Prince Harry criticised Britain’s lack of strong leadership while visiting a youth club, claimed a charity boss
Prince Harry appeared to criticise the lack of ‘strong leadership’ in Britain yesterday as he bemoaned the high numbers of youth clubs closing their doors.
During a visit to an organisation called Sport at the Heart, the Royal reportedly told a charity boss: ‘There’s a lack of strong leadership in this country.’
The charity’s founder, Nary Wijeratne, said: ‘He said that we don’t have “a strong government”.’
The comments, which may be taken by some as a criticism of Theresa May, appeared to go against the convention that the Royal Family does not air political views.
But last night Kensington Palace said Harry’s remarks had been misinterpreted.
A spokesman said: ‘Prince Harry was not talking about the Government. These remarks were made in the context of community projects rather than central government. He had a very enjoyable visit.’
Harry, 33, was visiting the Roundwood Youth Centre in the north London borough of Harlesden, which has a reputation for gang violence, without his fiancée Meghan Markle, 36.
The aim of the visit was to support the national Fit and Fed campaign, which provides children with sporting activities and a nutritious meal.
Miss Wijeratne said of her conversation with the prince: ‘I feel like he understood, he got it, he got what communities need these days and he said: “There’s a lack of strong leadership in this country.”’
Prince Harry served pasta while visiting the youth centre, with charity founder Nary Wijeratne, saying: ‘He said that we don’t have “a strong government”’
She added: ‘He also said that buildings like this are very important in the community, because they’re places where children, young people and adults can come together.
‘And what’s happened recently is there have been sweeping closures to these types of buildings.’
Although he seemed to be referring to the lack of resources for young people rather than launching a political attack on the Government, Miss Wijeratne said: ‘He said that we don’t have a strong government.’
Discussing youth centres with Stewart Goshawk, chief executive of the Wembley National Stadium Trust, the Royal said: ‘They seem to be reducing by number every single day.’
It comes after research carried out by Unison, the trade union, found £60million in youth services funding had been cut between 2012 and 2014.
Prince Harry, 33, was visiting the Roundwood Youth Centre in the north London borough of Harlesden, which has a reputation for gang violence
Over that period, about 350 youth centres closed.
Fit and Fed was launched by charity StreetGames to address concerns about some young people being hungry, isolated and inactive during the school holidays. As part of the visit, Harry showed off his hockey skills in the playground and dished out food to youngsters on half-term, with one joking that he was a ‘posh’ dinner lady.
Serving up pasta, he struggled with portion sizes, asking chef Kerin Parris ‘How much do they get?’. When T’miyah Reid, nine, was asked what it was like having her lunch served by a prince, she said: ‘Very posh.’
But Kensington Palace said that while the Prince enjoyed his visit to the youth club, his comments on leadership were ‘misinterpreted’