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The Duke Of Edinburgh’s Most Controversial Quotes: Get To Know The Scandals Behind The Royal Family

On April 9, the British royal family reported the death of Queen Elizabeth II's husband Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, to the entire world. He died at the age of 99, due to his advanced age. Prince Philip and the Queen starred in the most distant royal wedding, spent more than 70 years together, countless royal journeys, 4 children and several grandchildren.

The duke was known for always keeping a low profile next to the queen, but he was even famous for his collection of gaffes over the years and politically incorrect jokes with a racist and sexist nature. Even publishing a book on his 85th birthday: “Prince Philip: Wise Words and Golden Gaffes”, which brings together the duke's most controversial phrases. Philip was, in fact, a man of the past century who was not willing to change, but, before that let me show you some historical facts that went viral about the royal family!

A Story And Multiple Scandals

It is to be expected that a marriage as long as that of Philip and Queen Elizabeth II has had several problems. Although there are some rumors, nothing has ever been confirmed about the duke's betrayals. The first rumor came before they got married, journalists claimed to have seen him dancing at night and having breakfast with dancer Patricia Kirkwood. He always said that this was just a myth in the press.

The most famous rumor, however, was in 1957, when his best friend and personal secretary, Michael Parker, became involved in a divorce and adultery scandal, leading the media to believe that Philip would be doing the same as his friend. The duke did not speak until 1992, saying he was very irritated that he went out for years and years with the police glued to him, such a betrayal would be impossible.

One of the first scandals that the duke was involved in was when the husbands of his four sisters were involved with the Nazi party. At the time of their wedding ceremony, three of them were alive and were banned by their brother from attending their wedding. The scandal was so great that Philip had to fight for his wife to take his surname, Mountbatten, however, she was strongly advised not to do so, as they could associate her and her family with Philip's Nazi relatives.

However, the most famous scandal involves the death of Princess Diana, the ex-wife of her son, Prince Charles, who died in 1997 in a car accident. She was accompanied by her boyfriend, Egyptian businessman Dodi Al-Fayed, a driver and a bodyguard, she was running away from paparazzi who were chasing them from the hotel where they were staying. [bf_image id="q7k18i-9bh6js-60ag99"] Dodi's father hinted that the accident was planned by the British secret service with the approval of Prince Philip. He even went so far as to call Elizabeth II's husband a Nazi during the trial by stating that everything had been planned in a conspiracy by the British royal family. The theory was eventually dismissed by the court that ruled on the tragedy.

An Acid "Humor"

One of the most famous members of the family, the Duke of Edinburgh, retired from royal travel at the age of 96, but since his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II in 1947, he has served more than 22,000 trips, that is, a full plate for his bad taste in jokes.

In 2003, during a meeting with some state representatives, Prince Philip said "It looks like you are ready to sleep!" to the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who wore traditional dress from his culture. One of his most famous gaffes was with British students who were interning in China in 1986: "Don't take too long or your eyes will cross." In other words, it is noticeable that many of the prince's “jokes” were related to people's origins.

However, the duke has not changed over the years, even gaining more and more fame for your speeches. In 2009, he asked a company of black dancers: "Are you all from the same family?" And in 2013, when referring to Pakistani activist Malala, victim of an attack on the school bus he was on, he said that "Children go to school because their parents don't want them at home."

Dealing with social issues in his country was also not his forte. During the 1981 recession, he said of the unemployed: "I don't understand: first they say they want more free time, now they complain that they are unemployed". In 1998, Philip was asked if killing animals to eat was more valuable than sacrificing them for sport hunting - a very common practice among royalty - he said: “I don't think a prostitute has more morals than a wife, but they do the same thing”. In the same sexist tone, during an event in London, the duke said “Would you understand me if I lowered that zipper?” to a woman who wore a dress with front closure.

However, his most emblematic gaffe occurred a few years ago. In 2009, the President of the United States, Obama, met with politicians Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Dmitri Medvedev. Again, the Duke is unhappy with his speech: "Can you distinguish yourself from each other?"

Even with these controversial speeches, his actions can be justified by being a man of the last century. Unwilling to change, we saw his racist and sexist lines throughout his long life, interpreting them, most of the time, just as funny jokes. Now, scandals and controversies may be forgettable, but their actions are eternal and we have to know about them.


The article above was edited by Lívia Carvalho.

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Júlia Girão

Casper Libero '24

Journalism student at Cásper Líbero
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