Prince William, future monarch of the United Kingdom, is being accused of racism due to how he spoke regarding the crisis in Ukraine. It’s not the first time the Duke of Cambridge and other senior royals have been accused of something similar.
The 39-year-old prince said Wednesday that unlike in Asia and Africa, it was “alien” to see war in Europe, The Washington Post reported.
“We are all behind you,” William said publicly to the citizens of Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. He also mentioned how British citizens are “used to” seeing these conflicts break out on other continents such as Africa and Asia but “it’s very alien to see this in Europe.”
The Evening Standard, The Daily Mail, and The Independent all confirmed the duke had phrased his statements this way. His comments spurred the hashtag “#princewilliamisaracist” to start trending on Twitter.
“The war and bloodshed were initiated by his family,” Snehesh Alex Philip, an editor at an Indian news site tweeted in reply to an article detailing the comments.
“In India, they looted and plundered even as [many people] died of famine and their torture. The subcontinent still faces violence thanks to the seed they sowed before leaving. Such a racist comment by Prince William.”
“Read a book about your own family, dude,” CNN host Jake Tapper tweeted along with a photo of Edward, Duke of Windsor, and his American wife Wallis Simpson shaking hands with Adolf Hitler in 1937.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 10, 2022
“European people ran roughshod over the continent of Africa, pillaging communities, raping women, enslaving human beings, colonizing for profit and power, stealing resources, causing generational devastation and European nations continue to harm Africa,” Rev. Martin Luther King’s granddaughter Bernice King wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
Journalist Sana Saeed agreed, saying, “I really don’t expect any less from a member of one of the most violent empires in modern human history that has yet to face a day of justice for its crimes against millions of people.”
Even among the backlash, there were some public figures willing to defend Prince William’s comments and assume they were taken out of context. London Evening Standard editor Robert Jobson told The Post that the duke likely wasn’t being intentionally racist when he made the statement.
“Perhaps he was simply trying to say, albeit clumsily, that this war in Ukraine feels very close to home, as he was only a small child when the Bosnia conflict started and this is perhaps his first experience of such terrible conflict happening in Europe during his adulthood,” Jobson told the publication.
Other claims of racism against the British royal family have been circulating for years. Most recently, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who stepped down from their roles as senior working royals in January 2020, told Oprah during an interview that someone in the royal inner circle worried about their unborn son Archie’s biracial complexion before his birth. They allegedly had “conversations” about “how dark [Archie’s] skin might be.”
At the time, The Post reported, Prince William made a rare rebuttal to the claims and said, “We are very much not a racist family.”