Royal racism timeline in full, from Oprah Winfrey interview to Piers Morgan naming on air | Royal | News

Royal racism timeline in full, from Oprah Winfrey interview to Piers Morgan naming on air | Royal | News

In March 2021, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave an explosive televised interview to Oprah Winfrey, the repercussions of which are still reverberating through the Royal Family today. During the chat the Sussexes claimed that while Meghan was pregnant with their first child, Prince Archie, conversations had been had in the Firm over how dark his skin might be.

This prompted a full-on response from the royals, with Harry later backtracking while promoting Spare to agree that his family were not racist but instead guilty of unconscious bias. The row was once again dragged up this week, when the names of those involved in the conversation were published in the Dutch language version of Omid Scobie’s new royal book Endgame.

Here takes a look back at the whole scandal, following Piers Morgan‘s decision to publicly name the royal concerned on his TalkTV show on Wednesday night.

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The year after they moved to Montecito in California, Harry and Meghan sat down with Oprah Winfrey to tell their side of the story regarding their departure from the Royal Family. Initially Meghan sat down alone with Oprah, when she explained how Archie was not made a prince when he was born – which was actually due to the George V convention which states he could not become one until his grandfather was monarch – and the TV host asked her: « Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s because of his race? »

Meghan replied: « I can give you an honest answer. In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time… so we have in tandem the conversation of ‘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. » She continued that a conversation was had with Harry about how dark Archie’s skin might be and « what that would mean or look like » – but she refused to name the individuals involved, explaining that it would have been « very damaging to them ».

The Royal Family released a statement in the days after the interview, which read: « The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst 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. »

Prince William was also asked while out on a royal engagement by a reporter: « Is the Royal Family a racist family, sir? », to which he replied: « We’re very much not a racist family. » In the aftermath of the televised chat, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were quick to clarify that neither the late Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip made the comments.

In January 2023 Prince Harry was doing promotional interviews for his memoir Spare when the question of the ‘royal racist’ was brought up yet again. ITV host Tom Bradby put the Prince on spot, stating: « In the Oprah interview you accused members of your family of racism », to which the Duke retorted: « no I didn’t », claiming his words had been twisted by the British press.

Harry explained: « The difference between racism and unconscious bias, the two things are different. But once it’s been acknowledged, or pointed out to you as an individual, or as an institution, that you have unconscious bias, you therefore have an opportunity to learn and grow from that in order so that you are part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Otherwise unconscious bias then moves into the category of racism. »

When speaking to Oprah, Harry never divulged exactly what was said to him about Archie, saying he did not feel « comfortable » with it.

This week the controversy has returned to the public eye, as Omid Scobie’s latest royal book Endgame was published on November 28, and the author wrote about letters exchanged by Meghan and King Charles where they discussed the racism issue. In the English version, Mr Scobie said that not one but two royals were involved in the alleged conversation but he said he was not naming them due to UK libel laws. However, the Dutch translation of the book appeared to name both of the royals involved in the discussions.

The error was put down to a mistake in the translation and Mr Scobie has denied any responsibility, with Dutch copies of Endgame pulled from sale, set to be redistributed without the names next month. The Dutch publishers Xander said in a statement: « We are temporarily withdrawing the book by Omid Scobie from sale. An error occurred in the Dutch translation and is currently being rectified. »

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