Multiple members of the royal family are breaking their silence after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey sent shockwaves around the world and alleged damaging claims against the Royal Family.
The ex-royals met with their Montecito neighbor Ms. Winfrey in an interview that aired Sunday night. The interview exposed various claims about the royal family, including an alleged conversation on race that shocked Ms. Winfrey and millions watching alike.
During the interview, the Montecito residents claimed a member of the royal family raised concerns over “how dark the skin color” of the couple’s unborn child would be prior to the birth of their son, Archie.
In a four-sentence statement released Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II issued a response that called these claims “concerning.”
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” the Queen said in her statement. “The issues raised, particularly of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of the family.”
After Sunday’s interview, Prince Harry and Ms. Markle told Ms. Winfrey they wanted her to clarify that the comments about the baby’s skin color were not made by either the Queen or by Prince Phillip, but by another unnamed member of the family.
Prince William, Harry’s brother and the Duke of Cambridge, responded to the issue during an interview with reporters Thursday, becoming the first royal to publicly reject the allegations mentioned in Sunday’s interview.
“We’re very much not a racist family,” William told reporters Thursday after leaving an event at a London school. He later added that he has not spoken to Prince Harry since the interview, but he plans to.
With the eyes of millions on the royal family, experts are unsure of what comes next or how this will impact the royal’s reputation in the long run.
“The monarchy’s response was so brief as to be dismissive,” Erika Rappaport, head of UCSB’s history department and expert in Modern British history, told the News-Press in an email. “It didn’t mention support for mental health treatment, more general support for opposition to racism no matter where it occurs, nor did it more generally condemn racism. I would have really loved to see a statement in which the monarchy said something about how we want to celebrate the religious, racial, etc. diversity that makes Modern Britain a great country.”
She added, “The distant language (in the statement) acted as though the monarchy didn’t know what was happening in Harry and Megan’s lives. This is the result of the odd situation in which ‘a family’ is also ‘a public institution.”
Sunday’s interview with the ex-royals presented other troubling allegations against the Crown, including the firm’s lack of assistance for Ms. Markle as she faced suicidal thoughts. Ms. Markle claimed she went to the palace’s human resources department to ask for mental health assistance but was denied help because she was not a “paid member of the royal family.”
“I just didn’t see a solution,” she said during the interview. “I would sit up at night, and I was just like I didn’t understand how all of this was being churned out … I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
The pair took a step back from their royal obligations in January 2020 before making their official exit in February 2021, after announcing they would not resume their duties.
During Sunday’s interview, Prince Harry said the “constant barrage” from the media and a lack of support from the family led to the couple’s departure. Looking back now, the Prince said he was “trapped” by the royals, claiming both his brother and father, Prince Charles, are still trapped in.
“I was trapped but I didn’t realize I was trapped,” Prince Harry told Ms. Winfrey, claiming Ms. Markle made him see the reality of his situation.
“Without question, she saved me,” Prince Harry said.
The bombshell interview also prompted a response from Holly Lynch, a female Member of Parliament, who garnered more than 70 signatures from other female MPs in a letter that addressed the media’s treatment of Ms. Markles back in 2019. The letter sought to call out “what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories,” it said.
After hearing Sunday’s interview, Ms. Lynch told the Guardian that female MPs plan to have further discussions regarding what actions can be taken by parliament to address the incessant hounding of royals in the U.K. press.
“We are going to come together to explore what the next steps might be in order to call on the government to take further action to ensure those people with a voice on print and broadcast media are using that influence responsibly,” Ms. Lynch told the Guardian.