The man at the centre of a racism controversy involving the royal family – a wealthy businessman of Asian descent - has defended Prince Charles and his sons, whom he knows from their shared love of polo.
Kolin Dhillon, a multi-millionaire property developer based in Gloucestershire, spoke up following reports the Prince, who is a friend, calls him by the nickname Sooty.
The 58-year-old released a statement saying he regards the moniker, given to him when he joined Cirencester Park Polo Club in 1975, as a term of affection.
Mr Dhillon, who lives on a 700-acre farm with two adjoining polo fields close to the Prince's Highgrove estate, made light of the affair, joking: "You know you have arrived when you acquire a nickname!".
He added: "I enjoy being called Sooty by my friends, who I am sure universally use the name as a term of affection with no offence meant or felt. The Prince of Wales is a man of zero prejudice and both of his sons have always been most respectful."