The Prince of Wales made a comment during a private conversation with a Jewish refugee, but it sparked a furious backlash, with Russian TV making claims about the British Royal Family as a result. Prince Charles caused a huge diplomatic row with Russian president Vladimir Putin when he likened him to Hitler, just days before they were due to meet back in 2014. The Prince of Wales made the comments in a private conversation with a Jewish refugee on a state visit to Canada, but it sparked a furious backlash. He provoked the storm when speaking about the crisis while on a visit to the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
He made his frank comments to Jewish museum volunteer Marienne Ferguson, who told the Prince how her family had fled from Hitler. Afterwards she told a journalist: “The Prince said: ‘And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler’. “I must say that I agree with him, and am sure a lot of people do. “But I was very surprised he made the comment, as I know they (members of the Royal Family) aren’t meant to say these things.”The Russian Embassy in London demanded answers from Downing Street and the Foreign Office as a result.
Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti also made claims that the British Royal Family had historic connections to the Nazis.Royal aides desperately tried to defuse the row, with a spokeswoman saying: “The Prince of Wales would not seek to make a political statement during a private conversation.” RIA Novosti said Charles’ uncle, Prince Christop of Hesse, was “a senior SS officer in the Third Reich”, and it said his great uncle, Edward VIII, “was a personal friend of Hitler”. Outraged politicians in Britain hit back last night, citing Charles’s father, the late Prince Philip ’s record as a war hero.
Before he became the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip then a first lieutenant in the Royal Navy, saved scores of Allied lives in 1943 by foiling a Luftwaffe bomber poised to destroy their ship.Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke, a member of the Monarchist Society, said the Russian reaction was “outrageous”. “I think it is an absolute insult of the highest order to be throwing around accusations about our Royal family,” he said at the time. “Charles has rightly pointed out that Putin is acting exactly like Hitler did in the Sudetenland. I think he’s spot on.
“A pattern is emerging here – whenever anybody stands up to Putin, he turns round and calls them fascists. It’s a bit rich.” In a direct personal message to the Prince back in 2014, Mr Putin said: “Give my words to Prince Charles.”He has been to our country more than once, if he made such a comparison, it is unacceptable and I am sure he understands that as a man of manners. “I met him personally, as well as other members of the Royal Family. This is not what monarchs do.”But over the past few years we have seen so much, nothing surprises me any longer.”
Mr Putin added: “I will be guided not by what they say about me anywhere.”I will only be guided by the interests of the Russian people, and I hope our colleagues in Great Britain will keep that in mind and will always remember that when finding solutions to any issues, we are always guided by international law and its norms.”