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As Prince Charles Starts 5-Day Tour of Indonesia, His Father, Prince Philip Declares "Tourism is Prostitution"

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Isn't it about time that British government bestowed another official title to the style of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh?

The suggestion for yet another "royal" title is prompted by The Prince's latest gaffe, delivered during an official visit to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana last week when he declared, "We don't need tourists Ė they ruin cities," adding, "tourism is national prostitution."

This latest undiplomatic tongue-slip joins a long history of similar faux pas that should earn the Duke of Edinburgh the additional honorific of "Duke of Hazard, Royal Jester to the Commonwealth."

But, then again, these additional titles might get lost in an already burdensome style that reads:

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, Member of the Order of Merit, Extra Companion of the Queen's Service Order, Companion of the Order of Australia, Chief Grand Commander of the Order of Logohu, Lord of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

The World's Most Kept Man

While tourism does, no doubt, have much to answer for - we think that branding the worldwide industry of tourism as salacious procurers and prostitute is, perhaps, just a wee tad over the top. And, frankly, it's a bit hard to take such an accusation seriously when it is hurled at the travel industry's feet by a man who is a Greek refugee who became a naturalized British citizen; who refused to invite his German relatives to his post-war wedding because of their Nazi Party links; who renounced his Greek citizenship and abandoned his Greek Orthodox religion Ė all done in order to assume a position two steps behind ERII as the "world's most kept man."

Has creeping senility dulled Prince Philp's ability to know on which side his bread is buttered? Branding tourism workers as prostitutes is unlikely to widen the Duke of Edinburgh's circle of admirers, least of all back home in Great Britain where millions of pounds are spent each year trying to promote U.K. tourism.

Certainlly the irony is not lost when considering the contradictions inherent in being branded "prostitutes" by an aging dandy who drives around in very large fancy cars, is seen on State occasions to wear entirely too much bling, and, in contrast to his outspoken disdain for tourism, opens the doors of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to upwards of one million visitors each year.

To avoid being charged with lese majeste, it may be best to grant the 87 year-old Consort a little slack and merely use the occasion of his latest outburst as an opportunity to reflect back on a long list of often humurous past royal blunders.

Here's a brief sampling:

● Asking "and what exotic part of the world do you come from then?" to Lord Taylor of Warwick. Lord Taylor, who's black, replied, "Birmingham."

● Insulting one-third of the world's population when, at a World Wildlife Fund dinner, he ingratiated himself with the Sinitic race by saying "if it swims and it's not a submarine the Chinese will eat it."

● On a roll in his continuing failure to make friends with the Chinese, while visiting China in 1986 told a told a group of British students, "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed."

● Paying homage to his Royal Russian ancestry and failing to amuse his Russian hosts during a visit to that country, Prince Philip said, "the bastards murdered half my family."

● Seeking to fan century-olds animosity between London and Scotland, he asked a driving instructor in Scotland: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"

● Demonstrating his prowess in communicating with young people, he earnestly asked a group of young people at a Bangladeshi youth club in Central London: "So who's on drugs here?"

● On a visit to Australia he approached an indigenous Australian and asked: "Still throwing spears?"

● When he met the President of Nigeria, who was dressed in traditional African robes, he said: "You look like you're ready for bed!"

● During a visit to the Cayman Islands he asked a local: "Aren't most of you descended from pirates?"

While Prince Philip was busily making friends and influencing members of the international tourism community, his Son, The Prince of Wales, is "on tour" in Indonesia maintaining a properly British "stiff upper lip," refusing to comment on his Father's verbal gymnastics.

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