Yet another race slur trips off the Duke's tongue

THE DUKE of Edinburgh hurriedly apologised yesterday for a racist remark he made about Indians that suggested they were shoddy workers.

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.

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits