Yet another race slur trips off the Duke's tongue
Wednesday 11 August 1999
During a visit to an electronics company in Scotland, Prince Philip had looked at a messy fuse box and said it looked "as though it was put in by an Indian".
Within hours, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Duke of Edinburgh regrets any offence which may have been caused by remarks he is reported as making earlier today. With hindsight, he accepts what were intended as light-hearted comments were inappropriate."
The retraction followed a barrage of hostile reaction to his comment. Prince Philip has previously made remarks that have proved offensive to minority groups.
In May, he angered deaf people with a comment about a Caribbean music band. During a visit to the Welsh Assembly, the Duke met a group from the British Deaf Association, pointed to the musicians, and said: "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf."
In 1995, he asked a Scottish driving instructor: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?" And on a visit to China in 1986 he told British students: "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed."
His latest comment came as he toured the Racal-MESL factory near Edinburgh before unveiling an award for its rail safety technology.
As the Duke looked at the fuse box, which appeared to be less sophisticated than other equipment in the factory, Terry Nisbet, the managing director, noticed his interest and joked: "That's the national grid." The Duke replied: "It looks as though it was put in by an Indian."
Kumar Murshid, chairman of the National Assembly Against Racism, condemned the Duke's remark yesterday as "absolutely abysmal and disgraceful.
"This sort of thing is of great concern to us because people look up to the Royal Family and expect them to set an example to the public," Mr Murshid said. "The reality is that they still have considerable influence."
A spokeswoman for the Commission for Racial Equality described the Duke's comment as "very unfortunate. We look to the Royal Family to be positively promoting racial equality."
However, Dr Shanfi Kauser, secretary of the Islamic Centre in Glasgow, said he was not offended by the Duke's comment. He said: "He is a nice man and I don't think he has done anything out of malice. On other occasions he has been very complimentary to us. I think he should be excused."
A spokesman for the Scottish National Party said: "This is an extremely unfortunate comment which smacks of xenophobia. If anyone else had said it I'm sure the repercussions for them would be far more severe.
"This is, of course, not an isolated incident. He needs to respect other races and cultures far more than he does."
n Jeffrey Archer refused to apologise yesterday for his remarks that black women in Britain used to be fat and badly dressed.
The peer, who is seeking the Tory nomination for Mayor of London, said his comments had been "taken out of context".
However, Michael Ancram, the Conservative Party chairman, described the remarks as "ill-judged". He said Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare would be answerable to London members of the party in the selection contest.
Meanwhile, the singer and Tory supporter Patti Boulaye defended Lord Archer. "I am talking as a black woman who knows Jeffrey Archer. Jeffrey is not a racist," she said.
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Holborn fire: Chaos as 2,000 people evacuated to escape toxic smoke filling central London
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...