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I say, do you chaps still chuck spears at each other?; Philip's stunning gaffe in Oz.


THE grimace on the Queen's face says it all. Prince Philip has put his foot in it yet again.

The legendary bungler managed to offend Aborigines on a trip to a cultural centre in Australia.

The Duke of Edinburgh had been introduced to members of two different tribes. Then he asked a tribal elder: "Do you still throw spears at each other?"

Tribal leader William Brin said: "I wasn't exactly offended but I was surprised he said that. I just told him we don't do that any more."

The quip enraged other Aborigines. Spearing is an ancient form of punishment among the tribes, reserved for crimes such as theft, assault or manslaughter.

Aborigines are especially touchy about racial slurs. They have been fighting for years for land rights in their own country.

And they want an apology for the "stolen generation" - Aborigine children taken from their homes to be raised by white families.

The latest insult came as the royal couple toured the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns, Queensland, as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The prince's comment made Aboriginal musician Paul Shillingworth furious.

He said: "The prince is so bloody stupid he probably thinks Rolf Harris is an indigenous person.

"The remark shows he is just plain ignorant - he needs a bit of educating.

"He should have more sense than to say an insulting thing like that." The duke's gaffes are legendary.

He asked an Oban driving instructor: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?"

And he told British students in China: "If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed."

Meanwhile, staff at a five-star Aussie hotel have been ordered to watch their manners when the royal couple come calling.

The Novotel Twin Waters in Coolum is hosting the Commonwealth summit, which begins today. Workers have ordered to ditch "G'day" for a more formal welcome.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 2, 2002
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