London (ANI): Music mogul Simon Cowell has claimed that Prince Philip called him a 'sponger'. In an interview on The Tonight Show, the US chat show hosted by Jay Leno, the X Factor judge claimed that he was snubbed by the Queen and insulted by the Duke of Edinburgh after appearing at the Royal Variety Show.
"At the end, if you are involved in it, you have to stand around for hours and then say hello," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying. "She [the Queen] ignored me and her husband called me a sponger. It was a bit embarrassing. It was a bit awkward," he added.
However, a spokesman for Buckingham Palace has denied that the Duke had been rude to Cowell. "The Duke of Edinburgh categorically did not call Mr Cowell a sponger. He has no reason to. He has said he does no know enough about Mr Cowell to make any sort of comment about him," he said. "Mr Cowell may have misheard the Duke, he has a very soft voice," he added.
The spokesman also dismissed Cowell's claims that he had been cut by the monarch in the after-show line-up. The Queen doesn't ignore people. She has many people to meet after such a show," he said.
However, Cowell's claims have been supported by fellow X Factor judge Piers Morgan, who was also present during the exchange in 2007. In his new book, the former newspaper editor describes hearing the Duke jokingly accuse Cowell of sponging off the contestants on his reality television show. Morgan said: "I can categorically say it happened. If we all have to trudge off to court, I'm available."