Prince Philip: Why Are We Going To Miss The Crazy Uncle Of The British Empire

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Social media has been abuzz, nearing but not quite reaching melting point since news broke yesterday that Buckingham Palace staff had been called to a 'highly unusual emergency meeting' by the Queen. Heavy.

I'm sure there was more than a flurry of heart palpitations from eager Royal watchers dreading a morbid announcement. But reality was far less juicy.

Buckingham Palace was merely stating what was friggin' obvious to the rest of the colonies. The Duke of Edinburgh was stepping down from public engagements later this year. Has there ever been as much social media pandemonium about a 95-year old's retirement?

But why, oh why are the old[er] folks losing their collective marbles over this fossilised remnant of the British Empire? Why do we care about the Queen's husband? We're glad you asked, because whether you love, hate, are repulsed or genuinely get an inner giggle from his antics, Prince Philip is the king of the gaffe. The king, baby!

For 70 years he has been feeding news editors across the globe an unfiltered stream of Philipism ripe for the picking. Sure, some stray the edges of strong-armed impoliteness. Others are simply the words of an ignorant man. But there was never anything malicious or evil about his words or intent.

He is simply an Empire man lost in a new world brimming with serendipitous opportunities to create a media headline unlike anyone else the western world has encountered. If only social media had been invented sooner.

Without further ado, here are a few of the Duke's more priceless moments.

Remarkable Duke of Edinburgh Quotes

1966: 'British women can't cook.'

1981: 'Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.' (during the 1981 UK recession)

1982: 'They must be out of their minds.' (in the Solomon Islands, when he was told that the annual population growth was 5 per cent)

1984: 'You are a woman, aren't you?' (in Kenya after accepting a small gift from a local woman)

1986: 'If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed.' (to British students in China, during a state visit)

1988: 'It looks like a tart's bedroom.' (on seeing plans for the Duke and Duchess of York's house at Sunninghill Park)

1992: 'Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease.' (in Australia when asked to stroke a Koala bear)

1994: 'Yak, yak, yak; come on get a move on.' (shouted from the deck of Britannia in Belize to the Queen who was chatting to her hosts on the quayside)

1997: 'Bloody silly fool!' (referring to a Cambridge University car park attendant who did not recognise him)

1999: 'It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.' (pointing at an old-fashioned fusebox in a factory near Edinburgh)

1999: 'Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.' (to young, deaf people in Cardiff, referring to a school's steel band)

2009: 'Well, you didn't design your beard too well, did you?' (to designer Stephen Judge about his tiny goatee beard)

2011: 'Bits are beginning to drop off.' (on approaching his 90th birthday)

2012: 'I would get arrested if I unzipped that dress.' (to 25-year-old council worker Hannah Jackson, who was wearing a dress with a zip running the length of its front, on a Jubilee visit to Bromley, Kent)

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