Prince Philip had been accused of making a risque gaffe while meeting crowds at Sandringham, allegedly pointing to a bearded man and asking: 'Is that a terrorist?'
The Duke of Edinburgh is said to have cracked the edgy joke as he led a procession of royals and guests on a walk to the morning service at St Mary Magdalene church.
The 96-year-old, who retired from royal duties earlier this year, was said to be chatting to Princess Anne when he spotted a tall man sporting a long ginger beard.
An onlooker in the crowd said: 'Philip was wishing lots of people a Happy New Year and then he spotted this guy with his distinctive beard.
The Duke of Edinburghis said to have cracked the edgy joke as he led a procession of royals and guests on a walk to the morning service at St Mary Magdalene church
The 96-year-old, who retired from royal duties earlier this year, was said to be chatting to Princess Anne (shown) when he spotted a tall man sporting a long ginger beard
'He pointed at him in a funny way and turned to one of his Royal bodyguards, saying: "Is that a terrorist?".
'He was obviously having a little joke, but he said it within earshot of the man who burst out laughing and appeared to find the whole thing hilarious.
'I think Philip knew he was going to be overheard. I'm sure Philip didn't mean any harm.
'His grandson Prince Harry has a ginger beard, so perhaps Philip had been cracking jokes about that over Christmas.'The bearded man left Sandringham before he could be identified.
Prince Philip, who completed more than 22,000 solo engagement since 1952, has courted controversy through risque jokes on several occasions.
Known to make frank remarks, he once told a group of British students in China: 'If you stay here much longer, you'll all be slitty-eyed.'
Ian Smith 39, a lawyer who was with wife and children added: 'Everyone knows Prince Philip has got a sense of humour, although some people night have though it was a risqué comment.'
Prince Philip was accused of making the gaffe while meeting crowds at Sandringham, allegedly pointing to a bearded man and asking: 'Is that a terrorist?'
The 91-year-old Queen, who was wearing a teal coloured coat with a black collar and matching hat, was driven to the church with Sophie Countess of Wessex in her maroon-coloured Bentley
The Queen smiled as she emerged from the car and waved twice at the 600-strong crowd before walking up the steps into the 16th century church
Philip walked to the church beside, Anne who was wearing a green coat and red scarf.
The air were followed behind by Anne's husband Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince Edward and his 14-year-old daughter Lady Louise, and other guests staying at Sandringham House.
The 91-year-old Queen, who was wearing a teal coloured coat with a black collar and matching hat, was driven to the church with Sophie Countess of Wessex in her maroon-coloured Bentley.
She smiled as she emerged from the car and waved twice at the 600-strong crowd before walking up the steps into the 16th century church.
There was no sign of the Duke or Duchess of Cambridge or Prince Harry and his American actress fiancée Meghan Markle.
The Queen wore a teal pea coat with a matching hat adorned with black velvet trim and gloves as she made her way into the church
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, beamed as she arrived at the service in a checked coat and black hat
During his walk to the service, Philip also joked with Alison Leggett, 54, of Hunstanton in Norfolk, after seeing her Labrador as he laid on the wet ground.
He pointed at her pet, saying: 'I hope he hasn't got rising damp.'
Philip seemed in a more politically correct mood and avoided saying anything controversial as he walked back to Sandringham House while chatting once again to Princess Anne and wishing several members of the crowd a Happy New Year.
But once again his attention was drawn to a dog in the shape of a large rare breed Black Russian Terrier called Boris, owned by Neil Richards, 55, and wife Debbie, 54, of Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.
Mr Richards said: 'Boris is an unusual dog and quite big. Philip asked what breed he was and when my wife said he was a Black Russian Terrier, he looked surprised and joked "A terrier?"
'It was nice that he spoke to us. It is a good example of his sense of humour. We brought Boris to see the Royals at the church two-years-ago, but nobody noticed him then.'
Buckingham Palace refused to comment on the alleged joke by Prince Philip when approached by MailOnline.
Prince Philip, who completed more than 22,000 solo engagement since 1952, has courted controversy through risque jokes on several occasions
Oh Philip! Did you really say that? The Duke's best-loved gaffes
The Duke's most infamous gaffe came in 1986 when he told a British student in China: ‘If you stay here much longer you’ll be slitty-eyed’
‘I declare this thing open, whatever it is.’ During a visit to Canada in 1969.
‘It looks like a tart’s bedroom,’ — on seeing plans for the Duke and Duchess of York’s house at Sunninghill Park in 1988.
