When Prince William spoke out about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine during a recent public appearance, his comments were the subject of controversy. However, he was apparently misquoted by several media outlets in attendance.
“Everyone is horrified by what they are seeing. It’s really horrifying,” the Duke of Cambridge, 39, said during his joint outing with wife Duchess Kate on Wednesday, March 9. “The news every day, it’s just, it’s almost unfathomable. For our generation, it’s very alien to see this in Europe. We’re all right behind you. We’re thinking about you. We feel so useless.”
ITV royal reporter Lizzie Robinson tweeted footage of the complete quote on Thursday, March 10, hours after a shortened version of William’s quote made the rounds online. Many news organizations had reported that William said “it’s very alien to see this in Europe,” since the British are more used to seeing conflict in Africa and Asia, per a Press Association staffer. The misattributed quote quickly came under fire via social media, sparking accusations of racism.
The military veteran and the Duchess of Cambridge, 40, met with locals at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London on Wednesday. They learned about the contributions of England residents to support refugees amid the conflict.
“Over the past two weeks, communities and organizations here in the U.K. have come together to provide vital support to Ukrainians here in Britain and across Europe,” a post on the pair’s official Instagram account read shortly after the visit. “The Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London has become one of many hubs organizing donations, material aid and supporting Ukrainians living locally. The work volunteers here are doing to ensure that help gets to where it is most needed is inspiring.”
The social media upload continued: “So too is the incredible generosity of the British public. The Disasters Emergency Committee has already received over £132 million in donations, and continues to raise funds to support the essential humanitarian effort.”
During the engagement, William noted that his three children — Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, whom he shares with Kate — have been curious about the crisis.
“Ours have been coming home asking all about it,” the future king said at the time, per Twitter footage from royal reporter Rebecca English. “They are obviously talking about it with their friends at school.”
The former RAF pilot told attendees he had to “choose [his] words carefully to explain what is going on” and break down the global news to the school-aged children.
The royal couple — who wed in April 2011 — issued a statement on the conflict shortly after Russian troops began invading several Ukrainian cities late last month.
“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,” the duo tweeted on February 26. “Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future 🇺🇦 W & C.”
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