Harry's 'racist and bigoted' set must be curbed, Charles told

Top aide warned Prince over antics of friends. Howard stands firm on demand for full apology
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The Independent Online

The Prince of Wales has been warned by one of his senior advisers that he must act urgently to separate his sons from a "social scene that thinks racism and bigotry quite funny", The Independent on Sunday has learned.

The Prince of Wales has been warned by one of his senior advisers that he must act urgently to separate his sons from a "social scene that thinks racism and bigotry quite funny", The Independent on Sunday has learned.

Prince Charles was told that his sons' media image has become a "bad joke" in the wake of pictures showing Prince Harry wearing Nazi insignia. The senior adviser said: "There has been this attempt to portray them as symbols of modern Britain, with charity work and so on, which just makes people who actually know them laugh. They are part of a social scene which thinks racism and bigotry quite funny."

He added that Prince Harry's behaviour had deteriorated over a number of years and that he had been allowed to "get away with an awful lot".

The depth of concern among courtiers over the 20-year-old's wayward behaviour was underlined yesterday as one admitted they dare not expose him to the cameras to make the apology that many have been demanding of him. Instead, it is expected that the 20-year-old will hold a private meeting with Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, as soon as possible this week. Prince Charles's aides hope that confirmation of the one-to-one tutorial on the Holocaust by Dr Sacks will put an end to the media storm prompted by pictures of the "Nazi prince".

Disquiet about the nature of Harry's friends within the polo-playing and hunting set has been growing for some time among older friends.

It is hoped that his training at Sandhurst will lead to a marked change in behaviour and attitude.

However, his decision to delay entry to the military academy where he will be immediately subject to military law, including random drug testing, has begun to fuel the rumour mill. If, as expected, he takes a skiing holiday, further doubt will be cast over the official reason for the delay of a serious knee injury.

The Queen was said by senior aides at Buckingham Palace to be keeping out of the row, although one said that the affair had become "a boil that needs lancing".

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, is today expected to repeat his call for the Prince to make a fuller apology as the media storm over Harry's fancy dress on the theme "natives and colonials" shows little sign of abating.

Meanwhile, Britain began to feel the consequences of Prince Harry's disastrous decision to wear a Nazi uniform as evidence of damage to London's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games emerged this weekend. The French daily newspaper Le Monde said that it had come at the "worst possible time" for the bid and said that France's sports minister, Jean-François Lamour, had suggested the Queen should receive a medal for "undermining London's bid".

The schadenfreude was not confined to foreigners. The Labour MP Dennis Skinner said: "I don't want him to apologise. I want him to carry on the same way because the more they show themselves up, the sooner we get rid of them."

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