HALIFAX – The royal visit to Canada has made headlines in Britain’s Daily Mail for what the tabloid reported was a remark in which Prince Charles likened Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler when talking to a woman who lost relatives in the Holocaust.
The Daily Mail says Charles made the comment during a visit Monday to the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax.
The newspaper reports museum volunteer Marienne Ferguson as saying her Jewish family fled to Canada from Poland when she was 13, but that other relatives failed to flee before the German army arrived in Gdansk in 1939.
It quotes Ferguson as saying she told Charles about her family background and how she came to Canada, and that Charles then said to her: “And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.”
The Canadian Press could not immediately reach Ferguson for comment about the report.
A spokeswoman for Clarence House, the residence of Prince Charles, told the news agency early Wednesday, “We don`t comment on private conversations.”
“We do like to stress that the Prince of Wales wouldn’t seek to make a political statement during a private conversation,” the spokeswoman added.
According to The Guardian, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov avoided commenting on the report when asked by journalists. However, the British paper reported that a Russian newspaper said Charles’ comments risked “triggering an international scandal.”
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg reportedly told the BBC that Charles “is entitled to his views.” The deputy prime minister added “I don’t know exactly what he did or didn’t say in that conversation because he thought it was a private conversation.”
Tensions have grown between Putin and the West since Russia’s annexation of Crimea earlier this year.
Charles is scheduled to wrap up his trip to Canada on Wednesday in Winnipeg.
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-with files from Global News