Prince Andrew’s interview with BBC host Emily Maitlis this weekend has already been widely panned as “disastrous” — and now the royal has been accused of using the n-word during a meeting with a government aide.
According to Evening Standard columnist Rohan Silva, the Duke of York used the n-word at a Buckingham Palace meeting with him when he was a Downing Street advisor to the tech economy.
Silva, who is of Sri Lankan heritage, says the incident took place during a discussion in 2012 about trade policy, and came as he asked the prince whether the government department responsible for trade “could be doing a better job”.
He alleges Andrew replied: “Well, if you pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile.”
Silva told the newspaper the exchange left him “reeling” and that “for a long time afterwards, I kicked myself for not confronting the prince on his choice of words.”
Palace sources issued strong denials to the newspaper, insisting he did not use the phrase and that he never would use such language.
Yet in a column published also on Monday, Silva recounts another uncomfortable exchange with the prince a year earlier, in which the royal is alleged to have interrupted him during a discussion about the tech economy by saying: “What you have got to remember, is that you’ll never get anywhere by playing the white man.”
Silva recounts looking up the definition of the phrase, and deciding: “So the point Andrew had been trying to make, I think, was that the government shouldn’t be trying to reform the EU through the slow-moving proper channels, but perhaps be a bit more cunning in forcing through change.”
The revelations come as Andrew faces a barrage of criticism following his television interview about the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, with the royal accused of a lack of empathy with the victims.
Andrew’s attempt to set the record straight about his relationship with the convicted sex offender – and to counter allegations he slept with one of Epstein’s groomed teenagers – has been widely condemned for its unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse for the friendship.
Commentators are questioning Andrew’s decision to speak in depth for the first time about the allegations and his 10-year friendship with Epstein, with one calling it an “appalling lack of judgement” and another saying his responses lacked conviction.
A legal expert said being a member of the monarchy did not give the duke a get-out clause from being prosecuted in the US, and he was “unwise” to have given a detailed account of his actions to the media.