King's College London apologises after putting Prince Philip's picture in an email

31 May 2021, 17:23 | Updated: 31 May 2021, 21:27

The Queen and Prince Philip visiting the Maughan Library at King's College London in 2002.
The Queen and Prince Philip visiting the Maughan Library at King's College London in 2002. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

A university has apologised after a picture of Prince Philip in an email offended some members of staff.

King's College London university issued an apology to staff for including the image after complaints were made about his "history of racist and sexist comments."

Following the Duke of Edinburgh's death on 9 April, employees at the university were sent an email showing him opening the university's Maughan Library with the Queen in 2002. Prince Philip was made Life Governor of the institution in 1995.

Attached to the image was a caption reading: “As the nation marks the death of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, we thought you might like to see this photo of the duke at the official opening of the Maughan Library in 2002, which some colleagues will remember.”

But the university's Anti-Racism Community of Practice made complaints, saying the email caused harm due to the Prince's previous comments, according to the Mail on Sunday.

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After receiving multiple complaints KCL associate director Joleen Clarke issued an apology, reportedly telling staff: “The picture was included as a historical reference point following his death.

“The inclusion of the picture was not intended to commemorate him.

“Through feedback and subsequent conversations, we have come to realise the harm that this caused members of our community, because of his history of racist and sexist comments.

“We are sorry to have caused this harm.”

The picture showed Prince Philip during a visit to King's College London.
The picture showed Prince Philip during a visit to King's College London. Picture: PA

A spokesperson for KCL said: “As we previously highlighted in an official university statement, Prince Philip had a long and valued association with King’s."

Brandon Lewis, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and a King's College alumni posted on Twitter: "This is beyond silly.

"As an alumni myself, I’m embarrassed about this.'HRH was an amazing public servant & this reaction by the University, to a very fair message, is beyond parody."

Government minister James Cleverly retweeted the reports of the apology, adding: "This is just getting silly now."