Prince Philip is not a man known for mincing his words. On one occasion, he turned his notoriously sharp tongue on Queen Elizabeth and it didn’t end well.
All lovers fight but royal couples have to be careful they don’t do too much bickering in the public eye or they’ll get a reputation. Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are as solid as they come and have always presented a show of impeccable solidarity to the watching world.
Yet on one occasion, the monarch and her consort butted heads in a big way, and it was all to do with the surnames of their offspring.
The Daily Express reports that a new Netflix documentary the Royal House of Windsor reveals Prince Philip was seriously unhappy about the second names Charles and Anne were given.
Queen Elizabeth is from the House of Windsor and Prince Philip is a Mountbatten, and as the children of the reigning monarch, Charles and Anne carried the surname Windsor.
Prince Philip wasn’t happy about this. In fact, he was livid. The then-Prime Minister Harold Macmillan even wrote in his diary, “What upsets me is the prince’s almost brutal attitude to the Queen over all this.”
In a sense, you can see why the prince was put out. Not only was he the father but the Mountbatten name has far more prestige and history than Windsor, which in context, is an extremely modern surname.
Up until the time of King George V, the royals went by the surname of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Which is a bit of a Teutonic mouthful, to say the least. Anyway, to cut a long story short, on July 17, 1917, Queen Elizabeth’s granddad suddenly declared that the royal family had a new surname – Windsor. Obviously, you cannot get much more Anglo-Saxon than that, but why did George do it? The simple answer is public and political pressure forced the king to distance himself and his family as far as possible from his mother country – Deutschland. Germany had been at war with Great Britain for three long years and anti-German sentiments were at an all-time high. To make matters worse, the much-loathed Kaiser Wilhelm II was the king’s first cousin.
Prince Philip is nothing if not a stubborn man and after reducing the queen to tears about the issue of the all-important surname, the monarch bent to his will by the time Andrew and Edward were born. Instead of carrying the name Windsor, they carried the double-barreled Mountbatten-Windsor and everyone was happy.
Prince Philip is, of course, famous for his acid tongue and to celebrate the Duke Of Edinburgh’s sharp wit, the Mirror once decided to compile a list of classic clangers from the mouth of the queen’s consort. Here’s 10 of the best for your reading pleasure.
After being told that Madonna was singing the Die Another Day theme in 2002, Prince Philip remarked, “Are we going to need earplugs?”
After accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991, Prince Philip felt it necessary to remind his hosts, “Your country is one of the most notorious centers of trading in endangered species.”
At a project to protect turtle doves in Anguilla in 1965, the duke pondered, “Cats kill far more birds than men. Why don’t you have a slogan: ‘Kill a cat and save a bird.”
When bumping into a tourist in Budapest in 1993, the queen’s consort observed, “You can’t have been here long, you haven’t got a pot belly.”
On discussing the “genius” of Tom Jones in 1969, a philosophical Prince Philip lamented, “It’s difficult to see how it’s possible to become immensely valuable by singing what are the most hideous songs.”
When visiting the Aircraft Research Association in 2002, the duke made his feelings clear on air travel.
“If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort – provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.”
Upon meeting a Scottish driving instructor in 1995, the duke of diplomacy asked, “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?”
When offered wine in Rome in 2000, Prince Philip snapped, “I don’t care what kind it is, just get me a beer!”
Turning his thoughts to Russia in 1967, the famous royal said, “I’d like to go there very much – although the ba**ards murdered half my family.”
And finally when the Duke of Edinburgh met Aboriginal leader William Brin in Queensland in 2002, he asked, “Do you still throw spears at each other?”