The publicity juggernaut has been set in motion for a new book of the Duke's gaffes out in time for Christmas so the media royal-watchers have been put on high alert to capture any fresh, headline-worthy lapse in word or deed.
And, sure enough, he's come up with the goods again:
Prince Philip spotted with finger in his ears during Royal Variety PerformanceQuite understandable, really, given a line-up that includes the shrill, nasal tones of one Alicia Keys, presumably performing her latest single (here on youtube, if you must), a work of staggering monotony at a level of amplification designed to enhance the Bacchanalian frenzy of the short-skirts-and-stilettos Saturday night crowd.
And it gets worse:
She performed alongside British favourites Rod Stewart, Girls Aloud, One Direction and Britain’s Got Talent winners Pudsey and Ashleigh Butler.In the unlikely event of this assortment performing for the royals alone, Prince Philip's actions could have been seen as a slight, but as part of a huge audience, he should surely be allowed more leeway - after all, how many octogenarians would have chosen to sit through that lot?
What's more, I doubt that many of the performers or their agents were more thrilled at the prospect of Her Majesty's presence than at the TV exposure and column inches the event would give them.
I have to admit, I'm rather puzzled by the inclusion of the New York born-and-bred Ms Keys in any case; shouldn't the emphasis be on home-grown talent? Or is promoting the latest single in the hit machine the real purpose behind it all?
Frankly, the Royal Variety Performance is a bit of a mystery all round these days, given the diversity of entertainment on offer. What we are left with is a kind of national celebration of the convention that obliges grandparents to greet the antics of their infantile descendants with slightly baffled but indulgent and affectionate applause.
That being so, is it really a matter for comment when the nation's proxy grandfather finds the children just a bit too noisy for comfort? For goodness' sake, go and find some real news to report!
Here in the Tavern, we are raising our tankards to a man with a wicked sense of humour, a sharp tongue and a thoroughly impressive dedication to duty.