsman (8 July 2006)
  • It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.
    • Of a fuse box, whilst on a tour of a factory in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1999, as quoted in "Long line of princely gaffes", BBC News (1 March 2002)

Quotes about Prince Philip[edit]

  • Then we go back to the Duke of Edinburgh; I recall an amazingly ridiculous campaign against him because, on a visit to India, he was invited to go tiger-shooting (such an invitation is a great honour there) and after a few days of the newspapers back home yelling and screaming and jumping up and down, he had to pretend that he had a whitlow on his trigger-finger and so couldn't shoot anything, not even a tabloid journalist.
    • Bernard Levin, "Uneasy Lies the Head", The Times, 23 January 1989
  • "My father, for I suppose the last 70 years, has given the most remarkable devoted service to the queen, to my family, to the country and also to the whole of the Commonwealth,"
    • Charles told reporters, wearing a black necktie of mourning.

External links[edit]