THE Duke of Edinburgh was as incorrigible as ever this week when he met a group of female community workers and asked them: “Who do you sponge off?”
Moments later he asked a professional fundraiser: “Do you have any friends left?”
His comments came just days after he was caught on camera telling a photographer to “just take the f***ing picture” and are just the latest in a lifetime of gaffes.
The duke, 94, was visiting Chadwell Heath Community Centre with the Queen on a visit to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham when he met members of the Chadwell Heath Asian Women’s Network.
Nusrat Zamir, who founded the organisation, 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.”
The trustee, 35, who presented the Queen with a large iced sponge cake, added: “He also said to us, ‘Do you meet to have a gossip’?”
The royal couple were shown round the community centre by its chairwoman Ann Estlea, 55. They met Martin Shaw, from the fundraising company Midas, who said: “It was quite funny because when I told the duke I was a professional fundraiser he said, ‘Do you have any friends left?’. “I said ‘Not many’ and he said ‘I guess so’. “I’m an adviser to charities. I’ve seen this grow from nothing to what is here today. It’s wonderful for the centre that the Queen came to open it.”
Estlea said she was delighted the visit was so relaxed and described how she had a joke with Philip about her constant use of the word “community”.
She said: “The Duke told me off for using the word so many times. I told him I was going to find a thesaurus to find different words for community and he just laughed.”