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Designer says he wears Prince Philip’s insult about his goatee as a badge of honour

His sharp-tongued wit may have raised eyebrows, but those on the receiving end of some of Prince Philip’s off-the-cuff remarks have paid warm tribute to him.

Designer Stephen Judge, who was teased by the Duke over his goatee beard, said the encounter had become a badge of honour.

‘To this day, I can remember word-for-word exactly what he said,’ he told The Mail on Sunday. ‘He shook my hand and asked me, “What do you do?” I told him I was a designer and he said, “Well, you are obviously not a hirsute designer.”

Designer Stephen Judge (pictured), was teased by Prince Philip over his goatee beard at a Buckingham Palace in 2009. He said the encounter has become a badge of honour

Designer Stephen Judge (pictured), was teased by Prince Philip over his goatee beard at a Buckingham Palace in 2009. He said the encounter has become a badge of honour

Designer Stephen Judge (pictured), was teased by Prince Philip over his goatee beard at a Buckingham Palace in 2009. He said the encounter has become a badge of honour

‘I stood there thinking, I don’t know where he’s going with this. As I paused, he smiled and said, “Your beard man, your poor frustrated beard. If you are going to grow a beard, grow a real beard!” Everyone laughed and he moved on.’

Mr Judge, 49, from Bedfordshire, had been invited to Buckingham Palace in 2009 as a representative of the Chartered Society of Designers. He had been sporting a small triangular goatee since leaving university in 1996 and admits that his encounter with Philip led to him treating it with even more pride. He said: ‘In tribute to the Prince, I grew a full naval-style beard shortly afterwards and raised £700 for charity, but the goatee is what I stick with.’

He added: ‘Prince Philip knew when he met people from the street he needed to put them at ease and make them feel comfortable. 

‘You expect him to act in a certain way but there were no airs and graces and when he drops in some cheeky banter you can’t help thinking, “I am so pleased he did that”.

Mr Judge said Prince Philip's (pictured) 'quips were a way of him saying 'I understand'

Mr Judge said Prince Philip's (pictured) 'quips were a way of him saying 'I understand'

Mr Judge said Prince Philip’s (pictured) ‘quips were a way of him saying ‘I understand’ 

‘He knew exactly what he was doing. His quips were a way of him saying, “I understand”.’ On another occasion, during a visit to Wyvern Barracks in Exeter in 2010, the Duke asked Navy cadet instructor Elizabeth Rendle, then 24, what she did for a living. When she said she worked in a club, he quipped: ‘What, a strip club?’

At the time, Ms Rendle said: ‘It was a joke and we were all laughing. I don’t think he put his foot in it. I didn’t take any offence.’

Last night, her mother Susan Rendle, 62, said: ‘We never thought it was a gaffe. He totally put her at ease. There was nothing at all wrong with what he said.’

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