The Prince of putting one's foot in one's mouth

You know how sometimes elderly people say things they really shouldn’t? Well we’re hoping that’s the reason Prince Philip asked a bunch of women yesterday at an official do, “Who do you sponge off?”

The Prince and his missus, the Queen, were attending a dance performance at an east London community centre when Philip asked members of an Asian women’s group whether they met to “have a gossip”.

Nusrat Zamir, a trustee of the Chadwell Heath Community Centre, said: “The Duke said to us ‘who do you sponge off?'”

When asked if she was offended by the question, Ms Zamir explained the group had just presented the Queen with a sponge cake and the gaffe was in fact a joke. “He was just teasing and it’s similar to what I call my husband – the wallet,” she told Sky News.

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You could almost hear the royal aides’ sigh of relief. Prince Philip made headlines around the world last week for yelling at a photographer “just take the f****** picture” during a photocall for the Battle of Britain anniversary.

However, he wasn’t quite done yet. When the Prince met a full-time fundraiser for the centre who told him about his job he said, “‘do you have any friends left?”

Fortunately the man caught on that it was a joke and replied, “not many”.

Unfortunately, the Queen’s hubby has a bit of a track record of speaking before thinking, so much so the Mirror newspaper was able to compile a list of 90 of his top gaffes to celebrate Philip’s 90th birthday in 2011.

Here are ten of our favourites:

  1. To expats in Abu Dhabi last year: “Are you running away from something?”
  2. To a British trekker in Papua New Guinea, 1998: “You managed not to get eaten then?”
  3. To female sea cadet last year: “Do you work in a strip club?”
  4. After accepting a conservation award in Thailand in 1991: “Your country is one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species.”
  5. In Canada in 1976: “We don’t come here for our health.”
  6. After Dunblane massacre, 1996: “If a cricketer suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat, are you going to ban cricket bats?”
  7. To the Scottish WI in 1961: “British women can’t cook.”
  8. To then Paraguay dictator General Stroessner: “It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.”
  9. To Aboriginal leader William Brin, Queensland, 2002: “Do you still throw spears at each other?”
  10. Asking Cate Blanchett to fix his DVD player because she worked “in the film industry”, 2008: “There’s a cord sticking out of the back. Might you tell me where it goes?”

Tell us, have you ever said something that you shouldn’t have?