Prince Philip attacked: University apologises for sharing photo of ‘racist & sexist’ Duke

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Employees were sent a picture of the Duke opening King’s College’s Maughan Library in 2002. However, this sparked backlash from employees leading to an apology being issued.

Joleen Clarke, King’s College libraries’ associate director, said the image had caused “harm”.

She wrote in a letter seen by the Mail on Sunday: “The picture was included as a historical reference point following his death.

“The inclusion of the picture was not intended to commemorate him.

“Through feedback and subsequent conversations, we have come to realise the harm that this caused members of our community, because of his history of racist and sexist comments.

“We are sorry to have caused this harm.”

The apology was issued despite Professor Evelyn Welch, the university’s interim principle, issuing a tribute to Philip following his death.

The Professor praised the Duke for his “long and valued association with King’s”.

Prince Philip served as a governor of King’s College from 1955.

There was little in the original email, sent with the photo, to suggest a controversy in the making.

It stated: “As the nation marks the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, we thought you might like to see this photo of the Duke at the official opening of the Maughan Library in 2002, which some colleagues will remember.”

But the email sparked fury from the King’s College Anti-Racism Committee of Practice.

In 1961 Philip claimed “British women can’t cook” whilst in 1986, in China, he made an offensive reference to “slitty eyes”.

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However, the apology sparked anger from Conservative MP Sir John Hayes, who suggested it represents a threat to free speech.

He said: “King’s College London is at the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to inhibiting free speech.

“We need to flush out people in our universities who are determined with an almost Maoist zeal to close minds in places which ought to be bastions of free and open debate.”

Royal author Hugo Vickers fiercely disputed the claim Prince Philip was a racist.

He commented: “Prince Philip and the Queen have spent their whole lives in service helping the Commonwealth.

“He may have said things at certain times to get a rise out of people, but he was the least racist person.

“In fact, he was very engaged in questions of equality and multi-racial societies going back to the 1950s.”

King’s College said: “As we previously highlighted in an official university statement, Prince Philip had a long and valued association with King’s.”

Philip passed away, aged 99, on April 9 at Windsor Castle.

He was buried later that month, with a service held at the castle’s St George’s Chapel.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, only 30 mourners were able to attend and they were required to wear masks.
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