Simon Cowell in bitch war with Prince Phillip

Being Prince Phillip's PR person must be like one long exercise in international diplomacy. This time the bitchy Duke has been accused of making snidey remarks about Simon Cowell.

Appearing on the Jay Leno show, Cowell told how not only had the Queen snubbed him at a recent variety show award, but Prince Phillip had muttered under his breath 'sponger' when Cowell approached.

Quite how Phillip thought could consider anyone a bigger sponger than himself is unknown, but Cowell swears he heard the jibe. "It was actually embarrassing. It is called the Royal Variety Show, so she (the Queen) is in the audience. At the end, if you are involved in it, you have to stand around for hours and then say 'hello'. She ignored me and her husband called me a sponger. I think he was trying to be rude. So I just mumbled something and he walked off."

Phillip's long suffering spokesperson was duly wheeled out for an apology. "The Duke of Edinburgh categorically did not call Mr Cowell a sponger. He has no reason to. He has said he does not know enough about Mr Cowell to make any sort of comment about him. Mr. Cowell may have misheard the Duke, he has a very soft voice." So nah nah na naaaah na. The source continued: "The Queen doesn't ignore people. She has many people to meet after such a show."

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