Philip teases women on community centre visit

Asks them: 'Who do you sponge off?'


Royal visit to Barking and Dagenham
The Duke of Edinburgh was back to his uncompromising best during a visit to a community centre, asking one group of women: "Who do you sponge off?"

Philip's comment was taken in good humour by Nusrat Zamir, a trustee of the Chadwell Heath Community Centre, the Queen and Duke's first stop during their tour of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to mark its 50th anniversary.

Last week Philip looked annoyed as he appeared to utter a four-letter rebuke to an RAF photographer during a photocall with Battle of Britain veterans, but he was in good humour and a mischievous mood during the trip to east London.

Mrs Zamir, who founded the Chadwell Heath Asian Women's Network which meets at the centre, said: "The Duke said to us 'who do you sponge off?' We're all married so it's our husbands.

"He was just teasing and it's similar to what I call my husband - the wallet."

Familiar question

The trustee, 35, from Chadwell Heath, who presented the Queen with a large iced sponge cake, added: "He also said to us 'do you meet to have a gossip?'

"It's a familiar question, a lot of people say what the Duke said but we do a lot of work. When we organised a fair in March that took a lot of organising and time."

Philip chatted freely with the guests invited to the centre which is run by local volunteers, supported by the local authority and opened in September. It provides a library and hosts a range of services from exercise activities, literacy lessons for children and mother and child classes.

When Philip chatted to Martin Shaw, he poked fun at his job.

The guest said: "I told Philip I'm a professional fundraiser and he said 'do you have any friends left?' I said 'not many'."

And the Queen's consort even "told off" the centre's chair Anne Estlea from using the word community.

She said the royal couple put her at ease and seemed to enjoy touring the building.

He just laughed at me

"It felt comfortable, it felt easy, it felt right. They were so interested in everything we had to show them, what we've been doing and how we worked with the council to create the community centre," she said.

She added: "The Duke told me off for using the word community so many times, so I asked him what I was supposed to say and he just laughed at me.

"And as they left and I was shaking his hand I told him I was going to find a thesaurus to find a different word for community and he just laughed."

Prince Philip Swears at Photographer ... Royal Pain in the Arse

Prince Philip: The F-Bomb-Dropping Duke of Edinburgh