Roger Lewis of the Daily Mail picks the best books to slip into a Christmas Stocking.
Had not Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten become consort to the Queen, it is said that he’d have risen to the top in the Royal Navy. I disagree. I think he’d have been appointed BBC Head of Light Entertainment. (He was made Admiral of the Fleet anyway.)
Prince Philip never made a ‘gaffe’ in his life. His one-liners and put-downs are worthy of Groucho Marx. Being ‘downright rude’ has been a survival mechanism, as he traipses here and there on tedious Royal Tours. (His illustrious position also gives him immunity – no one dares answer back or split his lip.)
The man was only speaking the truth when he said to the mayor of Stoke on Trent: ‘Ghastly place, isn’t it?’
Or to an inhabitant of Hull: ‘Still downtrodden, then?’
His refusal to be impressed by celebrities is admirable. ‘When did you first realise you had the voice of a mouse?’ he asked Simon Pegg. When he met Cate Blanchett he asked her to come and fix his DVD. ‘There’s a cord sticking out of the back and I don’t know where it goes.’
The Prince likes to tease the disabled – ‘How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?’ he asked a woman on a mobility scooter. ‘Is there any sign of intelligent life in this classroom?’ he asked a teacher.
Asked if the Queen would be shocked by the Full Monty, her husband didn’t think it likely. ‘She’s been to Papua New Guinea and seen it all before.’