A mixture of outrage and speculation continues to brew around the world after photos were published of Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform at a friend’s costume party last weekend.
British tabloid the Sun, which splashed the photo on its front page Thursday, is now claiming that Harry’s father, Prince Charles, has ordered the 20-year-old son to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in southwest Poland to be made aware of what the Nazi uniform symbolized. But the Sun story is being viewed as pure speculation, and no plans have been announced for Harry to make such a trip – though Buckingham Palace is not ruling out a special visit in the future.
Communications chief Paddy Harverson tells PEOPLE: “In due course the lessons will be learned and anything that will be done will be done privately.”
Besides Harry’s own admission of the uniform’s being “a poor choice of costume and I apologize,” his timing could not have been worse. The gaffe took place two weeks before the Jan. 27 events to commemorate 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.
On American TV, royal watchers said that the theme of the party Harry attended was “a bad-taste party,” though that did not excuse him wearing such an international symbol of hate. His older brother William, 22, also attended the party, but he wore an innocuous animal outfit.
Ned Temko, editor of Britain’s weekly Jewish Chronicle, tells The Washington Post that Harry’s apology was not enough, saying: “It implied this was a wardrobe problem.” Temko also pointed out that during WWII the Nazis bombed London’s Jews and non-Jews alike in an attempted takeover of Britain, but said as Harry’s actions demonstrate, “There seems to be an utter lack of awareness of the context of the Holocaust and the war.”
In the U.K., The Times of London, considered the voice of the establishment, has dismissed Harry’s apology as “feeble” and said he had fallen in with “a dubious group of self-indulgent young men who are apparently content with a life of pointless privilege.”
In Harry’s defense, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson spoke out about the controversy, saying the media need to “back off” the young royal.
“Both William and Harry are very good men. I think that their mother was very proud of them,” she told BBC Radio. “He has apologized and people have accepted his apology, and let’s move on.”