Prince William was caught in a social media storm today after saying the bloodshed in Ukraine was ‘alien to Europe’, but was also reported as saying it was unlike conflicts in Asia and Africa.
His reported comparison received a barrage of criticism online, but the journalist who filed the original story later retracted any reference to Africa or Asia.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its third week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met volunteers at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London, who were filling lorries with aid to support humanitarian relief efforts.
Speaking to the volunteers, William, 39, said: “For our generation, it’s very alien to see this in Europe. We are all right behind you,” adding that he wanted to do more to help. “We feel so useless.”
The initial report, including the reference to Africa and Asia, was issued by the Press Association. It sparked outrage on social media with users calling out the second in line to the throne for being “racist” and not recognising the history of the British colonial empire, as well as recent conflicts in Europe.
However, the following day the news agency reissued its story removing the reference to Africa and Asia.
The reporter who filed the original story, then apologised and said that the comments had been ‘misheard’. Richard Palmer wrote: “The Duke of Cambridge on war in Europe. He doesn’t appear to have compared it to conflicts in Africa and Asia. In the chaos, a remark he made was misheard, starting a social media storm. Apologies for reporting that online.”
Prince William faced a series of hostile tweets and calls to apologise.
The palace declined to comment and referred to footage of the visit which had been posted on Twitter.
William and Kate are slated to visit the Caribbean for the first time later this month and will visit countries including Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize.
His reported comments come amid criticism that the western media in the US, UK and France has faced in recent weeks over its “racially biased coverage” of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The article was amended on March 10 2022 to reflect the fact that the journalist who filed the original report to the Press Association subsequently retracted the reference to Africa and Asia.
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