In Depth

Wince Philip: Six of the Duke of Edinburgh's top gaffes

The Duke of Edinburgh's reputation for plain speaking has led to some uncomfortable moments

Prince Philip and the Queen

Prince Philip will carry out his final solo public engagement today before "retiring" from official appearances. In his capacity as Captain General of the Royal Marines, the prince will meet service members who have completed the 1664 Global Challenge, a gruelling trek which raises money for the Royal Marines Charity.

The 96-year-old royal announced his retirement from official duties in May. Over the past 65 years, he has racked up 22,219 solo outings in addition to his appearance alongside the Queen, according to the BBC.

As well as his lifetime of public service, including as the namesake and patron of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme for young people, the prince will inevitably be remembered for his occasional attacks of foot-in-mouth disease.

"The Duke of Edinburgh has perhaps been best known for his legendary gaffes," says the Daily Telegraph. "His reputation for plain speaking has often led to controversy, but he was once branded a national treasure by the press for his inability to curb his off-the-cuff remarks."

One of the Duke's most recent gaffes came in 2015, when, at the opening of the Chadwell Heath Community Centre in London, Philip reportedly asked a group of women: "Who do you sponge off?"

According to the Daily Mail, the group saw the funny side. "He was just teasing and it's similar to what I call my husband: the wallet," said one of the women.

Commentators on Twitter were less amused, with many referring to Philip as "Britain's biggest sponger" among other, less charitable, terms.

Here are five more occasions when the Duke's way with words has got him into trouble:

Prince Philip best quotes

"If you stay here much longer you'll come back with slitty eyes," Philip once told a British student studying in China.

"Well, you'll never fly in it, you're too fat to be an astronaut." The Duke thought it wise to rein in the aspirations of one 13-year-old boy on a visit to the Nova space craft in Manchester in 2001.

"How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?" Philip asked a driving instructor on a trip to Scotland in 1995.

Prince Philip Aboriginal

"Do you still throw spears at each other?" Philip once asked Aboriginal leader Ivan Brim on a trip to Australia in 2002.

"Just take the f***ing picture." More recently the 94-year-old was caught on camera getting most upset with a photographer during the commemoration of the Battle of Britain

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