Prince Harry sorry for wearing Nazi costume
CTV.ca News Staff
Prince Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth, is apologizing after a tabloid picture showed him wearing a Nazi soldier's uniform at a fancy dress party.
A front page image of Thursday's early edition of "The Sun" was released to the media late Wednesday. Its headline reads: "Harry the Nazi."
The photo shows Harry clutching a cigarette and a drink, wearing beige slacks and a short-sleeved shirt with a swastika armband on the left sleeve. The newspaper says the 20-year-old prince was attending a fancy dress party in the uniform of a fascist soldier.
In a statement released by the Clarence House Press office, 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 apologize.''
Len Rudner of the Canadian Jewish Congress told CTV Newsnet he was astonished, said: "I am sure right now, [Prince Harry] is wishing that there was a hole somewhere in England large enough for him to crawl into.
"He's got to be asking himself, 'what possessed me to do this,' and frankly, I'm asking myself, what was this man thinking?"
Rudner pointed out that more than 350,000 members of the British Army were killed during the Second World War, and that 62,000 civilians lost their lives.
"As a member of the royal family, one would expect him to have a little bit of a memory when it comes to these things because when you are a Royal, you're expected to remember the history of your people," Rudner told CTV Newsnet.
Watching from Toronto, John Aimers of the Monarchist League of Canada says the young prince was right to say he's sorry, "but he has to show a lot of sensitivity in the coming years."
The worst of it, Aimers told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday, is that the inexplicable act only serves to remind subjects of some unsavory episodes from their royal family's history.
"It of course brings back memories of his great, great-uncle, the Duke of Windsor who was unfairly alleged to have pro-Nazi sympathies," Aimers said.
Reaction in the UK was swift and harsh. Doug Henderson, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North and a former armed forces minister, said Wednesday that Prince Harry should not be allowed to become a British Army officer.
Harry is due to train at the elite Royal Military Academy Sandhurst this year. He was expected to attend this month but has been delayed until the spring because of a knee injury.
"After the revelations this evening, I don't think this young man is suitable for Sandhurst," Henderson said. "If it was anyone else the application wouldn't be considered. It should be withdrawn immediately."
Rudner, however, was more forgiving.
"Military service is a way not only to demonstrate character but it's a way to build character as well," he said, "and [Harry] may very well need that."
Prince Harry has been in quite a bit of trouble over the past few years.
- In 2002, revelations came out that Harry smoked marijuana several times and got drunk at parties (while underage) that he held at Prince Charles's Highgrove country estate.
- In October, Harry was involved in a brawl outside a London nightclub in which a press photographer was injured. The photographer contended that Harry lashed out at him without provocation.
- Last month, Harry came under fire for his relationship with Chelsy Davy -- a South African whose father is a millionaire landowner and is reported to have links with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.
- Wednesday's incident occurred two weeks before the Queen is due to lead the country's holocaust memorial events. Queen Elizabeth is set to host a reception for holocaust survivors on Jan. 27 before attending the Holocaust Memorial Day national commemoration at London's Westminster Hall.
Harry is the second son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. He's third in line to the British throne after his father and Prince William, his brother.