Stonewall, the gay equality organisation, has said that a video that shows Prince Harry calling fellow soldiers “queer” is an insult to lesbians and gay men serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The News of the World has released a video that shows Harry questioning whether a fellow officer is feeling “gay” or “a bit queer on the side” following an exhausting task.
He is also heard calling a fellow officer from the Pakistani army “our little Paki friend.”
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, has expressed upset at Prince Harry’s comments and drawn attention to the damaging effect that these derogatory comments can have in the long-run.
“It’s conspicuous that Prince Harry has expressed regret for his racist remarks, but not yet for his homophobic ones,” he said.
“Working as Stonewall now does with staff of all three armed services, we know that this sort of low-level insult does have an impact on operational effectiveness.
“We trust that the Prince will act very swiftly to offer an appropriate apology, in particular to those lesbian and gay personnel currently on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The Prince, who is third in line to the throne, made the comments in a video originally filmed in 2006 whilst training as an officer at the Sandhurst military academy.
In the film, he is heard asking a member of the squad to run through an exercise they had just completed together.
“[I want to hear] your ups and downs in the exercise. Highs and lows … Good points, bad points. How do you feel? Gay? Queer on the side?”
Harry has since issued a full apology for his “non-malicious” remarks, and in light of his public statement,
The Army has said that no formal disciplinary action will be taken.
When questioned about Harry’s ‘gay’ remarks, the Ministry of Defence refused to comment, but reiterated their original statement:
“Neither the Army nor the Armed Forces tolerates inappropriate behaviour in any shape or form. This specific case will be dealt with in line with normal Army procedures.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced that it is demanding a formal inquiry into Harry’s behaviour.