News and Information

Harry urged to say sorry publicly
January 13, 2005
Prince Harry is being urged to apologise in person for wearing a Nazi costume to a fancy dress party.

He apologised in a statement after being pictured in the Sun newspaper wearing the desert uniform and swastika armband.

But former royal press spokesman Dicky Arbiter and the Tory leader Michael Howard said that was not good enough.

Clarence House said on Thursday Prince Harry had already publicly apologised and there were no plans to say more.

In his statement the prince said: "I am very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise."

We all know history, and at 20 there is no excuse

Dickie Arbiter
Ex-royal PR man

Q&A: Harry's costume row
Britain's royal blunders

The photograph, taken at a friend's birthday party in Wiltshire at the weekend, has prompted outrage from politicians and anti-fascist campaigners who accuse the prince of insensitivity.

Some said the prince should join a British delegation which is visiting the Auschwitz death camp for the 60th anniversary of its liberation later this month.

Prince Harry see for himself "the results of the hated symbol he so foolishly and brazenly chose to wear," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

A public apology and a period of quiet reflection about his recent conduct seems to be called for
Jane, North Yorkshire

Send us your comments

And both Tory leader Michael Howard and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said Prince Harry should say sorry in person.

Mr Howard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme a lot of people would be offended by the photograph and the prince should "tell us himself how contrite he now is".

Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman said the matter was best dealt with by the Palace.

Unusually, the prince's actions have been criticised by foreign politicians. Israel's foreign minister Silvan Shalom said the prince was wrong to wear the costume and had a lot to learn.

Prince Harry helping with tsunami aid
Earlier this month the prince was helping with the tsunami relief effort

It is the latest in a series of stories involving 20-year-old Prince Harry, who is third in line to the throne, which have earned him a media reputation as the "party prince".

But the Queen's former assistant press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, said if the incident had happened on his watch he would have thrown his hands up in "absolute horror" and thought "here we go again".

He said if the prince wanted to be considered an adult he should apologise in person through television and radio.

"It's just not good enough to behave like that. We all know history, and at 20 there is no excuse," he said.

It has also prompted suggestions from some that Prince Harry should not be allowed to enrol at Sandhurst military academy. The Ministry of Defence has said it will not affect his place.

Ignorance is no longer acceptable about the Nazis
Susan Pollack,
Auschwitz survivor

'Harry should hear my story'

Friday's Jewish Chronicle will say that for a royal to think it a "lark to dress up in the trappings of a genocidal dictatorship" was "mind-boggling".

But the Board of Deputies of British Jews said while the costume was in bad taste, members were "pleased" Prince Harry had apologised in a statement.

Apology accepted

And Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, said the apology should be accepted.

Writer Moyra Bremner told BBC News 24 it was extraordinary no-one had stopped the prince wearing the costume and said it was "a terrible error of judgement".

But she added: "I don't think for an instant he meant any insult to Holocaust survivors or indeed the many people who were killed in the concentration camps and the many people in the [British] services who were killed."


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