Britain’s Prince Philip has been accused of making a gaffe on a walkabout at Sandringham after he reportedly pointed at a bearded member of the public and asked: “Is that a terrorist?”
The Queen’s husband, 96, was attending St Magdalene church, close to the royal family home in north Norfolk, on New Year’s Eve along with his daughter Anne, the Princess Royal, when he allegedly made the remark.
Philip spotted a tall man with a long ginger beard and made the comment to his minders, according to an unnamed witness quoted by the Daily Mail and Sun, who said the man in question found the apparent joke hilarious.
“The man appeared to be his with wife and child,” the Sun reported the witness as saying.
“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.”
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 stepped away from public life this year but has seemingly not lost his notorious penchant for provocative remarks.
Buckingham Palace has been contacted for comment.