Now ex-Home Secretary says he made racist jokes at palace
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’
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Host: Andrew with King Abdullah at the banquet in 2007