Is Prince Harry Really Racist? Foot in Mouth: Prince Harry and the Target of His Insult, Ahmed Raza Khan, at Sandhurst

The Evening Standard (London, England), January 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

Is Prince Harry Really Racist? Foot in Mouth: Prince Harry and the Target of His Insult, Ahmed Raza Khan, at Sandhurst


Byline: NIRPAL DHALIWAL, LIZ HOGGARD

NO SAYS NIRPAL DHALIWAL

DIANA must be turning in her grave. Harry, the son of the princess who embraced a Pakistani surgeon, an Arab playboy and a multitude of African orphans, has been caught calling a fellow soldier a "Paki". I wonder how he would have described Dr Hasnat Khan had his mum fulfilled her desire to marry him: "My Paki stepdad"? However, his offhand comment, made while shooting a video as he and his equally bored colleagues waited for a plane three years ago, does not prove he is a racist, nor does it require more than an apology in recompense. Sure, he muttered a stupid and tactless sentence. But did he victimise anyone? No. Harry lacked the malice (or is it bottle?) to use the word to Ahmed's face. The third in line in to the throne knows better than to upset possible future Commonwealth subjects or risk a smack in his posh mouth.

Made when he was a 21-year-old cadet, the video shows Harry for what he then was an insecure, awkward young man desperately trying to fit in with his new peers. As well as the race jibe, he made jokes about his grandmother and his "ginger pubes".

It only proves that he was willing to embarrass himself in order to gain acceptance and raise a cheap laugh.

I said many offensive things in my youth. But now I expect be given the benefit of the doubt and regarded as a reformed adult. It wouldn't be fair to vilify me for them now, nor is it fair to overblow the charges against Harry.

What matters isn't a stupid joke he made as he emerged from his teens but how he now behaves as a man.

So I don't think Harry's racist, but if he wants to know how much Asians dislike being called a Paki, he should try calling me one sometime. I'll be happy to set the little honky straight..

YES SAYS LIZ HOGGARD

I'VE had a soft spot for Prince Harry ever since he placed a white rose on his mother's coffin. …

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