Race and the Royals: Meghan and Harry Interview Plunges Palace into Crisis

Britain’s royal family was plunged into crisis Monday, a day after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, known popularly as Harry and Meghan, said in an interview that a royal had raised concerns about the color of son Archie’s skin and that the child would not be made a prince. “So, we have in tandem the conversation of, you won’t be given security. He won’t be given security. He’s not going to be given a title. And also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Meghan told media mogul Oprah Winfrey in the interview broadcast Sunday evening on U.S. television network CBS.  Meghan is the biracial child of a Black mother and white father. Questioned about the allegations later in the interview, Prince Harry said the conversation had taken place early in his and Meghan’s relationship. They did not name the person who made the comment.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
FILE – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gesture during their visit to the Storyhouse in Chester, Cheshire on June 14, 2018.British analyst Richard Fitzwilliams said the extent of Harry and Meghan’s broken relationship with the royal family has been laid bare.  “They feel angry and bitter. This is an ultimate act of revenge, because it’s unclear precisely how the palace will respond to it. However, you cannot do nothing when allegations of this sort are made. And most particularly, the allegation of racism — that will be absolutely toxic. But this is, I would emphasize, only one side of the question,” Fitzwilliams told VOA. Critics said Winfrey should have questioned Meghan’s behavior more closely. “This is a woman who seems to make a habit of falling out with people. But none of Meghan’s real behavior was questioned. It was an absolute exercise in torching the House of Windsor, and I came away with a very distasteful taste in my mouth,” royal biographer Anna Pasternak told BBC News. The revelations will be painful for Queen Elizabeth, Fitzwilliams said. “What they paint is a portrait of isolation, and the palace is portrayed (as) a form of prison. This is extremely destructive, and I don’t think it will play out happily in any way at all. The queen, at nearly 95, will be deeply hurt by it. It’s worthwhile remembering Prince Philip (the queen’s husband) at 99 is recovering from a procedure to treat a preexisting heart condition.”  Divided publicThe interview is proving divisive among the British public. “As a Black woman, she (Meghan) didn’t get it very easy within the royal family, and the newspapers weren’t exactly friendly about it, either,” said Karen Louise, a 39-year-old photographer from London. Seventy-five-year-old London resident Elaine Naylor criticized the couple’s decision to go ahead with the interview. “I think they’ve done the wrong thing. And I’m sorry, really, because I don’t think they’ve done themselves any good at all,” Naylor said. The royal couple visited South Africa in 2019, a country with which Harry has forged a lifelong bond. Residents of Johannesburg Monday offered support for Meghan.  “As soon as they got married, you know, the British tabloids just started attacking her. From the word, ‘go,’ they started attacking her. So, I think there is racism playing a part,” said Johannesburg resident Timmy Mathebula. Problem for BritainThe acrimony of Harry and Meghan’s separation from the royal family sits in stark contrast to the hopes of their marriage in 2018, Fitzwilliams said.  “Harry and Meghan were going to be the couple who would modernize the monarchy, reach out to young people — particularly persons of color, and especially in the Commonwealth. It was a fantastic idea, and she was so articulate, too. But this does not represent anything resembling the reality with the resentment behind this interview.” The accusations could impact Britain’s image abroad. “I think Britain perhaps has got a problem here, because younger people, persons of color, you will find perhaps different views. … It will be interesting to see the polls. But this is terribly destructive,” Fitzwilliams told VOA.  Harry also revealed he and Meghan are expecting a girl. “To have any child, any one or two, would be amazing. But to have a boy, then a girl. What else can you ask for?” he said. But the interview will be remembered most for the couple’s allegations made against the royal family as the world awaits its response. 

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