Prince Charles 'compared Putin to Hitler' in private conversation

Prince of Wales reportedly made comments during visit to the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Prince of Wales has compared the actions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler during a conversation with a woman who fled the Nazis, it has been claimed.

Marienne Ferguson, a former Polish war refugee, said the comment was made while she was speaking with Prince Charles at the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she volunteers. The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall had been visiting the museum to pay tribute to Second World War veterans and their families.

Prince Charles's remarks came as he is due to meet with President Putin to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy on 6 June.

Ms Ferguson told the Prince she fled to Canada with her family shortly before the Nazis annexed the Baltic coastal Free City of Gdansk in 1939.

After meeting Charles, Mrs Ferguson, 78, said: “The Prince said, 'and now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler'.

“I must say that I agree with him and am sure a lot of people do.

“But I was very surprised that he made the comment as I know they (members of the Royal Family) aren't meant to say these things.

“I told the Prince that while my family and I were lucky to get a permit to travel, many members of my relatives had permits but were unable to get out before the war broke out on September 1.

“They were sent to the concentration camps and died.”

The Daily Mail  reported the comparison was made at the end of his visit to the museum and was overheard by several witnesses.

Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's press secretary did not respond to the claims. He told Sky News: "I don't know anything about it. I can't really trust the Daily Mail as a source."

A spokesperson for Clarence House said it would not comment on private conversations. However, it did say: “We would like to stress that the Prince of Wales would not seek to make a public political statement during a private conversation.”

The alleged comments follow Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, a move that was widely condemned by the West, who declared a referendum on absorbing the Black Sea peninsula illegitimate and illegal. 

The former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton previously drew comparisons between Mr Putin and Hitler after Russia began issuing passports to Ukrainian citizens, which Ms Clinton claimed was "what Hitler did back in the '30s".