The Duke of Edinburgh pointed out a bearded man and asked ‘Is that a terrorist?’ as he greeted crowds at Sandringham, it has been claimed. Buckingham Palace has declined to comment.
The Queen’s husband, 96, was attending St Magdalene church, close to the royal family home in north Norfolk, on New Year’s Eve. Accompanied by his daughter Anne, the Princess Royal, it was there that he allegedly made the remark.
A witness, who claimed to have overheard the incident, was quoted by the Sun as saying: “The man appeared to be his with wife and child. Philip was wishing lots of people a Happy New Year and then he spotted this guy with his distinctive beard.
“He pointed at him in a funny way and turned to one of his Royal bodyguards, saying: ‘Is that a terrorist?’ He was obviously having a little joke, but he said it within earshot of the man who burst out laughing and appeared to find the whole thing hilarious. I think Philip knew he was going to be overheard.”
The royal also joked with Alison Leggett, 54, of Hunstanton, Norfolk, after seeing her 18-month-old fox-red labrador lounging on soggy grass, telling her: “I hope he hasn’t got rising damp,” according to the Daily Mail.
The congregation, which also included the Queen, then entered the church and sang a variety of Christmas carols including ‘It Came upon the Midnight Clear’, ‘As with Gladness Men of Old’ and ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.’
The Duke took a step back from public life last year but has seemingly not lost his notorious penchant for provocative remarks. While in Australia in 2002, he asked a group of Aboriginals “Do you still throw spears at each other?” and in 1986, he told British students in China: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
In 1999, pointing to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh, he said: “It looks as it if was put in by an Indian.” In 2009, after looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a palace reception for British Indians, he said: “There’s a lot of your family in tonight.”
Prince Philip also once asked a disabled 60-year-old man on a mobility scooter: “How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?” And when listening to Elton John perform in 2001, he said: “I wish he’d turn the microphone off.”