Prince William became a lightning rod for criticism on social media after comments he made at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in London on Wednesday went viral. William said it was "very alien" to see wars erupt in Europe for his generation. One report claimed William noted that the British are more used to seeing wars in Africa and Asia, which led to accusations of racism. However, it appears that William may have been misquoted.
"Everyone is horrified by what they are seeing. It's really horrifying," William said to show support for Ukraine, reports PEOPLE. "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."
The Duke of Cambridge on war in Europe. He doesn’t appear to have compared it to conflicts in Africa and Asia. In the chaos, a remark he made was misheard, starting a social media storm. Apologies for reporting that online. https://t.co/zdfaCJFFLf— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) March 10, 2022
However, the Press Association's report on William and Kate Middleton's meeting at the cultural center only included the quote, "It's very alien to see this in Europe. We are all behind you." William reportedly said Britons were more used to seeing wars break out in Africa and Asia. The comment inspired criticism across Twitter, with the hashtag "#PrinceWilliamIsARacist" trending on Wednesday and Thursday.
ITV reporter Lizzie Robinson later tweeted a video from William and Kate's visit, including the full quote. William is not heard mentioning Africa or Asia in the brief clip. Reporter Richard Palmer later apologized for reporting that William compared wars in Europe to those in Africa and Asia. "The Duke of Cambridge on war in Europe. He doesn't appear to have compared it to conflicts in Africa and Asia," Palmer tweeted on Thursday. "In the chaos, a remark he made was misheard, starting a social media storm. Apologies for reporting that online." Kensington Palace has not commented on the situation.
William and Kate's visit to the Ukrainian Culture Center was meant to be a sign of support from the royal family to Ukraine after it was invaded by Russia late last month. They also spoke with Disasters Emergency Committee CEO Saleh Saeed to discuss the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which Queen Elizabeth II donated to last week. William's father Prince Charles also visited St. Luke's Church at Earl's Court in London to discuss Holy Trinity Brompton's refugee aid program.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge previously spoke out about Russia's invasion of Ukraine two days after it began. "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 couple wrote. "Today we stand with the President and all of Ukraine's people as they bravely fight for that future."
Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, starting the largest military attack in Europe since World War II. On Thursday, U.K. officials accused Russia of committing "war crimes" for an attack on a children's and maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine. At least three people were killed in the strike, Ukrainian officials said. Russian officials denied that they hit a functioning hospital, reports CBS News.