A prominent British television presenter has been slammed for making Prince Philip's upcoming funeral an issue of race.
Jeremy Vine, the host of a self-titled chat show on BBC 5, was discussing the death of Queen Elizabeth's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the drastically scaled-down formalities because of Covid-19.
He then posed a question to one of his guests, Shay Grewal, a radio star, relating to the small number of attendees that furious critics believe amounts to "race-baiting".
"We are going to see a group of 30 people at this very restricted funeral, and I imagine it will be 30 people who are white," Vine said.
"I'm just trying to think whether there's anybody of colour in there and I don't think so.
"Do you think that's a problem?"
Grewal responded that she didn't view it as a problem because "at the end of the day, the Royal Family are a family".
The conversation quickly moved on, but Vine's bizarre question sparked fury online.
The phrase "race-baiting" refers to behaviour that deliberately encourages racism – often subtly – to score some kind of advantage.
In Vine's case, critics claim the question was a ham-fisted attempt to create outrage and garner attention.
That's certainly worked – but not in the way he probably intended.
The political adviser and commentator Calvin Robinson was quick to lay in, tweeting: "I'm so tired of this divisive narrative. Identity politics has taken over and it's insidious."
Patrick Christys, a talkback radio host in the UK, was equally incensed. He wrote: "The only 'problem' Jeremy Vine is people like you trying to race bait Prince Philip's funeral. It's hardly a shock that our white skinned Queen & Prince Philip didn't have any mixed race children. Those children happened to marry white people & they're at the funeral. So what?!"
A huge number of other posts slammed Vine, labelling him as everything from "ghastly" to "desperate".
It was also pointed out that another segment on the same episode was devoted to a debate about whether cheese is racist.
The incident marks yet another uncomfortable moment for the BBC, which has been inundated with more than 100,000 complaints relating to its coverage of Prince Philip's death over the past week.
Upset began on Friday when news of the 99-year-old's death broke, with episodes of reality cooking competition MasterChef and popular soap Eastenders were dumped in favour of rolling coverage.
"We acknowledge some viewers were unhappy with the level of coverage given, and impact this had on the billed TV and radio schedules," the BBC said in a statement.
"We do not make such changes without careful consideration and the decisions made reflect the role the BBC plays as the national broadcaster, during moments of national significance.
"We are grateful for all feedback, and we always listen to the response from our audiences."
Other complaints were about broadcaster Andrew Marr's bizarre description of Prince Philip as an "Indian bride" – a reference to his tendency to walk a few steps behind the Queen in public.
"When reflecting on the life of Prince Philip, Andrew Marr gave his analysis of Prince Philip's role within the monarchy and relationship with the Queen," the BBC said.
"While doing this, Andrew made a remark which he accepts was poorly phrased, for which he apologises."
Buckingham Palace has released details about the funeral, which will be held St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday.
The Queen will sit alone in the choir area of the chapel for Covid-19 safety reasons, which has also forced a cap of 30 attendees.
They are the Duchess of Cornwall, all the Duke of Edinburgh's grandchildren and their spouses, the children of the Queen's sister Princess Margaret, and three of Philip's German relatives — Bernhard, the hereditary prince of Baden; Donatus, prince and landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Penelope "Penny" Knatchbull, is also invited as one of Philip's closest friends and carriage driving partner.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose not to attend to allow as many royals and close friends to attend as possible.