Prince Harry calls Nazi costume he wore at 20 ‘one of biggest mistakes of my life’

British royal says in new Netflix series that fallout from outfit with swastika armband was a learning moment that led him to speak with UK’s chief rabbi and a Holocaust survivor

In this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, file photo, Britain's Prince Harry arrives in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
In this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, file photo, Britain's Prince Harry arrives in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

In the new series “Harry & Meghan,” Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, says dressing up as a Nazi at age 20 in 2005 was “probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

“I felt so ashamed afterwards. All I wanted to do was make it right,” he says in the series, which debuted on Netflix on Thursday.

Harry wore the outfit to a friend’s costume-themed birthday party. He was photographed in the Nazi attire, which included an armband emblazoned with a swastika, while holding a drink and a cigarette.

The British newspaper The Sun published the image on its front page shortly after the party under the headline “Harry the Nazi.”

Harry was harshly criticized for the costume.

A spokesperson said at the time that Harry “has apologized for any offense or embarrassment he has caused. He realizes it was a poor choice of costume.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said at the time that the costume was in “bad taste,” but was “pleased” with the apology.

Harry addresses the incident in the third episode of the new series, while discussing bias in the royal family.

“I sat down and spoke to the chief rabbi in London, which had a profound impact on me. I went to Berlin and spoke to a Holocaust survivor,” the British royal says.

“I could have got on and ignored it and made the same mistakes over and over in my life, but I learned from that,” he says.

The series chronicles the couple’s estrangement from the royal family and chastises Britain’s media and societal landscape.

The first three episodes of “Harry and Meghan” dissect the symbiotic relationship between tabloid newspapers and the royal family and examine the history of racism across the British Empire, and how it persists.

“In this family sometimes, you know, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution,’’ Harry says in one of the episodes. “There is a huge level of unconscious bias. The thing with unconscious bias is that it is actually no one’s fault. But once it has been pointed out, or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right.”

The media’s treatment of Meghan, who is biracial — and what the couple felt was a lack of sympathy from royal institutions about the coverage — were at the heart of their complaints when they walked away from royal life almost three years ago and moved to Southern California.

The series comes at a crucial moment for the monarchy as King Charles III tries to show that the institution still has a role to play after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, whose personal popularity dampened criticism of the crown during her 70-year reign.

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