Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Sunday, 11 January 2009

Reaction to prince's racist term

Prince Harry
Prince Harry has served with the army in Afghanistan

Prince Harry has apologised after the News of the World published a video in which he calls one of his then Sandhurst colleagues a "Paki".

In another clip publicised by the paper, the prince is heard calling another officer cadet a "raghead".

The comments, which the prince says he made three years ago without malice, have triggered widespread and varied reaction.


"It's obviously a completely unacceptable thing to say and it's right that he has apologised.

"I think it's important that in the great institutions... we root out attitudes like that. That has to go right across the institutions."

Asked whether the Army should take further action against Prince Harry, Mr Cameron said: "He's made an apology and I think it's apparent he's clear about that, and that's enough."


"This word has caused massive offence to our community and people, not just recently, but for years and years.

"To somehow paint Prince Harry as being naive or innocent is just absolutely a horrendous analysis. He's been brought up in a privileged background, had the best education, travelled the world.

"It's absolutely disgusting and I think he should be dismissed from the MoD. We don't accept these things, we've had to live with this for 40 years.

"This is not taking a politically position, this is having some kind of moral decency towards people from different communities. I mean all I can recall is through my youth being at concerts and skinheads at the back sieg heiling, calling me the 'P' word.

"The Ministry of Defence says it aims to tackle racism, well here's your best opportunity to show us what you actually want to do about racism."


"I would say to those who would see the language that he used and are naturally much offended, look at the context in which it was made and remember that it was three years ago.

"There's no question that he's undergone a journey so far as his own character was concerned. He was a real wild child, then overnight he became a hero - as the press would have it - for being in Afghanistan for 10 weeks.

"A line has got to be drawn under this and we've got to move on. Of course it will embarrass a lot of people and there is no question that he deeply regrets it.

"On the other hand there's the swastika incident, people remember that, that's the problem with these incidents, they stick in people's minds.

"Though I think the News of the World are blowing this up somewhat out of context, because if you look at the actual footage, that is the test of it. Was he intending to be offensive and insulting? I don't think so."


Mr Clegg told Sky News: "He shouldn't have used those words, it will have caused considerable offence and has obviously caused him a considerable amount of embarrassment.

"He has apologised, quite rightly, and I think we should now move on."

Asked if he would fire a member of his senior team for using such comments he said: "I would almost certainly have to yes.

"But it is not a question of whether Prince Harry can be fired, he has apologised, he has apologised profusely. I think we now have got to draw line under it, but it has obviously caused considerable offence."


"I think it was a private video, he was talking about a friend of his, they were having fun and they were calling each other nicknames and I think it's been taken out of context.

"Yes, it would be very offensive if Harry went around calling people Pakis in a racist way, but this was not meant, you know, it was meant more of a nickname.

"I mean, Harry's mates call him Ginge or Ginger - that could be equally offensive to people with red hair."


"Anybody who uses derogatory terms such as the 'P' word and other words are obviously from a different age.

"He is trying to portray this image of being caring like his mother, who was a great woman, or his father who's a person who's widely respected across the world. He's a thug."


Mr Mercer was forced to resign as a Conservative spokesman for suggesting that being called a "black bastard" was part and parcel of Army life for ethnic minority soldiers. He says this incident is very unfortunate.

"Whatever went on inside the platoon three years ago - perhaps it was friendly banter, I have no doubt at all that the Prince was on very good terms with the officer from the Pakistan army who was in the same platoon with him.

"[But] the fact remains that he is a prince of the blood royal and he must know that everything he did and does is under intense scrutiny at all times.

"All I can say is that in the intervening two or three years... he's done the country, the army and the Royal Family an immense amount of good and I very much regret any damage that these careless, thoughtless, pointless, silly comments will have caused him."


"This might have been said in a light-hearted manner but ultimately it's offensive to a lot of people.

"He needs to understand that this is not acceptable, especially in light of the office that he is going to hold in the Army and as a member of the Royal Family."

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Profile: Prince Harry
11 Jan 09 |  UK

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