Prince Charles calls Indian polo player ‘Sooty’, he doesn’t mind (Lead)

January 14th, 2009 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Camilla ParkerLondon, Jan 14 (IANS) A wealthy Indian property developer and polo player said he didn’t mind Prince Charles and his family calling him ‘Sooty’ in the second race row in a week involving members of the British royalty.“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,” said Kolin Dhillon, who plays polo with Prince Charles and other royals at the Cirencester Polo Club near the Prince’s Highgrove estate.

Charles, his second wife Camilla Parker Bowles and elder son William are all reported to call Dhillon by the nickname, according to the British media.

The reports follow a race row over Charles’ younger son Prince Harry calling a Pakistani former fellow-cadet “Paki” in a home video made three years ago.

While Harry has issued a public apology for calling Ahmed Raza Khan “our little Paki friend”, Britain’s royal household has strongly denied either Charles or any of his two sons are racist.

“We are not going to comment about a nickname which allegedly is used in a particular club,” Clarence House said in a statement.

“To imply the Princes are racist is ridiculous. Through their charity work all three of them are committed to helping people both in the UK and abroad regardless of who they are.

“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,” it added.

Dhillon too defended the royals, saying: “The Prince of Wales is a man of zero prejudice and both his sons have always been most respectful.”

Dhillon has been described as a millionaire property developer, who is noted for his impeccable dress sense.

“His real name is Kuldip Singh Dhillon but he prefers to be known by the Anglicised name Kolin or Sooty to his friends,” the Daily Telegraph said Wednesday.

Dhillon came to Britain with his parents from India in 1955 at the age of four and has lived in Gloucestershire for more than 30 years. Camilla Parker Bowles and her former husband are said to have known him since the 1970s.

He was a director and committee member of Cirencester Park Polo Club, which is set on 3,000 acres of land, and former chairman of the Schools and Universities Polo Association.

Colin and business partner Satnam Dhillon, a polo international, have played for India against English teams in the Asia Polo Cup.

A newspaper quoted a friend of Dhillon’s as saying: “He is utterly bemused by all of this. People have been calling him Sooty for so long he did not even notice.”

But Show Racism The Red Card, a charity devoted to eradicating racism in sport, objected to the nickname, saying: “In our view there’s no friendly banter where racism is concerned. The members of the royal family, with all the money that’s been spent on their education, should be aware that calling people ‘Sooty’ is unacceptable.”

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