Sunday, June 04, 2006

The one-L Philip is a prince... 

Now here's a book I want to read -- The Duke of Hazard: Wit and Wisdom of Prince Philip. Some examples:
"I am truly fed up with the opening and closing ceremonies [of the Olympics]. They are a pain in the neck," Philip told the newspaper . . . "Opening and closing ceremonies ought to be banned. Absolute bloody nuisances" . . . The 100-page book includes details of an infamous gaffe in Beijing, China, in 1986, when the prince told British students 'if you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed.'
It also recounts an occasion in Cardiff, Wales, when he addressed young members of the British Deaf Association who were standing close to a band playing steel drums.
'Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf,' the prince told them.
In Hungary, the prince is said to have told a British man he must have only arrived recently as he hadn't 'got a pot belly' and in Scotland, asked a driving instructor how he managed to 'keep the natives off the booze long enough' to pass their driving test.
I met Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth on the Royal Yacht Britannia, along with a hundred other people, during a royal visit to Victoria when I was a reporter. What impressed me about both of them was their ability to make charming small talk to total strangers who were all totally awe-struck and thus tongued-tied. And Philip didn't say anything outrageous at all, darn it -- as I recall, the conversation was mostly about the weather, ho hum, but somehow it sounded more interesting when they were talking about it.
(By the way, only Ogden Nash fans will understand the title to this piece...)

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