To a driving instructor in Scotland, during a 1995 walkabout: ‘How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them through the test?’
Pointing at an old-fashioned fusebox in a factory near Edinburgh in 1999: ‘It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.’
In Kenya, in 1984, after accepting a small gift from a local woman: ‘You are a woman, aren’t you?’
In Australia, in 1992, when asked to stroke a Koala bear: ‘Oh no, I might catch some ghastly disease.’
‘You can’t have been here that long, you haven’t got a pot belly’ — to a Briton in Budapest, Hungary, in 1993.
‘Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?’ — to a resident of the Cayman Islands in 1994.
At a tree-planting ceremony in Hyde Park in 2011, the Queen met 16-year-old Army cadet Stephen Menary, who lost an arm and most of his sight in an IRA bomb attack. When the Queen asked him how much he could see, Philip interjected: ‘Not a lot, judging by the tie he’s wearing.’
‘You managed not to get eaten, then?’ — to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea in 1998.
‘I wish he’d turn the microphone off’ — muttered at the Royal Variety Performance as he watched Sir Elton John perform, 2001.
‘You look like a suicide bomber,’ to a young female officer wearing a bullet-proof vest on Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, in 2002.
To young designer Stephen Judge in July 2009: ‘Well, you didn’t design your beard too well, did you?’
Addressing multi-ethnic Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity, who are from London, in 2009: ‘Are you all one family?’
‘Children go to school because their parents don’t want them in the house’ — prompting giggles from Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban after campaigning for the right of girls to go to school without fear — October 2013.
To the Queen at her coronation: ‘Where did you get that hat?’
On Princess Anne: ‘If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she’s not interested.’
To disabled comedian Adam Hills, who has a prosthetic foot, in 2009: ‘You could smuggle a bottle of gin out of the country in that.’
He told Paraguay’s dictator General Alfredo Stroessner: ‘It’s a pleasure to be in a country that isn’t ruled by its people.’
Speaking to singer Tom Jones after the 1969 Royal Variety Performance: ‘What do you gargle with, pebbles?’
In 2010 he asked disabled mobility scooter rider David Miller, 60: ‘How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?’
After being told Madonna was singing the Die Another Day theme at the film’s world premiere at the Albert Hall in 2002 he asked her: ‘Are we going to need ear plugs?’
In Ghana in 1999 he asked an MP: ‘How many members of Parliament do you have?’ When told 200, he replied: ‘That’s about the right number. We have 650 and most of them are a complete bloody waste of time.’
In a state visit to Australia in 2002, the Prince asked Aborigines: 'Do you still throw spears at each other?'
Overheard in 2005 at Bristol University’s engineering facility, which had been closed so that he could officially open it: ‘It doesn’t look like much work goes on at this university.’
As he and the Queen walked down the aisle through a fog of holy smoke in a birthday service in a high church in 2004, he asked: ‘Is this a celebration or a cremation?’
After a meal of venison at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 2008, Philip spotted a herd of deer in the grounds and asked the bursar: ‘How many of those buggers did you have to shoot for lunch then?’
Then, on being told the supply had come from Kent he quipped: ‘Well, don’t tell Charles because he likes everyone to buy local!’
In 2008, to a soldier whose head had been injured by shrapnel from an explosive device packed with ball-bearings: ‘Does your head rattle?’
In 1955, when asked what he felt about his life: ‘I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy frankly.’
At a reception to honour Australians, Philip met the husband of Gill Hicks, who lost her legs in the July 2005 London bombings. ‘You’re not Australian!’ said Philip.
‘No, actually I’m not important, I’m just here because of my wife,’ he said. ‘Tell me about it!’ said the Prince.
On a 1961 visit to Sheffield’s Hallam University, he was shown a plastic dummy which talked, used in medical training. The dummy lay in bed saying: ‘I don’t feel well.’ Philip replied: ‘Frankly you don’t look well!’
'You look like you're ready for bed', Prince Philip to the president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo who was in his country's national dress in 2003
To Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins in 2007: ‘How are your vocal cords?’ Miss Jenkins: ‘Fine thank you.' Philip replied: ‘No boils or warts on them yet?’
During the same walkabout in Kent in 2012 where he joked about being arrested for unzipping a woman’s dress, he spotted 90-year-old Barbara Dubery sitting in a wheelchair, wrapped in a foil blanket to fend off the cold . . . and asked: ‘Are they going to put you in the oven next?’
