The King wants refugees to ‘feel more welcome’, Sir Michael Palin says

The King spoke with the Monty Python star while hosting a humanitarian reception at Buckingham Palace.

Lucas Cumiskey
Wednesday 08 November 2023 21:51 GMT
The King with Michael Palin during a reception at Buckingham Palace (PA)
The King with Michael Palin during a reception at Buckingham Palace (PA)

The King discussed the need to make refugees “feel more welcome” in Britain at a humanitarian reception, Sir Michal Palin has said.

The Monty Python star, 80, spoke to Charles on Wednesday evening at the Buckingham Palace event which recognised the United Kingdom’s contribution to humanitarian efforts across the world.

Charles and the Queen were introduced to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) chief executive Saleh Saeed at the soiree, which was also attended by the Duke of Gloucester.

They met stars including actors such as Sir Michael, Dame Joanna Lumley and Adrian Lester, who have launched appeals for the DEC charity, which is marking its 60th anniversary year.

The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds at times of crisis overseas.

Actor and comedian Sir Michael told the PA news agency: “I’m very proud to be here and very glad to be associated with something which I think is one of the best indications of British generosity which are the appeals that I’ve had the good fortune to deliver on certain occasions. I think humanitarian spirit is something which is in all of us.”

On what he spoke to Charles about, he said: “He asked what I was doing and was talking about refugees actually and the refugee problem and trying to find a way of absorbing refugees into the country and using their talents.

“Trying to find a way of, sort of, using the best talents of refugees who have come to this country, and this is something I totally agree with.

“He’s travelled the world a lot, I’ve travelled the world a lot.

“We know that a lot of people who come here see Britain as a safe place but also a hopeful place and I think to get rejected here, it’s difficult, I mean, I know the problems of getting a number of refugees into the country but that was clearly his idea that this was what we should be doing, making them more welcome.”

On the humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, he added: “It makes me feel horribly depressed really because when people set out to kill and slaughter others I just find there can be no justification for that on either side. And I don’t know how you stop it once it starts, war is pretty horrible.

“Also we’ve got disasters like the Turkish earthquake and again lots and lots of people suddenly homeless… We are very, very lucky to have so much.”

The DEC has said it is “deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of civilians caught up in the deadly intensification of violence in Israel and Gaza” and is “closely monitoring the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and assessing it against our criteria for launching a DEC appeal.”

Over the past 60 years, the UK public has donated some £2.4 billion to its 77 national appeals.

The reception was planned months ago and it is understood that Charles has made a donation to the British Red Cross charity, which he is president of.

Charles and Camilla also meet refugees who have made the UK their home and spoke with broadcast journalists about their work covering global emergencies, including in the Middle East and Ukraine.

In the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace, Charles and Camila viewed displays from the DEC, Turquoise Mountain and ShelterBox, and met people involved with the organisations.

Charles founded Turquoise Mountain as the Prince of Wales in 2006. It aims to support artisans as they revitalise their heritage in Afghanistan, Myanmar and across the Middle East.

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides emergency shelter and essential aid items to people around the world who have lost their homes to disaster, conflict, or the climate crisis.

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