In the 2021 interview, Meghan said members of the royal family had “concerns and conversations” when she was pregnant with her son, Archie, about how dark his skin would be ― a claim that was widely understood and reported as an allegation of racism and prompted global uproar.
In an interview that aired on UK television Sunday, Prince Harry denied that was the implication. When ITV’s Tom Bradby noted that the Duke of Sussex had “accused members of your family of racism” in the Winfrey interview, Harry pushed back.
“No, I didn’t. The British press said that,” Harry said. “Did Meghan ever mention that they’re racist?”
Bradby mentioned Meghan’s revelation that “there were troubling comments about Archie’s skin color.”
“There was concern about his skin color,” Harry replied.
“Right. Wouldn’t you describe that as essentially racist?” Bradby followed up.
“I wouldn’t,” Harry said. “Not having lived within that family.”
“The difference between racism and unconscious bias, the two things are different,” he continued. “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.”
The Sussexes have declined to name the members of the royal family involved in the conversations about Archie’s skin, though the couple clarified after the interview that the comments were not made by Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip.
Prince William responded to the claims by saying that the royals are “very much not a racist family,” while Buckingham Palace issued a statement after the interview saying that “the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning” and would be “addressed by the family privately.”
Amid ongoing backlash at the time, royal sources told media the palace was considering appointing a diversity tsar as part of an effort to modernize the monarchy.
While Harry defended his family in Sunday’s interview, he also called out the royal institution for its failure to take the opportunity for change, noting that no diversity tsar materialized.
“Everything they said was gonna happen hasn’t happened. I’ve always been open to wanting to help them understand their part in it, and especially when you are the monarchy ― you have a responsibility and quite rightly people hold you to a higher standard than others,” he said.
He pointed to a recent racist incident as a “very good example of the environment within the institution.” In December, a royal aide who had served for decades as the late Queen Elizabeth’s lady in waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, apologized and resigned after she was called out for repeatedly asking Black charity founder Ngozi Fulani where she “really came from” during a palace reception.
Later in the interview, however, Harry defended Lady Hussey and insisted she meant no harm.
“All we’ve ever asked for in the last … few years is some accountability [from the monarchy],” he said. “And I’m very happy for Ngozi Fulani to be invited into the Palace to sit down with Lady Susan Hussey to reconcile because Meghan and I love Susan Hussey. She thinks she’s great.”
“And I also know that what she meant – she never meant any harm at all, but the response from the British press and from people online because of the stories that they wrote was horrendous. Was absolutely horrendous the response.”
Harry has given a series of interviews as part of a media blitz to promote his new memoir, “Spare,” which accidentally went on sale in Spain several days before its official Jan. 10 publication date.
More bombshells from Prince Harry’s leaked memoir, “Spare”: