British royal Prince Charles and his sons Prince William and Prince Harry have been forced to deny reports they are racist, after it was revealed they refer to an Asian friend as "Sooty".
The Prince of Wales and his grown-up sons address a polo-playing pal, wealthy property developer Kuldip Dhillon, by the nickname when they play together at a sports club near Prince Charles' countryside home.
But Dhillon has laughed off the suggestion the royals use the word offensively, insisting the name is "a term of affection".
He adds, "I have to say that you know you have arrived when you acquire a nickname. I enjoy being called Sooty by my friends, who I am sure universally use the name as a term of affection with no offence meant or felt. The Prince of Wales is a man of zero prejudice and both his sons have always been most respectful."
And a spokesperson for the royals has denied suggestions the Prince, or any other member of the British royal family, is racist: "The Prince of Wales has a very strong view on racial intolerance. No one has been more of an advocate for the understanding and tolerance of various religious and ethnic groups and his record speaks volumes on this issue."
The news comes just days after Prince Harry was forced to issue an apology for referring to a Pakistani Army colleague as a "P*ki".