A pedestrian passes newspapers on display with front pages featuring images of members of the royal family, outside a shop in London, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. In countries with historic ties to Britain, allegations by Prince Harry and Meghan about racism within the royal family have raised questions about whether those nations want to be closely connected to Britain anymore after the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

A pedestrian passes newspapers on display with front pages featuring images of members of the royal family, outside a shop in London, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. In countries with historic ties to Britain, allegations by Prince Harry and Meghan about racism within the royal family have raised questions about whether those nations want to be closely connected to Britain anymore after the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Royal response fails to end anger over Meghan racism claims

The interview, seen by some 50 million people worldwide, has divided opinions around the world

Buckingham Palace’s statement on Prince Harry and Meghan’s allegations or racism and mistreatment has failed to quiet the controversy, with some observers criticizing the royal family for failing to forcefully condemn racism and suggesting that the couple’s version of events may not be accurate.

“Too little, too late” was the verdict of royal commentator Peter Hunt, who also criticized the palace’s 61-word statement for saying the issue would be dealt with privately as a family matter.

“This delayed, tame statement went for predictability when unpredictability — stepping out of the Windsor comfort zone — was what was needed,” Hunt wrote on the website of the influential British magazine The Spectator.

The statement, issued on behalf of the queen, was released 36 hours after Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was broadcast in the United States.

“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” the palace said. “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.’’

READ MORE: Buckingham Palace issues statement on Harry, Meghan racism allegations

The comments were the palace’s first word since the interview rocked the royal family — and touched off conversations around the world about racism, mental health and even the relationship between Britain and its former colonies.

In the interview, Meghan, who is biracial, described feeling so isolated and miserable inside the royal family that she had suicidal thoughts, yet when she asked for mental health assistance from the palace’s human resources staff, she was told they couldn’t help because she wasn’t a paid employee. She also said Harry told her there were “concerns and conversations” about the colour of her baby’s skin when she was pregnant with her son, Archie.

The interview, seen by some 50 million people worldwide, has divided opinions around the world.

Many people have backed Meghan, saying the allegations demonstrate the need for change inside an institution that hasn’t kept pace with the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements. Others stand behind the royal family, criticizing the couple for making their damning allegations at a time when Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, remains hospitalized in London after a heart procedure.

Anna Whitelock, director of the Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy at Royal Holloway, University of London, said the palace’s brief message had “hardened the lines” between people who believe the monarchy is an outdated bastion of inherited white privilege and those who see it as cherished national institution.

Fallout from the interview is likely to only fuel the debate over the future of the monarchy and its role both in Britain and the other countries around the world for which the queen serves as head of state, Whitelock said. The queen remains the head of state for 15 countries, most of which were once part of the British Empire, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and island nations in the Caribbean.

“That’s a debate that’s been held in check, in large part, given the length of the queen’s reign and in respect to her and the role that she’s played,” Whitelock said. “But it’s going to happen, and it’s just a question of when, not if.”

READ MORE: Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

After Harry and Meghan married in May 2018 at Windsor Castle, the royal family seemed to welcome Meghan, a glamorous former TV star, and the couple were seen as providing a fresh young face for the monarchy of an increasingly multicultural nation.

It didn’t take long for the fairytale to unravel. The couple stepped away from royal duties last year and eventually settled in California, saying they wanted to escape racist coverage and unwanted intrusions on their privacy by the British media.

The interview especially struck a chord with many Black people in Britain, some of whom were not satisfied with the palace’s remarks. Bell Ribeiro-Addy, a Black member of Parliament from the opposition Labour Party, said Buckingham Palace should have directly condemned racism.

“The monarchy is a public institution that receives public money and any criticism of the institution should really be met with a forceful response from the institution about what they are going to do,’’ Ribeiro-Addy told the BBC. “We expect (that) of any institution. Why not the monarchy, why not the palace?”

Danica Kirka, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Royal family

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

Nic Hume and his fellow paramedic stopped to rescue the victim of an Oak Bay hit-and-run – a duck – at the end of their shift Thursday morning. (Nic Hume/Facebook)
Paramedics rescue unusual patient after Oak Bay hit-and-run

A female duck was rescued while a male one was deceased on scene

Craigdarroch Care Home has put in place enhanced control measures after Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak. (Google Earth)
Island Health declares outbreak at second Victoria long-term care home

Two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at Craigdarroch Care Home

The government map (as of April 22) showing vaccine availability doesn’t have any Saanich Peninsula pharmacies listed, but the situation is fluid, and many readers have already registered. (Province of B.C. screenshot)
Vaccine availability a fluid situation for Saanich Peninsula

Government site may not show pharmacies, but registering still an option

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

As the snow in Manning Park melts, searchers are able to get a little farther each day. Photo submitted
Family resumes search for son missing in B.C.’s Manning park since October

‘This is our child, and we don’t give up on our children,’ said mother of Jordan, Josie Naterer

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Vancouver Islanders warned of fire risk caused by dry conditions

As dry spell poised to end, officials warn of risks involved with backyard burning

Most Read