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Jewish groups criticize prince’s Nazi costume

Britain's Prince Harry apologizes after costume party gaffe
/ Source: The Associated Press

Jewish groups in Britain criticized the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday for wearing a Nazi soldier’s uniform to a costume party.

Prince Harry, the second son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, apologized after a British newspaper printed a picture of him clutching a cigarette and a drink and wearing a swastika armband.

“The fact that the palace has issued an apology indicates that this was a mistake by the prince,” said Rabbi Jonathan Romain, a spokesman for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain. “But having being given, the apology should now be accepted.”

A spokesman for the Board Of Deputies Of British Jews said the costume “was clearly in bad taste, especially in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day” on Jan. 27.

But he added: “The board is pleased that he’s apologized for the incident.”

The queen will commemorate the Holocaust and 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by inviting survivors of the Nazi death camps and British Second World War veterans who liberated them to a reception at St. James’ Palace.

Prince: 'It was a poor choice of costume'The picture of the 20-year-old prince appeared in The Sun newspaper, which said he had attended a fancy dress party in the uniform of a fascist soldier.

News agent Roy Ottoway reads a copy of tabloid 'The Sun', whose front page shows a picture of Britain's Prince Harry wearing a Nazi soldier's uniform to a fancy dress party, early Thursday morning, Jan. 13, 2005 at King's Cross station in London. The grandson of Queen Elizabeth II apologized Wednesday night after 'The Sun' printed the picture. Prince Harry, the second son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, was shown in early editions of Thursday's issue of \"The Sun,\" clutching a cigarette and a drink and wearing a swastika armband. (AP Photo/Adam Butler) ** PICTURE MAY ONLY BE USED IN ITS ENTIRETY **Adam Butler / AP

In a statement, Harry said he was “very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone.”

“It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize.”

Harry, who plans to enroll this year at a military college, has long been known as the wilder of Charles and Diana’s two handsome sons, in contrast to his university-student brother Prince William, 22.

Harry, third in line to the throne, has been photographed drinking in London’s trendiest nightclubs and three years ago was sent by his father to observe a drug rehabilitation center after being caught smoking marijuana. In October he scuffled with a paparazzi photographer outside a London nightclub.

Not enough discipline?A former Buckingham Palace spokesman said he believed Prince Charles was too easy on his sons.

“I’m sorry, the Prince of Wales, he’s a humanitarian and he does some terrific work, but I don’t think he has the discipline and the right discipline over his children, particularly Prince Harry,” Dickie Arbiter told Sky News TV.

Harry is due to start training to become an army officer at the elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst later this year.

But a former armed forces minister said he thought the prince’s application to join Sandhurst should be withdrawn following the costume incident.

“I don’t think this young man is suitable for Sandhurst,” said Doug Henderson, a lawmaker in the governing Labor Party. “If it was anyone else the application wouldn’t be considered. It should be withdrawn immediately.”