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Prince Philip: Top 10 Gaffes on 90th Birthday

Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be 90 Friday, defying the years with his vitality and outspokenness. Married to Queen Elizabeth for 60 years, he has been her constant companion and discrete supporter around the world. Philip is a grand-old royal but can also be a right royal liability. He is mostly a loyal and quiet presence with the queen who occasionally lets slip the bounds of royal protocol and makes his own special mark. Here are some of his top reported gaffes from years gone by.

He said during the 1981 recession, "Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed."

"You're too fat to be an astronaut," the Duke of Edinburgh told a 13-year-old boy when visiting a rocket project at Salford University.

At Bristol University's BLADE (Bristol Laboratory for Advanced Dynamic Engineering) facility in 2005, he said, "It doesn't look like much work goes on at this 'uni.'" It had been closed so that he and the queen could officially open it.

"Aren't most of you descended from pirates?" he asked residents of the Cayman Islands.

After accepting a conservation award in Thailand, he said, "Your country is one of the most notorious centers of trading in endangered species in the world."

Speaking to a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland, in 1995, he asked, "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"

During the royal, worldwide Golden Jubilee Tour in 2002, he said. "If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate how much more comfortable aircraft have become. Unless you travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly."

The prince told a meeting of the World Wildlife Fund in 1986: "If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it."

He has even had a word for Elton John's gold Aston Martin. "Oh, it's you that owns that ghastly car...," he said to the legend. "We often see it when driving to Windsor Castle."

And to a designer with a goatee beard at a Garden Party in 2009, he said, "Well, you didn't design your beard too well, did you? You really must try better with your beard."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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