Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Bernice King was among some other people who criticized Prince William over comments he made suggesting it was “very alien” to witness war in Europe.
According to Newsweek, the Duke of Cambridge, who is second in line to the British throne, made those comments when he was touching on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine during a visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London on Wednesday.
King labeled his comments as “harmful.” Others also reportedly made mention of his comments not taking into account Britain’s colonial past and other conflicts that have recently plagued Europe.
But the context within which Prince William made those comments was initially partly misreported in articles on the Press Association news wire. Those reports initially claimed the royal suggested British people were more used to seeing conflicts in Africa or Asia. But that was reportedly misleading as a video of his full comments that was released by ITV showed he did not actually make mention of the two continents.
In the footage, Prince William said: “Everyone is horrified by what they are seeing. The news every day, it’s almost unfathomable to actually witness it, to see it.
“For our generation, it’s very alien to see this in Europe. We’re all right behind you.”
The footage, however, did not mitigate the criticisms that ensued after the story initially broke. King initially responded to the misleading report by referring to Prince William’s comments as “horrific” in a post on Twitter. That tweet appears to have been taken down, Newsweek reported.
But after the footage was released, King shared another post on Twitter saying the royal’s comments were still inappropriate. “I believe that we have a great deal of work to do globally to eradicate what my father called the Triple Evils of Militarism, Racism and Poverty,” she wrote.
“I believe that language matters in that work. And that it is harmful for a global figure to express war as ‘alien to Europe.’”
Meanwhile, Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a renowned commentator on race in Britain, also told Newsweek Prince William’s comments were offensive.
“William says it’s alien in Europe. This is on the back of two weeks of Western media also saying it’s alien in Europe, also saying Western countries are civilized,” she said. “I’m sorry, if it’s alien in Europe, where is he referring to it as being normal?”
The Duke of Cambridge’s comments also comes in the wake of an upcoming Caribbean tour he’ll be embarking on with his wife later this month. The tour forms part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this month. The prince and wife will visit Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas.
Mos-Shogbamimu said Prince William could apologize for his comments if the three Caribbean nations press him to do so. “If countries like Jamaica [where there are renewed conversations about country becoming a republic] and all these other non-white countries take him to task on it, he’s going to have to open his God given mouth and apologize,” she said.
“Not because we need an apology but because he must be held to account.”