Speculation mounted yesterday over the health of the Duke of Edinburgh with several tabloid newspapers reporting that the Queen of England’s husband and consort seems to be suffering from an unknown illness which is rendering him ‘almost pleasant’.
As another gaffe-free day came and went veteran Royal reporter Dave Prent said; ‘We’re all getting worried about him. Usually with this Royal stuff you start a rumour, it gains a bit of momentum, and when Buck House issues a statement refuting it, we have a story. But this is different, we can make up all we like but the way it is at the moment it isn’t going to stick. In thirty years of following him I’ve never seen anything like it. Not a word out of place, very courteous to everyone he speaks to and if you ask for an interview, well, he practically offers to sit on your lap. There’s something seriously wrong with him.’
Tabloid hacks have been busy rooting through old medical stories on the Prince in the hope of finding clues to his current state of health but have had to conclude that whatever he’s suffering from is neither malignant nor aggressive and that the Prince himself is showing symptoms of being completely benign. Another Royal watcher said; ‘It’s getting beyond a joke when we can’t make a fuss about his off-the-cuff remarks. We’ll have to do some proper work if he doesn’t return to form soon, or I suppose we’ll have to just make something else up about one of the lesser Royals. Again.’
Prince Philip, 87, has in the past been credited with a long string of controversial gaffes including the infamous ‘slitty eyes’ comment to a British student who he thought had stayed too long in China, his assumption that a piece of technology looked like it had been ‘put together by an Indian’, and persuading Prince Charles to marry Diana Spencer. ‘They were great times,’ said the editor of the London Evening Standard ruefully, ‘and we wish the Duke a speedy return to rude health.’
However Buckingham Palace has been quick to dampen the rumours. A Royal aide said; ‘It’s all a lot of nonsense, Prince Philip is in top form. Only this morning he slapped the arse of a blonde housekeeper and then made monkey gestures and noises to a group of dignitaries from the Congo. OK, so he hasn’t made any public gaffes but he’s still the same old Phil we know and love. Shit, here he comes now.’