Now ex-Home Sec­re­tary says he made racist jokes at palace

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Rebecca English Royal Cor­re­spon­dent

PRINCE An­drew was yes­ter­day ac­cused by a for­mer Home Sec­re­tary of mak­ing racist jokes about Arabs dur­ing a state ban­quet for the Saudi royal fam­ily.

Jac­qui Smith, a cabi­net min­is­ter in Tony Blair’s Labour govern­ment, said the royal made the ‘un­be­liev­able’ com­ments while min­gling with politi­cians and dig­ni­taries at Buck­ing­ham Palace. She re­fused to re­peat the words ut­tered by the prince, but said one joke in­cluded ‘a com­ment about camels’ that was ‘as worse as you can imag­ine’.

She said the con­ver­sa­tion saw the prince tell jokes he thought those present ‘would find amus­ing’, which left the group ‘slack-jawed’. Miss Smith did not re­veal when the in­terac­tion took place, but the only state visit by the Saudi royal fam­ily to oc­cur dur­ing her time as Gor­don Brown’s Home Sec­re­tary was in Oc­to­ber 2007, with the tra­di­tional state ban­quet tak­ing place at the palace with King Ab­dul­lah as the guest.

The ac­cu­sa­tion piles yet more pres­sure on the Queen’s son, who ear­lier this week faced claims he once used the ‘N-word’ dur­ing meet­ings with a Down­ing Street ad­viser. Buck­ing­ham Palace has al­ready de­nied that claim, and said of Miss Smith’s al­le­ga­tion: ‘HRH has un­der­taken a con­sid­er­able amount of work in the Mid­dle East over a pe­riod of years and has many friends from the re­gion. He does not tol­er­ate racism in any form.’ In an in­ter­view for Iain Dale’s LBC elec­tion pod­cast, Miss Smith claimed the prince was ‘at the worst end’ of the Royal Fam­ily.

She said: ‘I met him sev­eral times in­clud­ing once at a state ban­quet where af­ter din­ner I and my hus­band and other Labour cabi­net min­is­ter had a drink with him and I have to say the con­ver­sa­tion left us slack-jawed with the things he felt ap­pro­pri­ate to say.

‘I al­most feel I can’t say it; it was the state ban­quet for the Saudi royal fam­ily and he made racist com­ments about Arabs that were un­be­liev­able.

‘That he thought we might find these amus­ing was a ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion to be in. I’m not go­ing to tell you what he said ex­actly but it in­volved a com­ment about camels. It’s as worse as you could imag­ine.’

Miss Smith said she felt ashamed for not chal­leng­ing the prince on the com­ments, adding: ‘It was a state ban­quet, we were in Buck­ing­ham

Palace, we were cabi­net min­is­ters, I feel ashamed that we didn’t, but we didn’t.’

She also claimed the prince was ‘not very bright’, hav­ing met him sev­eral times. She added: ‘I don’t think he re­ally un­der­stands the way in which you be­have.

‘And in some ways that’s not sur­pris­ing be­cause you are pretty in­su­lated in the Royal Fam­ily. But he is the, sort of, worst end of the Royal Fam­ily, I think.’ It comes af­ter a Down­ing Street aide claimed An­drew used the phrase ‘n ***** in the wood­pile’ dur­ing meet­ings. Ro­han Silva, who worked for David Cameron, said he was left ‘reel­ing at the prince’s use of lan­guage’. Mr Silva told the Evening Stan­dard that he met An­drew in 2012 and asked him if he felt the Govern­ment ‘could be do­ing a bet­ter job’ on boost­ing trade with the world.

An­drew then al­legedly re­sponded: ‘Well, If you’ll pardon the ex­pres­sion, that re­ally is the n ***** in the wood­pile’, up­set­ting Mr Silva, who is of Sri Lankan de­scent. A palace stren­u­ously de­nied the claim.

‘The worst end of Royal Fam­ily’

Sex claims: Vir­ginia Roberts in Aus­tralia yes­ter­day

Host: An­drew with King Ab­dul­lah at the ban­quet in 2007

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