Prince William Slammed by Martin Luther King's Daughter for 'Horrific' Ukraine Comment

Prince William was accused of "horrific comments" by Martin Luther King's daughter in the aftermath of a Ukrainian community event where he was partially misquoted.

Bernice King linked the Duke of Cambridge's remarks to colonialism after William and Kate Middleton visited the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London to support the relief effort on March 9.

Footage from the event showed Prince William said: "Everyone is horrified by what they are seeing. The news every day, it's almost unfathomable to actually witness it, to see it. For our generation, it's very alien to see this in Europe. We're all right behind you."

The Press Association originally reported William also suggested Britons were more used to seeing conflict in Africa and Asia—though footage released by ITV of the royal's full comments suggested he in fact made no explicit reference to the two continents.

However, some maintained their criticism of the duke based on the reference to war in Europe feeling "very alien."

King, the chief executive of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, condemned the prince having seen the original, misleading account.

She wrote on Twitter: "Horrific comment. European people ran roughshod over the continent of Africa, pillaging communities, raping women, enslaving human beings, colonizing for profit and power, stealing resources, causing generational devastation. And European nations continue to harm Africa."

After the new footage emerged, King wrote: "I believe that we have a great deal of work to do globally to eradicate what my father called the Triple Evils of Militarism, Racism and Poverty.

"I believe that language matters in that work. And that it is harmful for a global figure to express war as 'alien to Europe.'"

Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a prominent commentator on race in Britain, told Newsweek the remarks about war in Europe feeling alien were offensive on their own.

She said: "William says it's alien in Europe. This is on the back of two weeks of western media also saying it's alien in Europe, also saying Western countries are civilized. I'm sorry, if it's alien in Europe, where is he referring to it as being normal?"

The outcry heaps new pressure on the royals just days after the one-year anniversary of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Oprah Winfrey interview, during which they accused an unnamed royal of racism.

And it comes little more than a week before William and Kate are due to tour the Caribbean from March 19 to March 26.

Prince William on Ukraine Backlash Visit
Prince William and Kate Middleton visit the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, in London, on March 9, 2022. During the meeting, the Duke of Cambridge suggested it felt alien to see conflict in Europe. Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images

After the original misquote, human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid wrote on Twitter: "Prince William says conflict is 'very alien' to Europe, unlike Asia & Africa.

"How do you have a 1,000 year history of colonialism, a literal 100 year war, launch 2 World Wars, allow multiple genocides, & bomb a dozen nations since 9/11 alone—yet make this type of a statement."

Also before the footage emerged, royal biographer Omid Scobie, author of Finding Freedom, wrote on Twitter: "Unsurprised to see backlash against Prince William's ignorant remark (reported by@PA).

"Europe has seen some of the bloodiest conflict in the past two centuries—Balkans, Yugoslavia, Germany and Kosovo to name a few. But sure, let's normalise war and death in Africa and Asia."

It is not the first time Prince William has been accused of colonial comments, after he linked the pressure on wildlife in Africa to the human population in a November speech.

The duke said: "The increasing pressure on Africa's wildlife and wild spaces as a result of human population presents a huge challenge for conservationists, as it does the world over."

And a photo of Prince William being carried on a throne went viral in the aftermath of the Oprah interview in 2021.

In the famous interview, Meghan told CBS how an unnamed royal family member had made disparaging comments about how dark their child's skin might be before Archie was born.

She said: "So we have in tandem the conversation of 'He won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title' and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born."

The queen released a statement saying the royals took the comments seriously but acknowledging "some recollections may vary."

William was the first to comment in person, telling journalists days after broadcast: "We are very much not a racist family."

Britain's empire covered a quarter of the world at its height, including India and most of South Asia as well as much of Africa and the Caribbean.

The new backlash comes as William and Kate prepare for a tour of the Caribbean as part of celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.

Among the countries on their schedule is Jamaica, where there have been recent debates about removing the monarch as head of state, with one party in the 2020 elections pledging to hold a referendum on the subject.

The latest episode of Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast discussed the possibility of a backlash against the Cambridges during their tour.

For more royal news and commentary check out Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast:

A recent editorial in Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner read: "First, this newspaper is deeply uncomfortable, which we believe is the disposition of the majority of Jamaicans, of having the monarch of Great Britain, which, at this time is Queen Elizabeth II, as our country's head of state.

"Who holds this position is no meaningless symbolism. It ought to be an important reference point of who we are, and the aspirations we hold as a sovereign nation and people.

"The patriarch of a dysfunctional family in the United Kingdom that defined Jamaica's long colonial experience is not, therefore, an appropriate symbol."

Prince William Visits Museum
Prince William seen visiting the Foundling Museum, in London, on January 19, 2022. On a separate March visit in support of Britain's Ukrainian community he suggested it was alien to see conflict in Europe. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Update at 3/10/22, 6:32 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.