Queen Elizabeth II has responded to the growing drama now enveloping her family after Prince Harry’s wife, the American-born Meghan Markle, lodged allegations of racism against the British royal family.
Markle, who is biracial, told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that aired Sunday that there were conversations within the House of Windsor over the skin pigmentation of Archie, her son with Harry, before he was born in 2019.
There were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Markle said. Winfrey, who interviewed the couple together, fed the controversy by focusing on the racial aspect of Markle’s accusations.
Meghan Markle says there were concerns in 🇬🇧 Royal family about her child’s skin color.
“You’re not going to tell me who had that conversation?” Oprah asks.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 8, 2021
The media spectacle has since led the news on both sides of the pond. In Britain, for instance, anchor Piers Morgan actually walked off the set of “Good Morning Britain” on Tuesday morning over the heated nature of the royal rift. CNN reported his walkout is now permanent and he will leave the program altogether, which exemplifies how divisive the royal split is in the country.
In a rare statement issued on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Buckingham Palace avoided commenting on the allegation of racism in detail, but said that an inquisition would be conducted internally.
The palace said the allegation is “concerning” for the family.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” the statement read.
“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. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
BREAKING: Buckingham Palace releases statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth following Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview, saying, “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.” https://t.co/6k5NR1em41 pic.twitter.com/TCekWLqQau
— ABC News (@ABC) March 9, 2021
The queen rarely issues public statements. And public statements relating to private family matters are even more infrequent.
Not since King Edward VIII, the uncle of Elizabeth II, abdicated the throne to take an American wife not accepted by the royal family in 1936 has so much drama captured the notoriously private British monarchy. Not even constant tabloid speculation about then-Princess Diana in the 1980s and 90s has netted the monarchy such a negative media blitz.
Her statement seems to speak to the seriousness of the allegations against her family, which come in an era where even accusations of racism can derail entire institutions — and there is no indication that even a long-entrenched monarchy is safe. With Harry and Meghan now on a media tour, having been accepted as Hollywood royalty, the queen must have felt a statement was warranted.
Markle’s father, Thomas Markle, told “Good Morning Britain” on Tuesday that he disagreed with his daughter that the British royal family engaged in racist behavior. He actually lodged his own racism allegations — against the culture in California.
“I have great respect for the royals, and I don’t think the British royal family are racist at all. I don’t think the British are racist. I think Los Angeles is racist, California is racist, but I don’t think the Brits are,” he told the program.
“The thing about what color will the baby be or how dark will the baby be — I’m guessing and hoping it’s just a dumb question from somebody, you know, it could just be that simple. It could be somebody asked a stupid question. Rather than being a total racist,” he added.
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