Reports: Prince Harry to attend equality course after racial remarksby Jill Lawless on Feb. 12, 2009, under Nation/World
LONDON – After a royal reprimand, it’s back to school for Prince Harry.
British media outlets reported Thursday that the prince is being sent on an “equality and diversity” course by the British army after he was recorded making racist remarks.
The BBC and the Daily Mirror, citing senior defense officials, said the 24-year-old prince would attend a course designed to press home how offensive racist language is.
Last month a newspaper released 2006 video of Harry using a highly offensive term about a Pakistani officer. Harry apologized but said he had used the expression about a friend and without malice.
The prince also was recorded using an epithet for people of Middle Eastern descent to mock another cadet
This week, black British comedian Stephen K. Amos said Harry — a lieutenant in the Household Cavalry regiment who is training to be a helicopter pilot — had told him last year that he didn’t “sound like a black chap.”
The prince’s office said Harry had been “subjected to normal army disciplinary procedures” but would not confirm he was being sent on a diversity course. The Ministry of Defense said Harry had received “a dressing down” from his commanding officer.
Harry has likely already been on a diversity course. Charles Heyman, a defense analyst and former British army officer, said they were a standard part of military training.
Heyman said the courses were designed to let soldiers know “that the world is a bit different than they might think, and that it’s good manners to treat people the way they would like to be treated themselves.”
The younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, Harry had a party-loving image for much of his very public youth. Newspapers and magazines loved to cast him as a flame-haired bad boy, in contrast to his ostensibly more sober elder brother, Prince William.
In 2002, Charles took Harry to a drug rehab center to meet recovering addicts after Harry acknowledged smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol while underage. The tabloid press dubbed him “Harry Pothead.”
After graduating from elite boarding school Eton College the next year, Harry was frequently snapped by paparazzi leaving nightclubs in the early hours, and once scuffled in the street with a photographer.
In January 2005, Harry apologized after being pictured in a newspaper at a costume party dressed as a Nazi, complete with a swastika armband.
Harry’s public image has improved since he entered the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 2005.
After being commissioned as a junior officer he lobbied hard to be sent to the front line, and served in Afghanistan for 10 weeks before his secret deployment was leaked over the Internet.
But recent events have raised questions about Harry’s attitudes. Last month it was reported that Prince Charles and his sons refer to a south Asian family friend as “Sooty” — although the friend said he was not offended by the nickname.
Heyman said that soldiers often use language among themselves that would offend delicate civilian ears, but that Harry’s videotaped comments showed poor judgment.
“He’s not the ordinary man in the pub,” Heyman said. “You’ve got to be careful when you are third in line to the throne.”