Aunt’s story

Out of touch, out of control: how Harry’s joke backfired on royalty


[…] The invitation to the “colonials and natives” party at Richard Meade’s equestrian centre might itself have raised eyebrows if Ms Harris had still been employed by the Prince of Wales, not least because the former spokeswoman is black.

As it was, the invitation to the party was eagerly accepted. The two Princes and Harry’s friend Guy Pelly, 22, set off from Highgrove to a fancy dress shop in a nearby village with no alarm bells ringing.

Arriving at Cotswolds Costumes (make-up and wigs also supplied), the three young men set about choosing their garb. “I believe William asked about a Zulu costume but we didn’t have any,” the shopkeeper, Maud Franklin, told a tabloid reporter. William evidently was determined to be a “native” and settled instead on a collection of leopard skins. Harry, meanwhile, was sizing up the colonial options, and particularly a fetching SS uniform. It was too small for the Prince, who lit instead on the now infamous desert kit worn by General Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps.


A person who knows the Princes well says that the real reason why they chose the outfits that they did was because they thought them amusing. “There has been this attempt to portray them as symbols of modern Britain, with charity work and so on, which just makes people who actually know them laugh. They are part of a social scene that thinks racism and bigotry quite funny.”

One man definitely not laughing on Thursday morning was Michael Howard, the Tory leader whose grandmother died in a Polish death camp and whose aunt survived a gas chamber three times.


By Francis Elliott
© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

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