In Brief

Prince Charles 'compares Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler'

Prince of Wales tells Polish war refugee about his thoughts on Russia's intervention in Ukraine

Prince Charles has likened Vladimir Putin's actions to those of Adolf Hitler during the Second World War, according to a Polish war refugee. 

Marienne Ferguson, a 78-year-old whose relatives died in Nazi concentration camps, met the prince yesterday at a reception for war veterans in Nova Scotia, Canada.

"I had finished showing him the exhibit and talked with him about my own family background and how I came to Canada," Ferguson told the Daily Mail. "The Prince then said: 'And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler'." 

Ferguson said that she agreed with the Prince but was "very surprised" that he made the comment as she thought the Royal family "are not meant to say these things".

The Prince, who is on a four-day royal tour of Canada with the Duchess of Cornwall, is due to meet the Russian president for D-Day anniversary celebrations in France next month.

Putin has been widely condemned since he annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March. When he subsequently began issuing Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a similar comment to the Prince, telling an audience at a private fund-raiser: "Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 1930s."

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt describes Prince Charles's comments as "an unplanned foray into a vexed international issue".

He adds: "Charles's supporters will argue his views are in tune with those who've been appalled by the Russian president's actions in Ukraine. His critics believe an unelected future head of state should be seen and not heard."

Prince Charles has previously been criticised for meddling in domestic affairs, holding private meetings with ministers and writing them letters about issues close to his heart.

Clarence House said it would not comment on a private conversation.

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