Britain’s Prince Philip asks woman at community center: ‘Who do you sponge off?’
Queen Elizabeth II’s gaffe-prone husband Prince Philip was in a teasing mood during a visit to a community centre in east London on Thursday.
“Who do you sponge off?” the 94-year-old asked Nusrat Zamir, founder of the Chadwell Heath Asian Women’s Network in east London, during a visit with the queen.
Zamir, a trustee at the Chadwell Heath Community Centre where the group meets, said she took the comment by the Duke of Edinburgh as a joke.
“We’re all married so it’s our husbands… He was just teasing and it’s similar to what I call my husband — ‘the wallet’,” the 35-year-old said.
A royal aide later explained that the remark was a witticism explained by the fact that Zamir had presented the royal couple with a sponge cake.
Zamir said the duke then asked her: “Do you meet to have a gossip?”
Again, she dismissed the remark as playful.
“It’s a familiar question. A lot of people say what the duke said but we do a lot of work,” she said.
During the visit, the duke also teased the centre’s chair Anne Estlea for using the word “community” too much and made fun of one of the guests, Martin Shaw.
“I told Philip I’m a professional fundraiser and he said: ‘Do you have any friends left?’. I said: ‘Not many’,” Shaw recounted.
The prince’s off-the-cuff comments have often made headlines for the wrong reasons.
“You managed not to get eaten, then?” was one typical remark to a British student who had trekked in Papua New Guinea in 1998. On a visit to China in 1986, Philip warned a group of British students: “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”