Prince Philip has already chosen to say idiots of choice like “You managed not to get eaten then?” In conversation with a British hiker in Papua New Guinea in 1998 and famously, “If you stay here much longer, you will have thin eyes,” he told a British student in China in 1986.
Charles, on the other hand, was more timid when he dropped a rudely famous comment – but perhaps did not expect to be caught up with the latest sound recording technology.
It was in 2005, during a photo shoot in the Klosters ski resort in the Swiss Alps, when the Prince of Wales was asked about his upcoming marriage to Camilla.
The enthusiastic journalist was Nicholas Witchell, a seasoned operator who, since 1998, had been the royal correspondent for the BBC.
In 1997, Witchell was the first journalist to announce the death of Princess Diana, Charles’ first wife.
For some reason, on this cold day in the Swiss Alps, Charles, surrounded by him and his two sons William and Harry by television cameras, microphones, and reporters, let his true feelings escape about the BBC man.
Witchell had asked what Charles thought of his upcoming nuptials – William had just answered a similar question.
A little cheeky, the Prince of Wales replied: “I’m very glad you heard about it anyway”, before his face twisted into an awkward, slightly exasperated smile.
But then, through his clenched teeth, Charles mumbles in a breath: “Bloody people. I cannot bear this man. He’s so awful. It really is. “
Whether or not he expects his comment to be repeated is debatable, but there is no doubt that he could see dozens of microphones sharpened for each word.
William, to his credit, remains composed despite his father’s words and continues with a slight response.
“As long as I don’t lose the rings. I have a responsibility and I have to do something wrong, “he jokes.
William was to attend the wedding the following week.
The clip recently resurfaced on Channel 5’s The Royals on Holiday.
Ten years after that day, Witchell and the prince had an uncomfortable reunion.
The royal correspondent met face to face with the Prince of Wales during an environmental fundraiser in Washington DC in March 2015.
It was thought to be the first time the two men had met since the heir to the throne was caught mumbling his clipping.
But the prince seemed unrepentant to the reporter outside the event.
He gave a brief response when Witchell asked why he “still cares so much” about environmental issues.
“Well, I’m going to turn the tide,” replied Charles. “I think you’d be more surprised if I didn’t care about these things.
“But I think in particular what I’ve been talking about now, there is a lot to worry about. “
The Prince then quickly got into his car.
Speaking in 2014 about the incident, Witchell said, “There has never been an apology, and why should there be? He was probably absolutely right. You know, horrible man.
“You might consider this to be the best thing that has ever happened to me, because it has shown that it is our job as BBC journalists to report fairly and accurately, but not to seek approval. We are not there to be loved. “
Reports suggest that, in 2005, Charles may have hoped that the cameras would leave him and his sons alone for their week’s vacation while preparations for his marriage continued at home.
In addition to the commentary on Witchell, Charles was also caught mumbling “I hate doing this” and “Bloody people” when he smirked.
This day was also famous for an engaging interaction between Charles and his young sons.
While the journalists were busy in their media, Charles asked William and Harry, “Am I putting my arms around you? “
William replied, “No, don’t, but you can take off the horrible glasses. “
Charles said, “Don’t be rude with my glasses, I couldn’t stand it if you were. “
A cheeky photographer then told the royal trio to “look like you know you”, forcing the princes to lean on their father who puts his arms around his sons.
Charles then said to his sons, “What are we doing? “
And William replied, “Keep smiling, keep smiling. “
As the clip began to circulate around the world – far more of a scoop than anything the hopeful hacks could have dreamed of bagging that day in the Alps – the Palace was quick to provide explanations to mitigate the impact.
Photos of Prince William seated next to his then-girlfriend and classmates in St. Andrews, Kate Middleton, on a restaurant terrace the night before, had appeared in the press, and aides suggested that the prince was troubled by this.
His then press secretary, Paddy Harverson, said at the time, “We recognize that we cannot prevent photographers from taking these photos, but we hope every year that they will respect the privacy of the family and friends and their need for a private vacation. There were paps taking photos all day long. ”
At the time, Harry was on his way to the Sandhurst Military Academy while William was to graduate from college that summer.
And it was estimated that press interest in the lives of young princes would begin to increase significantly, as an informal agreement to respect their privacy during their childhood – and in light of the tragedy that struck their mother – has become just as informal. end.
It was later that Harverson admitted that his former boss had some regret at saying what he had done that day.
“Nicholas was in the firing line when the prince expressed his general frustration with the paparazzi and it spilled over to the first person to ask a question,” he said.
“It was not personal. He regrets having said it. He really didn’t want to take it out on Nicholas. “