The Chase star Bradley Walsh on This Morning and Prince William in ED composite
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Bradley Walsh’s controversial joke to Prince William during Royal Variety which sparked backlash

Fans and viewers were not impressed!

During the Royal Variety Performance, host Bradley Walsh – who appears on The Chase Celebrity Special today – found himself at the center of controversy after a joke aimed at Prince William left viewers divided.

The event aired on ITV in late 2023 and took place at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

Bradley Walsh at the Royal Variety Show
Bradley Walsh hosted the Royal Variety Show in 2023 (Credit: ITV)

The Chase host Bradley Walsh makes joke to Prince William

The joke in question revolved around Bradley never having received an MBE – despite his long-standing contributions to entertainment.

Addressing Prince William directly, Bradley humorously complained about his lack of royal recognition: “Your Royal Highness, I worked for your gran, your great gran, your dad, your grandad, your great grandad, and now you. And I must say – ask me if I’ve got an MBE. Nah, ain’t got one. Ask me if I’ve got an OBE – nah, ain’t got one of them. Ask me if I’ve got a CBE – no! No. Not a sausage. Not even a member of the RAC any more.”

Bradley ended the bit by dropping to his knees in a humorous “beg” as he ran through his career accomplishments.

His quip was met with laughter from the Prince and Princess of Wales. However, the reaction among television viewers was decidedly mixed, with some finding the moment awkward rather than amusing.

Prince William and Princess Kate at the Royal Variety Show
The Prince and Princess of Wales were seemingly amused (Credit: ITV)

Fans react

Fans swiftly took to social media to share their differing opinions. One viewer tweeted: “I love Bradley Walsh but he’s dying on his arse here.”

Another criticised the opener as “not funny at all”.

“I do hope @BradleyWalsh whole act isn’t going to be about asking for a knighthood, yes I know he’s partially joking but still I wish we could go back to the no talking to the royals in your act,” a third fan complained.

A fourth viewer did not hold back, commenting: “Could Bradley Walsh be any more embarrassing, begging like that #Cringe.”

A fifth fan called the segment “cringe-worthy” and blasted Bradley for being “not funny”.

Despite the backlash, Bradley continued with his comic set, including a riff on the royal titles.

“It doesn’t sound right, your royal highnessesses? There’s too many ‘ssessess’, init? Your royal highness… your royal highnessesses? It should be like cactus, cactussess, cacti. Your royal highness, highnessess and highni. That’s it. I’ve got it. Your royal highni,” he teased.

Bradley Walsh
Bradley Walsh previously opened up about losing his father (Credit: SplashNews)

Bradley Walsh on his father

In a past interview, the beloved host of The Chase opened up about the impact his father’s death had on his life.

Bradley’s father passed away at 59 from heart disease. When the presenter was diagnosed with high cholesterol at 60, he was forced to confront his grief.

“I had a hang-up because my father, Daniel, died at the age of 59. I had it in the back of my mind that I just had to get past my dad’s age.” Bradley told The Sun on Sunday.

“I was 33 when he passed away. I’d just done the Royal Variety Show performance which helped launch my career, but my dad died from heart failure two weeks after that and never got to see it.”

Read more: The Chase host Bradley Walsh’s sadness that his dad ‘never got to see’ his success

Catch Bradley Walsh hosting The Chase Celebrity Special on Sunday July 7 from 5.55pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

The Chase | Bradley's Best Moments

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