Renowned for his jokey persona he tends to dispel the restrictions of diplomatic speak and just pops up with the first thing which enters his head.
And why not? He's 91 years old with a great sense of humour.
Some perceive his words as racist or insulting (not normally by those on the receiving end) and it's the media who run with them trying to make a story out of nothing.
Philip is reported as saying to a Filipina nurse that he thinks her country must be half empty as most are over here in the UK running the NHS (note he said "running"). I suspect he meant it as a compliment - after all, he spent a lot of time in hospital since the Queen's Jubilee Pageant on the Thames where he was getting soaked to the skin and having his royal bollocks frozen off, so he probably saw first-hand the various nationalities employed as health care staff, and clearly they made an impression on him.
If I was a Filipino I would regard it as a compliment. Indeed the nurse certainly didn't show any offence, not even in the glint of an eye or slight frown of the forehead - no - she just beamed.
The Daily Mail as usual would highlight that many a true word has been said in jest, and this is yet another example of "our islands being invaded with foreigners taking our jobs, homes, and bleeding the state dry" etc. ad nausea. Their "little Englander" readers have come out in force commenting along the same lines.
Yet the truth is that only 16,000 nurses in the NHS are from the Philippines (according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council) out of a total of 670,000. My simple calculation concludes that this is only 2.4%. Hardly a figure to get "Disgusted of Tonbridge Wells" spluttering over his port and stilton.
Perhaps it's because they are naturally warm, friendly, agreeable and hardworking that Philip has noticed them. Presumably that leaves 97.6% who could learn a lesson or two!
But why did this influx of Filipino nurses happen in the first place? We don't have to go too far back. Such was the lack of investment by previous governments that home grown qualified nurses were in short supply, and the NHS was haemorrhaging as a consequence.
Nurses were undervalued, underpaid and the profession was not considered a good career move. Things had to change. Recruitment and training would take several years, and in the interim, nurses had to come from somewhere.
So off went the managers to Manila and began recruiting in earnest. I'd like to blame the Blair and Brown years, but it was a systematic decline and a salutary lesson how governments use and abuse the nation's beloved jewel in the crown. As they still do.
The cuts are biting, overseas recruitment is down due to work and visa restrictions, and there's a big fear of redundancies.
In 2011 there were 200,000 registered nurses in the Philippines who were unable to find a job, and an estimated 80,000 due to graduate in 2012, all seeking employment in an already saturated market. Victims of global politics and economics outside of their control, and what will happen to them now?
There's always more behind a headline than just a sound bite. Yes, many a true word is said in jest, and a quip can often expose the truth, but it’s a truth which some sections of the media choose to interpret differently.