Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In praise of Prince Philip

Yes, I know. It is not a phrase I thought I would ever use. The Duke of Edinburgh does seem to be, frankly, a total shit. And yet, and yet.

Few of us in New Zealand have ever heard of Gyles Brandreth, who is a household name in England, writing loo books, appearing on TV, doing all the things a publicity-hungry person does, and by all accounts he does them well. Last month he published his diaries, Something Sensational to Read on the Train. The Spectator reviewer Sam Leith writes:
There’s a sort of running joke of Prince Philip — with whom Brandreth first comes in contact through his work at the National Playing Fields Association — thinking he’s a nincompoop. Introduced at a reception to “the President of Pakistan”, Brandreth is hopelessly tongue-tied. Prince Philip returns, and intuits what’s going on: “He’s the president of the Pakistan Playing Fields Association, you idiot. He is not General Zia. Does he look like General Zia? Good God, man, do you know anything?”
Later, Brandreth tells the Duke that he’d had breakfast with “Blake Carrington from Dynasty”. Prince Philip replies:
I haven’t the first idea what you’re talking about. I had breakfast with the Queen.
There’s not much you could say to that.

Later still, Prince Philip comes upon Brandreth among the dignitaries lined up to receive him and the Queen:
‘What are you doing here?’
‘I’m the Member of Parliament.’
‘Good God, are you really?’
What an astoundingly rude man, but imagine how satisfying it must be to be able to talk like that to people.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You know that Helen Mirren film 'the Queen' or whatever it was called, a few years' back?

One of the early scenes is at Balmoral, shot from outside. A lone bagpiper is greeting the day.

I had an immediate image of the boot coming flying out of Prince Philip's window, followed by a string of curses.

Got the giggles, quite badly, to the puzzlement of the Better Half and the people sitting behind us in the cinema.

And in my NSHO, it would have improved the film if they'd done that.