The Queen’s husband has always been a figure of some fun, notorious for his gaffes and political incorrectness. Now a new biography of Prince Philip suggests the 90-year-old consort may be even weirder than anyone imagined. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Prince Philip is best known for his ability to put his foot in it on any given occasion. In June the Daily Mirror published 90 of his “classic quotes” to mark his 90th birthday, and they make for cringe-worthy reading.
Now a biography of the Prince by Philip Eade, Prince Philip: The Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth II, fleshes out the personality and family history of the wacky royal. Among the revelations is the fact that Philip’s mother, Alice (Queen Victoria’s granddaughter), lived much of her life in a mental institution. The young Philip spent his time at boarding school, meeting his future wife when he was 18 and she was 13. Before Philip married Princess Elizabeth, the book suggests, he led a rip-roaring life as a bachelor, rumoured to have dated showgirls and enjoyed his liquor. In certain royal quarters he was considered an unsuitable match for Elizabeth, considered “no gentleman” and viewed with suspicion because of his Greek and German heritage. However, Eade writes that Philip’s “forthrightness and independence” won over the future Queen.
The young Prince reportedly made a habit of summoning UFO-spotters to Buckingham Palace to give him their testimonies, and also once sent his personal equerry “to meet an extraterrestrial humanoid” at a house in London. There’s also evidence that his foot-in-mouth problems began early: when he met a signalman during World War II, the signalman joked that he was waiting for someone to die so he could be promoted. Philip responded: “Like me!” DM
Some firing squads are all issued with blank cartridges with the exception of one person. This helps alleviate personal responsibility for the execution squad.