Prince Charles has provoked diplomatic dispute by allegedly comparing Russian president Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hilter. The Kremlin has hit back at the British prince, claiming he is “not worthy of a future British monarchy.”
The Daily Mail reported that an 87-year-old Polish woman named Marianne Ferguson claimed Charles made a careless comment likening Putin to the Nazi leader in a private conversation.
Ferguson was a volunteer during a tour of the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia when she told the British prince that she fled to Canada shortly before the Nazis took her home city of Danzig.
“And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler,” Charles apparently told her, referring to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The seemingly casual remark irked the Russian government, calling for the prince to clarify his meaning.
“If these words were really said, then undoubtedly they are not worthy of a future British monarch,” foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Moscow.
“We have requested an official explanation from British authorities over the statements,” he continued, adding that the comment was “unacceptable, outrageous and low.”
The Russian embassy in London will also question the remark.
“The minister-counsellor of the embassy, Mr Alexander Kramarenko, will meet this afternoon the representatives of the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] to discuss a range of bilateral issues,” the embassy said in a statement.
“The outrageous remarks made by Prince Charles in Canada will be among the questions raised. The embassy asked the FCO for official clarifications on that yesterday.”
Clarence House, the royal residence of the Prince of Wales, declined to comment, only saying, “We would like to stress that the Prince of Wales would not seek to make a public political statement during a private conversation.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson also said that it “could not be expected to comment upon reports of private conversation.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said has defended the prince, saying “everyone is entitled to their private opinions.”
Also defending the prince is Cameron’s deputy, Nick Clegg, who said that Charles should be “free to express himself.”