Palace denies claim Prince Andrew used n-word in meeting

Buckingham Palace has denied claims by a former Downing Street aide that Prince Andrew used the n-word during a meeting at Buckingham Palace.

Sky News understands that the palace has written a legal letter to the Evening Standard over allegations made in the newspaper by columnist Rohan Silva, who was an adviser to former PM David Cameron.

He said that the Duke of York used the racist word while talking with him about trade policy in 2012, when asked if he thought the government department responsible for trade "could be doing a better job".

The royal was alleged to have said: "Well, if you'll pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile".

Image: The offensive phrase was allegedly used at the palace in 2012

The palace is understood to "strenuously deny that these words were ever used".


Mr Silva said in the Standard that the meeting was only attended by him, a palace aide and Prince Andrew, and that he regretted not "confronting the prince on his choice of words".

The phrase he accused the duke of using was once a common reference to a hidden threat or something suspicious, however it has long been completely unacceptable.

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It originates from 19th century America, where people in the Deep South used it to describe slaves who hid in piles of logs and firewood as part of their bid to escape oppression.

Despite that, British politicians have gotten into trouble for using the phrase as recently as 2017, when the Tory MP Anne Marie Morris was suspended by Theresa May for saying it during a meeting about Brexit.

DAWLISH, ENGLAND - APRIL 10:  Prime Minister David Cameron leaves the train station in Devon with Conservative candidate Anne Marie Morris (L) on April 10, 2015 in Dawlish, United Kingdom. Mr Cameron is touring the country on a campaign trail to encourage voting for the Conservative party, before Britain goes to the polls in a General Election on May 7. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Image: Tory MP Anne Marie Morris has previously gotten in trouble for using the term

Sky News has contacted Mr Silva for a comment.

The claim comes just days after Prince Andrew was roundly criticised for an interview on BBC's Newsnight about his links to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

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The duke was accused of "utterly lacking in compassion" for the victims of the disgraced billionaire, who died in prison earlier this year, with several commentators expressing their shock about the nature of the interview.

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