As the Obamas visited Buckingham Palace for tea, Prince Philip—the so-called Duke of Hazard—couldn't avoid another royal screw-up.
UPDATE: When Barack and Michelle Obama met the royal family in London today, they weren't the only ones watching their manners. The team at Buckingham Palace was likely keeping Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth, on a short leash—but that coudn't stop him from asking Obama if he could distinguish foreign leaders, "Can you tell the difference between them?"
Philip is notorious for his foot-in-mouth comments, many of which have been called racist. Indeed, Philip is so un-PC that a book of his gaffes, Duke of Hazard: The Wit and Wisdom of Prince Philip by Phil Dampier and Ashley Walton, was published in 2006. Among the duke’s most racist slip-ups:
• During a state visit to China in 1986, the duke told a group of British students: “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
• Another jab to the Chinese came at a World Wildlife Fund dinner: “If it swims and it’s not a submarine, the Chinese will eat it.”
• To an Australian Aborigine he met in 2002, Philip asked: “Still throwing spears?”
• When a Kenyan woman gave Philip a gift, he was perplexed at her appearance. “You’re a woman, aren’t you?” he asked.
• When he met Lord Taylor of Warwick, who is black and comes from Birmingham, “And what exotic part of the world do you come from?”
• When he saw an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh, the duke said: “It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.”
• When he met a group of deaf people in Cardiff in1999, Philip referred to the school’s steel band: “Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.”
• “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” Philip asked someone from the Cayman Islands in 1994.
• When he met the president of Nigeria, who was dressed in a traditional robe, Philip said: “You look like you’re ready for bed!”
Let’s hope Prince Philip peruses a copy of Duke of Hazard before meeting the Obamas.