The 36-year-old, who was with Japan’s deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, asked children at the cultural center if they had tried “much Chinese food.” He quickly recognized his blooper and corrected himself, as Daily Mail correspondent Rebecca English captured on video.
“Um, Japanese food. Have you had much Japanese food?” William said as shook his head and recovered from his mixup. “No?”
Prince William’s gaffe is especially cringeworthy because Japanese and Chinese people ― and Asians in general ― have often been erroneously grouped together and deemed “all the same,” despite their many differences. Moreover, Japan and China have a history of tension.
William is far from the only member of the royal family to make a cringeworthy blunder.
According to The Root, “Blackamoor imagery in general reflects trends in decorative arts that recall the history of slaves in Europe and the disturbing manner in which the European luxury culture objectified black bodies as mere ornament.”
A spokeswoman later apologized on behalf of the princess, saying “Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offense.”
In 2004, Princess Michael told a table of fellow diners to “go back to the colonies” at a restaurant in New York City, The New York Times reported.
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