After 70 years, the Duke of Edinburgh is hanging up his day gig doing the Royal thing. In 1947 he married up, getting hitched to Betty Windsor, who eventually became Queen Elizabeth II.
The Duke of Edinburgh, Phillip Mountbatten (nee Battenberg) is 95 and is a delightfully wicked man. He almost had to become one, as his real job was to shut the hell up and stand next to the Queen. Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward were his issue, the unwritten part of the job description. Like the Queen, Phil works it, doing a lot of public events that come under the auspices of Royal duties, but at 95, he’s had enough and will serve out his last remaining engagements, then retire this fall.
The gig isn’t that taxing. It’s not like he’s got 50 cubic yards of topsoil to move with a shovel and wheelbarrow by sundown, but the various Royals do several hundred events every year and at 95, hey, he’s earned a break. Being delightfully wicked, he has on several occasions placed both feet firmly in it. Herewith a compendium of a few of the best in something we’re calling Phil Mountbatten’s Best, derived from this Daily Mail article today.
“I declare this thing open, whatever it is” – on a visit of Canada, 1969
“If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.” (at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting)
“How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?” (to a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, during a 1995 walkabout)
“You look like a suicide bomber.” (to a young female officer wearing a bullet-proof vest on Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in 2002)
And our favourite of all time:
“If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” (to British students in China, during the 1986 state visit)
Phil Mountbatten. Man of the People. Phil? Enjoy the retirement.