Video: Wharfe: Prince Harry’s remarks ‘naïve’

msnbc.com news services
updated 1/12/2009 6:55:19 AM ET 2009-01-12T11:55:19

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday that a racial slur used by Prince Harry to describe a fellow soldier was unacceptable and had no part in British life.

Lawmakers, Muslim groups and the family of the soldier criticized the 24-year-old prince after video clips obtained by a newspaper showed him using derogatory terms including "Paki" to describe his colleagues.

The videos were made in 2006 while Harry was a cadet at Sandhurst military academy. Brown told GMTV television Monday that the comments were unacceptable and have "no part in our life."

"I think Prince Harry knows these comments were unacceptable," Brown said, adding that the sincerity of the apology could not be doubted.

Prince Harry issued an apology for any offense that might have been caused. A statement from his London office said he had used the term without any malice and that he didn't mean to insult his colleague.

Military inquiry
Harry is set to face an Army inquiry and Brown said the prince would be meeting his commanding officer soon to discuss the comments.

"The Army is going to investigate it and hopefully he will be given the appropriate penalty," Keith Vaz, chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs committee, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

"What is important is does it reveal a wider culture within the army where words of this kind are acceptable. Is this an explanation as to why we have so few ethnic minority people prepared to join institutions like the army?"

In some of the footage on the homemade video, Harry — third in line to the throne — is behind the camera and can he heard making a mock commentary.

"Anyone else here ... ah, our little Paki friend ... Ahmed," Harry says as he zooms onto the face of Asian officer cadet Ahmed Raza Khan while waiting at an airport to fly to Cyprus.

Harry was also shown telling another officer cadet wearing a camouflage veil during a night maneuver in Cyprus, "You look like a raghead" — an offensive term for an Arab.

'Very, very hurt'
Publication of the video has already led to criticism from some religious groups as well as Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

Khan's father Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Abassi said the remarks were "a disgraceful insult."

"When I saw the video I was very, very hurt," he told the Daily Mail.

"That word he used is a hate word and should never be used against any Pakistani."

A spokesman for Harry said the prince understood how offensive his language toward his comrade was.

"However, on this occasion three years ago, Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon," the spokesman said.

The recording was made a year after Harry was pilloried for wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party, a gaffe that sparked an international outcry.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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