Prince Philip—husband to Queen Elizabeth, father to Prince Charles and some other great kids, recently “alive” human, and carefree driver—has died at 99. The UK has immediately gone into feudal overdrive:
And Fox News found a way to blame Meghan Markle for the death of a 99-year-old man who had been sick for a long time:
Philip was known for many things—his decades of royal engagements, his fondness for polo and the military, his Nazi connections, his dislike of being kind to his children, his shepherding of a warm and loving family—but one of his great loves was being racist.
From his comically euphemistic BBC obituary:
This tendency to be forthright was interpreted by some as boorishness and sometimes got him into trouble. He certainly gained a reputation for misjudging situations, particularly when he was abroad.
He made one of his most controversial comments while accompanying the Queen on a state visit to China in 1986. He made what he thought was a private remark about “slitty eyes”.
The tabloids went into a frenzy, although it seemed to cause little concern in China.
On a visit to Australia in 2002, he asked an Aboriginal businessman whether “you still throw spears at each other”.
Ah, yes, that old “tendency to be forthright” about…your habit of being racist.
The BBC, like a good state broadcaster, brushes this right off:
While he was heavily criticised in some quarters for such remarks, others saw them as reflecting someone who was his own man and who had refused to become bound by political correctness.
Indeed, many saw his so-called “gaffes” as nothing more than an attempt to lighten the atmosphere and put people at their ease.
Nothing brings down the tension in the room like a racist joke, am I right?
Here are some other priceless light-hearted comments, from a BBC roundup of Philip’s so-called “gaffes”:
1984: “You are a woman, aren’t you?” In Kenya after accepting a small gift from a local woman.
1999: “It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.” Referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh.
2009: “There’s a lot of your family in tonight.” After looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a Palace reception for British Indians.
2013: “The Philippines must be half empty as you’re all here running the NHS.” On meeting a Filipino nurse at Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
What I love is that most of these comments are about people whose ancestors the British royal family helped subjugate for miserable centuries. Colonialism sure brings the wit out.
The BBC didn’t even mention this fun one: “If it has four legs and it is not a chair, if it has two wings and flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”
What a character! We’ll miss you Prince Philip, have fun in racist heaven.