Rohan Silva says royal used word in 2012 conversation at Buckingham Palace
Prince Andrew has been accused of using the N-word in a conversation with a senior political aide, adding to the royals woes after his BBC Newsnight interview regarding his friendship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The claim was made by Rohan Silva, a former aide to David Cameron, who met the prince at Buckingham Palace in 2012.
Silva asked the Queens son whether the government department responsible for trade could be doing a better job, according to the Evening Standard.
He claims the prince responded: Well, if youll pardon the expression, that really is the [N-word] in the woodpile.
Buckingham Palace sources have categorically denied the claim.
The same phrase was used by Conservative MP Anne Marie Morris in 2017, prompting the party to suspend her for several months.
The Evening Standard quoted unnamed palace sources insisting Andrew never made the comment and would never use such language.
However, Silva, who is from a Sri Lankan background, said he walked blinking into the sunshine outside Buckingham Palace, reeling at the princes use of language after the meeting.
For a long time afterwards I kicked myself for not confronting the prince on his choice of words and its something I still regret today. He clearly wasnt taken to task very often by the people around him, which meant offensive language could go unchallenged.
Silva said the private meeting was attended by him, the prince and a royal aide, making it harder to independently verify the claim.
The phrase originated in the early 19th-century US, relating to slaves attempting to hide in piles of wood while fleeing, later becoming a phrase used to mean an unknown factor affecting a situation in an adverse way.
The Atlantic, an American magazine, has previously quoted a linguistics professor saying: The phrase was used by middle-class speakers in conversation in the UK the 1950s and 60s, aided by its usage in works by Agatha Christie, Somerset Maugham and Dr Seuss.
Andrew previously worked as a trade envoy for the UK, earning the nickname Air miles Andy as he travelled the world, often at taxpayers expense, to hold events in the name of British business.
Silva, who championed tech policy while in Downing Street, left government in 2013 and now runs the co-working space Second Home. He recounted the meeting in his column for the Evening Standard, which is edited by the former Tory chancellor George Osborne.
He said this was the second Buckingham Palace meeting with Andrew where he had felt uncomfortable with the language used.
Silva claimed the previous year Andrew had told him in another discussion on trade policy: What you have got to remember is that youll never get anywhere by playing the white man.
Silva added: I genuinely didnt know what he meant, and the discussion moved on. But the phrase playing the white man stuck in my head, as Id never heard it before. So when I got back to my desk, I immediately Googled it.
The definition flashed up on my screen: an old-fashioned saying, used during colonial times, meaning that only white people can be trusted to follow the rules, unlike dark-skinned natives.