Prince William became the centre of a short-lived wave of backlash on social media after reports emerged about comments he allegedly made about the war in Ukraine.

It was claimed the royal said it was “normal to see war and bloodshed in Africa and Asia” while meeting with volunteers at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.

The comment was paraphrased by a reporter and sent out via the Press Association, taking on a life of its own on social media.

Omid Scobie, a co-author of a biography on Prince Harry and Meghan, was among the most vocal critics, accusing William in a now-deleted tweet of being “ignorant” and helping to “normalise war and death in Africa and Asia”.

“Unsurprised to see backlash against Prince William’s ignorant remark (reported by @PA). Europe has seen some of the bloodiest conflict in the past two centuries – Balkans, Yugoslavia, Germany and Kosovo to name a few,” he wrote.

“But sure, let’s normalise war and death in Africa and Asia.”

Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, also weighed in, saying William’s words were “horrific”, while others said it was further proof of racism in the royal family.

However, footage from British broadcaster ITV revealed that William never referred to Asia or Africa.

Instead, he actually said: “Everyone is so horrified by what they are seeing. It’s really horrifying.

“The news every day, it’s just, it’s almost unfathomable. For our generation, it’s very alien to see this in Europe.

“We’re all right behind you. We’re thinking about you. We feel so useless.”

Scobie later explained why he deleted his tweet and shared the original information reporters were using.

“This reporting – by an @NUJ rep – was used by multiple outlets, incl Daily Mail’s royal editor, and seemed reliable to comment on (hours after others had reacted),” he wrote.

“When an @ITV video showed Palmer’s paraphrased Asia/Africa quote was wrong, I retracted my tweet and shared corrections.”

He went on to explain that the “pool copy” produced by journalist Richard Palmer, who covered the Duke and Duchess’ royal visit, was used to share information to other outlets who weren’t present using the royal rota system.

“Being the only journalist there, Palmer’s sole job was to share reporting to the outlets not present. There would be no royal beat without the pool system,” Scobie captioned an image of the copy written by Palmer that was shared with other journalists.

In a follow-up tweet, Scobie shared the apology issued by Palmer, the reporter who made the error.

“The Duke of Cambridge on war in Europe. He doesn’t appear to have compared it to conflicts in Africa and Asia. In the chaos, a remark he made was misheard, starting a social media storm. Apologies for reporting that online,” Palmer tweeted.

Meanwhile, ITV’s Chris Ship, who helped uncover what William really said, argued that the Duke of Cambridge would have only been 9 or 10 when the war in former Yugoslavia began and “for his generation, it could be considered accurate to describe this as ‘very alien’ in Europe”.

Image: @dukeandduchessofcambridge (Instagram)

This article first appeared on OverSixty.