At a Buckingham Palace dinner in 2011 Philip listened to tenor Russell Watson’s stirring rendition of Jerusalem.
As it ended he said: ‘Why do you need a bloody microphone? They could have heard you in outer space.’ He then turned to the singer’s partner Louise Harris and added: ‘You must go deaf listening to him all the time.’
During a 1991 visit to Swansea he met four local belly dancers and told them: ‘I thought Eastern women just sat around smoking pipes and eating sweets all day.’
On a visit to Hull in 2009 he met victims of bad floods, many of whom had lost their homes. Bidding farewell to council leader Carl Minns, he said: ‘Keep your head above water!’
At a G20 summit, the Queen asked of Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi: ‘Why does he talk so loudly?’ Philip replied: ‘He is Italian, my dear, how else would he sell his ice creams?’
‘Are you responsible for making people overweight in Crawley?’ — to the manager of a cake shop on a 2006 visit to the town.
At a 2008 Buckingham Palace reception he was introduced to Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett. Thinking she was a film technician he asked: ‘Do you know how to fix my broken DVD player? There’s a cord sticking out of the back and I don’t know where it goes.’
During a 2009 Buckingham Palace reception for British Indians, Philip glanced at business chief Atul Patel’s name badge — and remarked: ‘There’s a lot of your family in tonight!’
On a state visit to Britain in 2015, President Xi Jinping of China was shown some Chinese treasures from the Royal Collection. Philip told him: ‘You can’t claim any of them back — we check your luggage before you go!’
For a 2016 programme about the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, presenter Phillip Schofield performed a wing walk.
‘Why are you doing that?’ asked Philip. ‘Does someone not like you? Open your mouth up there and you’ll blow up like a balloon.’
He later introduced Schofield to a parachutist saying, ‘Meet a fellow idiot.’
At a Buckingham Palace reception to thank those involved in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, Prince Philip met Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
‘Who are you?’ he asked. Hunt explained he was Health Secretary but that he’d been Culture Secretary during the Jubilee and Olympics. ‘Well they do move you people on a lot,’ said Philip, walking off.
In 2006 an official at a Canadian airport asked the Duke: ‘What was your flight like, Your Royal Highness?’ Philip: ‘Have you ever flown in a plane?’ Official: ‘Oh yes, Sir, many times.’ Philip: ‘Well, it was just like that.’
On a visit to open the headquarters of GB Airways at Gatwick Airport in 2000, Philip chatted to pilots and cabin crew and told them: ‘When you think of all the publicity about planes being dangerous to fly in, I wonder, why aren’t all of you dead?’
In 2009, a young man told him he’d worked with the Samaritans. He replied: ‘You didn’t try to commit suicide did you?’
As he sat with the Queen at the Royal Variety Show in 2014, watching a male stripper scene from The Full Monty, Philip told their biographer Gyles Brandreth: ‘Don’t worry, she’s been to Papua New Guinea and seen it all before!’
On a visit to the GCHQ building in Cheltenham in 2004, Labour MP Chris Mullin asked Philip about the modern design, saying: ‘Would Charles approve?’ ‘Charles who?’ replied the Duke.
His most infamous gaffe came in 1986 when he told a British student in China: ‘If you stay here much longer you’ll be slitty-eyed.’
In 2005, a female reporter asked him: ‘I wondered if you might like to talk to me?’ He replied: ‘You can carry on wondering.’
After meeting Gogglebox regulars Sandra Martin and Sandy Channer in 2016: ‘Well, I won’t be watching you, that’s for sure!’
In 2006, to comedian David Walliams after he swam the English Channel for Sport Relief: ‘Is this the nut who swam the channel?’ Turning to Walliams’s mother, he added: ‘Any more nuts in your family?’
AS the Queen opened a dental hospital in 2015 in Birmingham, Philip asked the crowd: ‘Are you all here to get your teeth done? We don’t want to jump the queue.’
At a 2014 reception for a disability charity, Philip saw ex-rugby player Alastair Hignell in a high-tech wheelchair that could be raised or lowered as required. He said: ‘That must be good for cocktail parties.’
He then told BBC disability correspondent Nikki Fox — who was in a normal mobility scooter: ‘You should get yourself one!’
- Extracted from Prince Philip: Wise Words And Golden Gaffes by Phil Dampier and Ashley Roberts, published by Barzipan Publishing at £8.95.