FROM slights on the education system to repeated jibes at our drinking habits, it is a collection of barbs aimed at Scotland from one of the Royal Family’s most notorious figures.
A new book which collects a series of gaffes and insults made by the Duke of Edinburgh over the decades has devoted an entire chapter to his ill-conceived remarks made against Scots.
Only a Scotsman can really survive a Scottish educationThe Duke of Edinburgh
The book, I know I am rude but it is fun: The Royals and the rest of us, as seen by Prince Philip, is published today to coincide with the Duke’s 94th birthday, which extends his position as the longest-serving consort in British history, a record previously held by Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III.
Among the public, however, he is perhaps better known for his unerring ability to say the least appropriate thing at an official function.
The new book is described as an “affectionate compendium” by its author, Nigel Cawthorne, a London-based former national newspaper journalist. He said he hopes the book will provide a lighthearted insight into the royal world in which Philip “traipses around rather than being professionally qualified in something”.
While several chapters focus on his overseas visits, his dealings with the press and the relationship he enjoys with the Queen, it is the section which focuses on Scotland that contains some of his biggest blunders.
One of the earliest examples picked up by Mr Cawthorne came just six years after his marriage to the Queen when, in 1953, he was named chancellor of Edinburgh University.
The Gordonstoun-educated Philip remarked: “In education, if in nothing else, the Scotsman knows what is best for him. Indeed, only a Scotsman can really survive a Scottish education.”
Two years later, meanwhile, he hit upon a theme that would prove familiar in the decades ahead when he made reference to the nation’s relationship with the bottle.
The insult was delivered when Philip was given the Freedom of the City of Glasgow in 1955. At first he struck onlookers as a gracious recipient, saying that it was a “very great honour” to be presented with and praising the ceremony as one “full of charm of dignity”.
The kind tone did not last, however. Making reference to an old music hall song, he added: “Unlike the ownership of Glasgow, which, I understand, can be obtained for a couple of drinks on a Saturday night.”
Singling out Philip’s “constantly forthright speechmaking” and his “fearless mocking of official ceremonies”, Mr Cawthorne said the anthology of anecdotes and sayings was a “rude celebration of daily life in Royal circles”.