• Prince William's controversial comment about war being "alien" to Europe was a misquote
  • A video of the complete quote was shared online Thursday, hours after the shortened version of the royal's quote sparked backlash
  • The reporter who misquoted Prince William issued an apology to the royal

Prince William faced backlash this week over an alleged comment about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine during a public appearance, but the royal was apparently misquoted by several media outlets in attendance.

On Wednesday, the Duke of Cambridge and his wife Kate Middleton visited the Ukrainian Cultural Center in London to hear about the efforts being made to support Ukrainians in the U.K. and across Europe.

While speaking to volunteers at the center, Prince William said, "Everyone is horrified by what they are seeing. It's really horrifying. The news every day, it's just, it's almost unfathomable. For our generation, it's very alien to see this in Europe. We're all right behind you. We're thinking about you. We feel so useless."

ITV royal reporter Lizzie Robinson shared a video of the complete quote Thursday, hours after a shortened version of the royal's quote made the rounds online. A Press Association reporter had quoted Prince William as saying that "it's very alien to see this in Europe," since Britons were more used to seeing conflict in Africa and Asia.

The misreported quote, particularly the "Africa and Asia" comment, quickly sparked criticism and accusations of racism against the royal on social media, with a number of Twitter users pointing out that the two major world wars were fought in Europe and that several conflicts have taken place on the continent since Prince William was born — including the Kosovo War from 1998 to 1999, and the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014.

In addition to the ITV video showing the full conversation, the Press Association has since released a corrected copy of Prince William's comment.

Richard Palmer, a reporter who misquoted Prince William, addressed the controversy on Twitter Thursday, issuing an apology to the royal.

"The Duke of Cambridge on war in Europe," Palmer wrote alongside the footage of Prince William's actual statement. "He doesn't appear to have compared it to conflicts in Africa and Asia. In the chaos, a remark he made was misheard, starting a social media storm. Apologies for reporting that online."

Kensington Palace has not publicly addressed the misquote.

During their Wednesday outing, Prince William and Middleton met with members of the Ukrainian community and volunteers and learned about services being offered at the center as well as the challenges they continue to face, People reported.

The couple brought some homemade treats, including chocolate brownies and granola bars, for the volunteers at the center. They also wore pins showcasing the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag.

They also spoke with Disasters Emergency Committee CEO Saleh Saeed regarding the ongoing Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, to which Queen Elizabeth made a "generous donation" last week.

Shortly after their visit, Prince William and Duchess Kate praised the Ukrainian Cultural Center and its volunteers for their contributions to support refugees amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

"Over the past two weeks, communities and organizations here in the U.K. have come together to provide vital support to Ukrainians here in Britain and across Europe," they wrote on Instagram. "The Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London has become one of many hubs organizing donations, material aid and supporting Ukrainians living locally. The work volunteers here are doing to ensure that help gets to where it is most needed is inspiring."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued, "So too is the incredible generosity of the British public. The Disasters Emergency Committee has already received over £132 million ($172 million) in donations, and continues to raise funds to support the essential humanitarian effort."

Prince William and Kate Middleton
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Church on the Street on January 20th, 2022 in Burnley, England. Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images