King’s College apologizes for ‘prejudice’ caused to staff by photo tribute to Prince Philip
One of Britain’s top universities has apologized for the ‘prejudice’ caused to staff after complaining about receiving a photo of Prince Philip which had ‘a history of racist and sexist comments’. The photograph of the late Duke opening the University Library was included in a recent electronic newsletter to staff at King’s College London. However, a spokesperson for King’s College London later said the institution’s bosses remained “very proud” of its long association with Prince Philip. Joleen Clarke, associate director of King’s College Libraries, emailed the apology to staff after some workers complained they were offended by a photo of the Duke in a staff newsletter previously emailed. Members of the university’s anti-racism community of practice reportedly reacted angrily to the photo, which showed the Duke standing alongside the Queen opening a library at King’s College in 2002, due to its “history of racist comments and sexist ”. Vanessa Farrier, the college’s partnership and liaison manager, was reportedly among the staff angered by the Duke in the email. In June, he was asked to “decolonize” the King’s College library. The Duke was known for his controversial comments, most famous for referring to “thin eyes” on a trip to China in 1986. Ms Clarke was subjected to what a source said was “a kangaroo court” among King’s College employees, who found the use of the photo offensive. The offending photo in the staff bulletin, sent shortly after the Duke’s death on April 9, was accompanied by a caption: “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 recall. Ms Clarke is said to have been active in King’s College’s anti-racism program. In the ensuing apology email, sent the week of May 10, she wrote: “The photo was included as a historical point of reference after its [the Duke’s] death. The inclusion of the image was not intended to commemorate him. “Through the comments and the conversations that followed, we became aware of the harm this has done to members of our community, due to its history of racist and sexist comments. We are sorry to have caused this harm. On Saturday, a spokesperson for King’s College said: “As we already pointed out in an official tribute to the university on April 9, 2021, Prince Philip had a long association with King’s which has continued until ‘on his retirement from public life. We greatly appreciate and remain very proud of his friendship and support for King’s. The Duke’s association with the College began in 1955, when he became the institution’s life governor. He and the Queen have visited King’s College on several occasions, most recently in 2012, for the opening of its East Wing Somerset House (pictured below).