A former British Home Secretary has claimed that the Duke of York made ‘unbelievable’ racist comments about Arabs during a Saudi state visit to the UK in 2007.
Jacqui Smith, who served as Home Secretary from 2007 – 2009, said that she felt ‘ashamed’ for not challenging Prince Andrew on his remarks.
Mrs Smith, who was one of the most senior politicians in the country during Gordon Brown’s premiership, said that Prince Andrew told jokes he thought those present ‘would find amusing.’ They were in fact left with ‘slack-jawed’ expressions.
The former MP refused to repeat what was said, other than claiming one joke included ‘a comment about camels’ that was ‘as worse as you can imagine’.
Mrs Smith was speaking to Iain Dale on the LBC Election Podcast.
She said: “I met him several times, including once at a state banquet, where after dinner my husband and I and another Labour cabinet minister had a drink with him.
“I have to say the conversation left us slack-jawed with the things he felt it appropriate to say.
“I almost feel I can’t say it; it was the state banquet for the Saudi royal family and he made racist comments about Arabs that were unbelievable.
“That he thought we might find these amusing was a terrible situation to be in.”
Mrs Smith expressed regret over not challenging the Duke: “It was a state banquet, we were in Buckingham Palace, we were cabinet ministers, I feel ashamed that we didn’t but we didn’t.
“I don’t think he really understands the way in which you behave and in some ways that’s not surprising, because you’re pretty insulated in the royal family.”
Speaking to the MailOnline, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “HRH has undertaken a considerable amount of work in the Middle East over a period of years and has many friends from the region.
“He does not tolerate racism in any form.”