By Andrew Allison, Head of Campaigns
'We are going to see a group of 30 people who are going to be at this very restricted funeral, and I'm imagining it will be 30 people who are white.
'I'm just trying to think whether there's anybody of colour in there and I don't think so. Do you think that's a problem?'
Those were the words of Jeremy Vine to a guest on his Channel 5 show yesterday discussing Prince Philip’s funeral. What is he trying to say? Is he trying to say that the Royal Family is racist? Or is he just trying to create a fuss in order to boost the ratings of his show? Either way, it is not only an inflammatory question, but a stupid one, too.
In line with the current restrictions, only 30 mourners are allowed to attend the funeral. The Queen and the late Prince have four children - three of whom are married. They also have eight grandchildren - five of whom are married and living with their spouses. Add other close family members and the figure of 30 is easily reached. Indeed, the Prime Minister gave up his seat at the funeral in order to allow another family member to attend.
If we had not been enduring these restrictions, around 900 people would have attended the funeral. Many of those in attendance would have been from the Commonwealth who have close ties to Prince Philip.
As campaigner Calvin Robinson (who is mixed race) tweeted yesterday:
“Jeremy Vine even manages to turn HRH Prince Philip’s funeral into a race issue… I’m so tired of this divisive narrative. Identity politics has taken over and it's insidious. I appreciate the irony of this, but can we please stop talking about race!”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.