Prince William blasted for 'tone-deaf' comments about Ukraine invasion

·Lifestyle & Entertainment producer
·4-min read

Prince William has been slammed online after making controversial comments about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London on Wednesday where he remarked that a war in Europe was “very alien to see” for people of his generation.

Prince William and Kate Middleton visiting a Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London.
Prince William has received criticism over his ‘tone-deaf’ comments about the Ukraine invasion. Photo: Getty

“Everyone is horrified by what they’re seeing. The news every day, it’s almost unfathomable,” he said when speaking to the volunteers. “For our generation, it’s very alien to see this in Europe. We’re all right behind you.”

It was also reported that William made reference to other continents, saying that British people were “more used to seeing conflict in Africa and Asia”.

However, the journalist who filed the original story has since retracted those comments and apologised for mishearing.

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While the royal couple initially received praise for showing support for Ukraine by visiting the centre and bringing trays of homemade brownies and granola bars, the future monarch was later called out on social media for his “ignorant” and “tone-deaf” comments.

Several users were quick to point out that the Kosovo War in 1998 and 1999, the Croatian War of Independence from 1991 to 1995, and the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014 all occurred in Europe during William’s lifetime.

Others noted that his mother, Princess Diana, visited war-torn Bosnia in 1997 following the country’s war between 1992 and 1995.

The three-day trip was also the Princess of Wales’ last overseas tour before her sudden death in Paris three weeks later.

Social media backlash

“So war is alien in Europe for his generation?” one person tweeted following the incident. “This said by a 40-year-old man born in 1982 who is apparently well educated, well-travelled and has the most remarkable access to world leaders.”

“‘War doesn’t happen in Europe’ is an extremely, wildly ahistorical thing to say about a continent that is on its Third World War in less than a century,” another added.

“How do you have a 1000 year history of colonialism, a literal 100-year war, launch two World Wars, allow multiple genocides, and bomb a dozen nations since 9/11 alone—yet make this type of a statement,” a different user asked.

“So exactly what IS Eton teaching their students in history class, when they educated Britain’s future king, Prince William, and he thinks war doesn’t happen in Europe?” a fourth remarked.

Others, however, defended Prince William and believed that he was correct to make those comments, writing: “We don’t go invading our neighbours’ land in this modern age.”

“I agree William said nothing wrong, but this is exactly why the Queen refrains from commenting on such conflicts unless officially,” someone else shared. “His comments will be taken out of context and this ensues. I know he wants to show empathy, but every word he says is scrutinised.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton wearing pins in support of Ukraine.
William and Kate showed their support for Ukraine by wearing a small blue and yellow pin with a white heart. Photo: Getty

William and Kate first expressed their support for the people of Ukraine online late last month while reflecting on a previous meeting with the country’s leader.

“In October 2020 we had the privilege to meet President Zelenskyy and the First Lady to learn of their hope and optimism for Ukraine’s future,” they tweeted from their official social media account.

“Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future.”

President Zelenskyy responded a few days later, saying he was grateful that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge “stand by our country and support our brave citizens”.

“Good will triumph,” he added.

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