The sensational interview between Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continues to dominate the news cycle on both sides of the Atlantic. The lengthy chat between the legendary talk show host and the royal defectors, who are also family friends, revealed several bombshells about the couple’s difficult time with the royal family. Among other revelations, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex admitted they faced a lack of support when Meghan was going through a mental health crisis, while Harry’s father allegedly stopped taking his calls upon learning about their issues (via E! News).
One of the biggest talking points, rightfully so, centered on an unnamed member of the monarchy who questioned baby Archie’s skin color. The Sussexes’ son was subsequently denied a royal title, along with the requisite security typically attributed with same. Although Harry refused to name and shame the person, speculation was rife that it was the Queen herself who’d made the racist comment. Oprah subsequently confirmed, during an appearance on CBS This Morning, that it wasn’t Her Majesty (via Town and Country). Speculation turned to Prince William, who’s publicly commented for the first time.
The Duke of Cambridge defended his family
Speaking to Sky News, the Duke of Cambridge hit back against the damaging claims, stating firmly, after being questioned by a reporter, “We are very much not a racist family.” He was speaking out for the first time, during a visit to a local London school alongside wife Kate Middleton, since the interview aired last Sunday. The royal family has reportedly been left reeling following Meghan and Harry’s explosive claims. However, when asked if he’d discussed the situation with his brother directly, William confirmed, “No, I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I will do.”
Although the Duke of Cambridge is the first royal to speak publicly on the matter, Buckingham Palace made the rare move of issuing a statement in response to the Sussexes’ allegations, promising to “address” the “concerning” allegations they made, particularly in relation to Archie’s skin color. As CBS News reports, they also noted, “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.” During their headline-making chat, Harry implied both William and their father, Prince Charles, are “trapped” in the family.
Harry and Meghan felt abandoned by the royals
The Prince of Wales actually stepped out for an official engagement earlier this week but, as the BBC notes, he avoided questions in relation to the interview. However, according to royal correspondent Sarah Campbell, “clearly [Prince William] felt he had to push back on what has become a very public and damaging allegation.” She explained, “There have been headlines across the world intimating that the Royal Family is racist so this is the first time that one of the senior members has come out and really rebutted that.”
During the interview, Harry admitted to being hurt that his family didn’t stick up for Meghan when she was being targeted by the press, pointing to the “colonial undertones” of certain coverage of the couple. When Oprah asked whether rampant racism from the tabloids was part of the reason they ultimately decided to vacate their positions, and the country, he confirmed, “It was a large part of it” (via Deadline). The Duke of Sussex also advised he was taking some “space” from his brother and father for the time being, opining, “time heals all things, hopefully.”
The British tabloid press stands accused of racism
TV host Piers Morgan lost his lofty position at Good Morning Britain after his harsh comments about Meghan attracted a record 41,000 complaints. Likewise, Ian Murray, the head of the reportedly mostly white Society of Editors, a governing body for the U.K. press, resigned following criticism of his response to suggestions they’re racist (via BBC). In the lengthy statement, the Society claimed, “The UK media is not bigoted and will not be swayed from its vital role holding the rich and powerful to account following the attack on the press by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
A subsequent statement was made, following intense backlash, acknowledging that “there is a lot of work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion.” Editors at The Guardian and HuffPost UK came out against the Society’s initial statement, while NBC News spoke to many Black Britons who agreed that the UK tabloid press is inherently racist. In fact, racist incidents have increased and become more prominent since the 2016 Brexit referendum, which moved the country further to the right than ever before.
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