DUP politician suspended for comments about Prince Philip 'grooming' Queen Elizabeth

DUP politician suspended for comments about Prince Philip 'grooming' Queen Elizabeth

A DUP councillor has been suspended from the party after making comments about the late Prince Philip's relationship with Queen Elizabeth.

Bill Keery, a Democratic Unionist Party councillor for Ards and North Down Borough Council, was paying tribute last week to the Duke of Edinburgh following his passing when he noted that Prince Philip met then-Princess Elizabeth when she was 13 and he was five years older.

According to The Belfast Telegraph, in his tribute to Prince Philip he noted:

"The Duke of Edinburgh joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman. He first met Her Majesty when she was 13 years old.

"I don't know how people would view that nowadays - that would be talked about as being groomed. But he eventually ended up marrying Princess Elizabeth in 1947."

Bill Keery of the DUP has been suspended by the party following 'ill-judged' comments regarding Prince Philip

The comments drew ire from the community, and Mr Keery apologised and withdrew the comments in an email sent to the council chief executive, however the DUP has made the decision to suspend the former Ards and North Down Mayor from the party.

Acknowledging that Mr Keery "has retracted and apologised for the ill-judged comments", a statement from the DUP confirmed that "party officers have suspended Councillor Keery from membership of the party pending further investigation".

In his initial apology in the eail sent to the council, Councillor Keery accepted that his comments were "ill-judged" but argued he simply wished to convey "the bond between HM the Queen and Prince Philip that has endured over so many decades".

Prince Philip and the Queen. Getty

"I had the honour of meeting Prince Philip on several occasions and do not wish to dishonour his memory in any way, particularly during this time of national mourning," he added.

Prince Philip was buried at St George's Chap in Windsor, England, on Saturday 17 April last.

The Government of Ireland marked the occasion by lowering the Tricolour to half-mast on State buildings as a sign of respect.