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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?