Britain's Prince Harry apologises for racist language
AFP - Sunday, January 11
LONDON, (AFP) - - Britain's Prince Harry has apologised for using racist language after a Sunday newspaper reported he had filmed himself calling an army colleague a "Paki" and telling another he looked like a "raghead".
The video obtained by the News of the World plunges the 24-year-old prince, the third in line to the throne, into fresh controversy four years after he sparked outcry by wearing a Nazi swastika at a fancy dress party.
The newspaper posted the video on its website and said it was made in 2006 when the prince was still an officer cadet.
It begins as he is waiting with his platoon in an airport departure lounge for a flight to a training exercise in Cyprus.
Touring the room with a video camera as his colleagues snooze, he spots an Asian cadet and says: "Anybody else around here?... Ah, our little Paki friend, Ahmed."
"Paki" is a racist term for Indians or Pakistanis.
The royal family issued an apology, but insisted the prince had used the term without malice.
"Prince Harry fully understands how offensive this term can be, and is extremely sorry for any offence his words might cause," a spokesman said.
"However, on this occasion three years ago, Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon.
"There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend."
The report said Harry made the "raghead" remark -- a racist term for Arabs -- while on the exercise.
Once again he is behind the camera when he spots one of his comrades with camouflage netting over his head and as he looks up at the lens, Harry says: "It's Dan the Man... Fuck me, you look like a raghead."
The royal spokesman said: "Prince Harry used the term 'raghead' to mean Taliban or Iraqi insurgent."
The prince served with the army battling the Taliban in Afghanistan last year but was forced to return home after his security was compromised when a carefully arranged media blackout on his deployment was broken.
Harry, an army lieutenant, is to begin training soon as a combat helicopter pilot.
Britain's equalities watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the racism claims "appear to be disturbing allegations".
"We will be asking the MoD (Ministry of Defence) to see the evidence, share that evidence with us and their plans for dealing with it," a spokeswoman said.
"We will then consider what further action might be necessary."
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: "Neither the Army nor the Armed Forces tolerates inappropriate behaviour in any shape or form.
"The Army takes all allegations of inappropriate behaviour very seriously and all substantive allegations are investigated.
"We are not aware of any complaint having been made by the individual," the spokeswoman said, referring to "Ahmed".
She added: "Bullying and racism are not endemic in the Armed Forces."
In another clip from the three-minute video, Harry pretends to make a mobile phone call to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
He says: "Granny, I've got to go. Send my love to the corgis. And grandpa... God Save You... yeah, that's great. See you, bye."
It is not the first time that the youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana has been forced to apologise for his actions.
His decision to attend a friend's fancy dress birthday party wearing a swastika armband in 2005 sparked widespread criticism. The publication of photographs of that incident was followed by a swift apology from the royals.
In the past, it emerged he had smoked cannabis as a teenager and he was once involved in a scuffle outside a nightclub with a paparazzi photographer, but in recent years Harry has sought to shake off his 'playboy prince' reputation.
He is heavily involved in a charity in Lesotho to support children orphaned by AIDS which was launched in memory of his mother, and is patron of several other children's charities.
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