The Irish tricolour flag was used in a live televised video montage to represent countries under British rule at Buckingham Palace on Saturday.
The TV coverage was part of events to mark 70 years since Elizabeth Windsor’s coronation as queen of England.
As the montage played, comedian and actor Doc Brown performed a rap that recounted the traditional symbols of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and said:
“Those three lions, you know what they do to me, I see them standing for strength, love, and unity, Same with the red dragon, shamrock, and thistle”.
During the video montage, a woman waving an Irish tricolor appeared on the screen in between representations of Wales and Scotland.
Jonathan Mills, an independent business consultant, described it as “an extraordinary moment”.
“Accident or design? Message or mess-up? Nobody seems to know. In Ireland, well used to indrawn breath at the sheer weirdness of the British approach to Ireland, nobody really knew what to say. That’s something of a first, as well.”
The BBC later apologised for the “error” and said the “incorrect flag” has been used. It is understood Ireland was confused with the Six Counties in the segment.
In 1922, 26 Counties of Ireland won independence from British rule and adopted the tricolour flag. No official flag is used to represent ‘Northern Ireland’, with the Union Jack occasionally used in sporting events, or no flag at all.
A second controversial incident involved a commentator and prominent royalist used the term ‘Micks’ while referring to the soldiers from the Irish Guards.
It took place as soldiers marched for the Trooping of the Colour ceremony at the palace.
BBC presenter Huw Edwards was speaking with prominent royalist Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton about the ‘Irish Guards’, a regiment of the British Army. Describing the display, Lowther-Pinkerton said it was a “great Mick cocktail”.
Repeatedly using the derogatory term for Irish people, the ex-soldier said of his former regiment: “The Micks have this fantastic mix of guards’ discipline and pursuit of excellence, with that Irish ‘irrational tenth’ if I can quote Lawrence of Arabia, which makes it the best regiment on the planet.”
Responding, Huw Edwards said: “I should as well explain...you said a few minutes ago Jamie that the Irish Guards were affectionately known as the Micks, and some people watching at home might think, well that’s not altogether a nice term, but it’s worth underlining that’s what you Irish Guards call yourselves.”
The BBC declined to apologise for the use of the term.
Joe Dwyer, who works in the Sinn Féin office in London, commented on the clip. “The year is 2022,” Dwyer wrote, “and a BBC presenter and someone from the British Army are explaining why ‘micks’ actually isn’t an offensive term for Irish people…”