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Russian Pranksters Dupe Prince Harry in Hoax Calls

The prince believed he was speaking to environmental activist Greta Thunberg. VICKIE FLORES / EPA / TASS

Russian pranksters say they duped Prince Harry into believing he was speaking to environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg on two occasions, The Sun newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Solyarov, also known as “Vovan and Lexus,” admitted to the prank in a statement to AFP on Wednesday. The pair have a history of fooling celebrities and politicians in prank calls, with previous targets including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pop icon Elton John, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the time when he was foreign secretary. 

In the conversations, which took place in December and January, the prince was tricked into believing that he was speaking to Thunberg and her father, Svante. The Daily Mail reported that the prince offered support to Thunberg and criticized US President Donald Trump for his stance on climate change. "Unfortunately the world is being led by some very sick people, so people like you are going to make all the difference," the prince reportedly said.

The Russian pair reportedly also coaxed Harry to comment on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, about whom Harry allegedly said "He is a good man. But you have to understand that because he has been around for so long like all of these other people, they are already set in their ways."

On his move to North America with wife Meghan and baby Archie, Harry was quoted as saying it was "the right decision to be able to protect my son" from constant media attention. He insisted that "no one has stripped us of our titles," claiming that the British press had exaggerated the issue of their future royal status.

Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by AFP. Royal sources were quoted by The Sun as saying that it was "completely natural" for Harry to want to talk to the world-famous activist.

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