Prince Charles has issued a warning over the “rise of populism” in a veiled apparent reference to the election of Donald Trump and increasingly hostile attitudes towards refugees in Europe. The Prince of Wales said there were “deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s”, adding that “evil” religious persecution was taking place across the globe. The “suffering doesn’t end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land,” he said in the pre-recorded message for BBC Radio 4’s Thought For The Day.
“We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s,” he said. “My parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and inhuman attempts to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.”
Citing UN statistics, he added that a “staggering” 65.3 million people abandoned their homes in 2015 — 5.8 million more than the year before.
“The suffering doesn’t end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land,” he said. “We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive towards those who adhere to a minority faith.”
He went on to urge listeners to remember this Christmas “how the story of the Nativity unfolds with the fleeing of the holy family to escape violent persecution”.
While the prince did not make direct reference to Mr Trump, his address will be widely linked to the billionaire’s rise to power.
It came as the President-elect signalled he may be intent on pushing through a proposed Muslim ‘registry’.
“Thank you Prince Charles for calling out the creeping trend of modern authoritarianism in which Trump and Putin are significant players,” one Twitter user wrote.
Presumably we'll get a tweet from Donald Trump attacking Prince Charles by the end of the day.
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) December 22, 2016
The heir to the throne’s address also comes after an apparent surged in far-right and nationalist sentiment across Europe, which appeared to gather momentum in the wake of the UK’s Brexit vote.
Front National candidate Marine Le Pen is expected to reach a second-round run-off in next year’s French presidential elections, while similar political parties have also seen an increase in support in countries including Germany, Austria and Netherlands.
The speech was the third time Prince Charles has appeared on Thought for the Day.
He first did so on the fiftieth anniversary of VE Day in 1995 and then again in January 2000 to mark the new millennium.