BBC journalist Amol Rajan has apologised for “rude and immature” comments he made about the Royal Family a decade ago.
It has emerged the host of Radio 4’s flagship Today programme described the Duke of Edinburgh as a “racist buffoon”, the Prince of Wales as “scientifically illiterate” and said events to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee were “little more than the industrialisation of mediocrity”.
The comments were made in a 2012 article for The Independent, which he used to edit, in which he was also critical of princes William and Harry.
In a series of tweets, Rajan, 38, said he “deeply regretted” the comments he had made in a “former life”.
The BBC’s media editor added: “I look back on them now with real embarrassment, and ask myself what I was thinking, frankly.
“I would like to say sorry for any offence they caused then or now. I’m completely committed to impartiality and hope our recent programmes can be judged on their merits.”
The BBC did not comment any further, but in a previous statement, it said: “Once journalists join the BBC, they leave past views at the door. Amol is an experienced BBC journalist who reports on all of the topics he covers in an impartial way and in line with the BBC’s editorial guidelines.”
It is not the first time Rajan has been the focus of royal controversy.
A BBC documentary he recently presented – The Princes And The Press – attracted criticism from the royal households, which said “overblown and unfounded claims” were given credibility.
The two-part series suggested negative stories about the Duchess of Sussex were leaked by courtiers and there was competitiveness between households.
A rare joint statement from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace was included at the end of the BBC Two documentary.
It said: “A free, responsible and open press is of vital importance to a healthy democracy.
“However, too often it is overblown and unfounded claims from unnamed sources that are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”
The documentary prompted the broadcast of a Christmas carol service led by the Duchess of Cambridge at Westminster Abbey to be moved from the BBC to ITV.