So, Prince Philip swears

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And this is news?


Prince Philip in 1954

In July 2015, the newspapers and the internet were full of the news that Britain’s Prince Philip had ‘appeared to use’ the f-word during a photo shoot.  Have they nothing better to report? Blimey.

Royals today are no longer expected to don suits of armour and go jousting. Neither do they live in fear of being usurped and sent to the Tower to have their heads cut off.  But it does seem a little unfair that when they act like normal people, which presumably they are, their every utterance is reported far and wide.

Do people really care that after a long day, mostly spent on his feet at ceremonies and other such malarkeys, a ninety four year old bloke gets a bit impatient with a  photographer who is faffing around and says ‘just take the f****** picture’?  And when people do hear, as I did on the radio, then are they shocked and stunned? No.

Yes, it was reported on the radio. But at least it was the BBC with its subtle sense of humour and collective tongue in its cheek, as they reported that Prince Philip had used ‘robust naval language’.

And that’s the point. The photo shoot was with Battle of Britain veterans, all old British chaps much the same age as the prince. Prince Philip was surely not the first to use the f-word on that occasion surely? I mean, it would be very British in a Kenneth-More-in-Reach-For-The-Sky sort of way if men who fought in wars said ‘fiddlesticks’ when something went wrong. Or ‘oh botheration’ if their bomber received a hit and was spiralling towards the ocean. But most unlikely.

In the British Navy in World War II, in which Prince Philip served gallantly by the way, I doubt that their favourite expletive was ‘oh drat’. And similarly, I suspect that Philip’s grandson Prince Harry and his mates when serving in Afghanistan used ‘oh dearie me’ as their expletive-du-jour.  Harry brother and king-to-be-one-day William, who was in the forces for seven and a half years was no doubt the same.

Of course, it was a big joke at the time. When Prince Philip made his ‘alleged’comment, there was a visible laugh of relief from the other people in the photo shoot, one of which was Prince William, possibly because they were all fed up of waiting for the photographer. So Prince Philip probably said what they were all thinking. The British papers loved it and created some excellent punning headlines. The more politically-correct American media however, tended to be shocked. Why, I wonder?

One minute they are saying that the royal family should act more like ‘ordinary’ people and the next minute they are being shocked when they do. Bizarre.


Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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