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Many another co-worker has felt the bite of Philip's sarcasm. Said one of his close associates: "He doesn't mind putting himself out for people it's his duty to entertain. But when he wants facts from someone who is supposed to have them and he finds out they don't or are indifferentwell, then he can be bloody rude." He once interrupted a long-winded scientist in the midst of a long lecture, to remark: "That's all very well, but you still haven't found out what makes my bath water gurgle." On another occasion, he snapped at an admiral whose demeanor indicated he had drunk his lunch: "Well, Admiral, what do you thinkthat is, if you are still capable of thinking?"
Steady, Now. But when he likes, Philip can turn on a charm that is dazzling, does it with an easy irreverence royalty seldom achieves. Walking down a line of spectators, he noticed a young girl pretending to swoon as he passed. Philip grinned at her: "Steady, now." On another occasion, a young matron took a look at him and murmured: "Mmmmm." Philip heard her, looked her up and down, and said: "MMMMMMmmm." He may examine a Buckingham Palace menu in elaborate French, remark cheerily to the guests: "Ah, good. Fish and chips again."
Last year he persuaded the Queen to let him take the royal yacht Britannia on a four-month tour of the Antarctic and the lesser British island possessions in the Indian Ocean. This was the separation that later set off the rumors in the U.S. press of a royal rift. Elizabeth's subjects, however, were more sensible. Australians were charmed when he talked to wharf laborers, called in small groups of representative citizens for cocktails and dinner and quizzed them on Commonwealth affairs. New Zealanders remember him fondly at a lunch in Christchurch, breaking into the speeches in his own honor to propose a toast to the mayor, who, Philip had discovered, was celebrating his wedding anniversary, remember still more fondly a reveler shouting a last farewell as the royal yacht left the wharf: "See you later, alligator." Amid the hushed silence from officialdom, Philip's final message to the loyal citizens of New Zealand came clearly across the still water: "In a while, crocodile." Wrote the Sydney Daily Telegraph: "The Duke has given a new conception of monarchy to Australia by his easy camaraderie and complete informality. He has made it a more tangible, more personal and more folksy institution than it has ever appeared to us before."