He's like the wildchild of princes...
LONDON (Reuters) - Politicians and religious groups on Sunday condemned Prince Harry for calling an Asian army colleague a "Paki" in video footage published by a tabloid newspaper on its website.
The 24-year-old prince, no stranger to controversy, was forced to apologise, saying there was no racist malice intended by the comments made in a 2006 video which was procured by the top-selling News of the World tabloid.
Conservative Party leader David Cameron said the comments were a "completely unacceptable thing to say and it is right that he has apologised."
"I think that it is important in the great institutions, whether it is the army or whether it is political parties, we have had to root out (such) attitudes," he told BBC television.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg echoed Cameron's remarks, but said a line should be drawn under the incident.
"He shouldn't have used those words, it will have caused considerable offence and has obviously caused him a considerable amount of embarrassment," Clegg told Sky television.
The word "Paki" is derogatory slang for an immigrant or descendant of an immigrant from Pakistan.
Downing Street declined to comment when contacted by Reuters, but Innovation Secretary John Denham told Sky television such language was no longer acceptable.
"This sort of language can be seen as offensive, is offensive, is gradually going out of use in our society, and he's apologised for it," he said.
The recording was made a year after Harry was pilloried for wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party, a gaffe that sparked an international outcry.
In some of the footage, Harry is behind the camera and can he heard making a mock commentary.
"Anyone else here ... ah, our little Paki friend ... Ahmed," Harry says as he zooms onto the face of an Asian officer cadet while waiting at an airport to fly to Cyprus.
Harry was also shown telling another officer cadet wearing a camouflage veil during a night manoeuvre in Cyprus, "You look like a raghead" -- an offensive term for an Arab.
Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Ramadhan Foundation, said the prince's remarks were racist.
"I am deeply shocked and saddened at Prince Harry's racism which upsets and offends many British Asians. The use of this sort of racism has no justification and I am saddened by those that are advocating using this term is not racist," he said.
But a spokesman for Harry said the prince understood how offensive his language towards his comrade was.
"However, on this occasion three years ago, Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon," the spokesman said.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella group for British Muslim organisations, said Harry's language was unacceptable and had harmed the image of the army, which has been trying to recruit more widely from minorities.
But MCB spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said Harry had done the right thing by apologising.
"In the big scheme of things, there are more important issues that we should be discussing, not least the carnage in Gaza," he said.