| Picture of the prince in the Sun newspaper
London, Jan. 13 (Reuters): Prince Harry, 20-year-old grandson of the queen, apologised today after a photo of him wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party provoked outrage and embarrassed the British royal family.
The younger son of the late Princess Diana and heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles was pictured in a newspaper wearing a red and black swastika armband and an army shirt with Nazi regalia at the party at a friend's house.
The Nazi gaffe ' just two weeks before the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz ' drew immediate condemnation.
'The incident was in bad taste, especially in the run-up to the Holocaust Memorial Day, which the royal family will be playing a leading role in commemorating,' the Board of Deputies of British Jews said.
Queen Elizabeth is due to host a reception for survivors of the Holocaust on January 27 before representing the nation at the Holocaust Memorial Day National Event.
'I am very sorry if I have caused any offence,' Harry, third in line to the throne, said in a statement. 'It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise.'
Jewish groups called on him to accompany the British delegation to the Auschwitz death camp on January 27.
A royal official said he understood the calls for the prince to go to Auschwitz but there were no plans for him to attend any of the ceremonies.
'It would be a distraction and a detraction from the importance of the occasion because it would become a different story in media terms,' the official said.
Robert Rozett, an official at Yad Vashem, Israel's national memorial to Jews killed during the Holocaust, said Harry's actions were insensitive.
'It indicates that the lessons of the Holocaust have not really entered deeply within his understanding and consciousness,' he said.
The photograph was published in the Sun newspaper under the headlines 'Hitler Youth' and 'Harry the Nazi'.