Entertainment Celebrity Royal Harry sets record straight over ‘skin colour’ questions as royal family under fire for racism
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Harry sets record straight over ‘skin colour’ questions as royal family under fire for racism

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Oprah Winfrey has revealed the Queen and her husband Prince Philip had not been involved in discussions about how dark great-grandson Archie’s skin might be.

But Winfrey’s comments in a follow-up with CBS’s This Morning gave no comfort to the many Americans who reacted to her sensational interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with widespread anger at Buckingham Palace.

In Britain, some people of colour expressed a totally opposite reaction, viewing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s sit down with Winfrey as a huge turn-off.

About 17.1 million people across the US watched the hotly anticipated interview in which the couple said they encountered racist attitudes. The revelations shone an uncomfortable light on the issue of race not just within the royal family but in Britain as a whole.

The campaign group Republic, which wants the monarchy to be abolished, said family has been hit by its “worst crisis” since the abdication of Edward VII in 1936.

In revealing “several conversations” were had with Prince Harry about “how dark Archie’s skin might be when he was born”, Meghan declined to say who instigated the discussions with her husband – because it would be “very damaging” to them.

Winfrey revealed on Tuesday morning (Australian time) that Prince Harry had told her that his grandmother, the Queen, nor his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, were not part of those conversations about the likely skin colour of the Sussexes’ first child, Archie.

The American talk show host said Harry had not told her which member of the royal family was involved in the conversation.

“He did not share the identity with me but he wanted to make sure I knew, and if I had an opportunity to share it, that it was not his grandmother or grandfather that were part of those conversations,” she told CBS.

“He did not tell me who was a part of those conversations.”

Harry and Meghan’s interview, which has yet to air in Britain, had by that point provoked major criticisms of the monarchy from Americans who view the couple as the real victims.

American Julie Montague, who became Lady Hinchingbrooke when she married British lord Luke Montagu, said she, like Meghan, did not know what to expect when she joined the British aristocracy in 2005.

“It is true as an American we do look at royal life as really fairy tale,” she told the BBC.

“Living in a castle, it is fairy tale, that is what we actually think … I am sure he, as my husband did as well, did try to prepare her for it.

“But you don’t really know until you are in it.”

US tennis player Serena Williams also came out in defence of Meghan, saying the duchess teaches her every day “what it means to be truly noble” and “her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced”.

Poet Amanda Gorman described the Duchess of Sussex as “the Crown’s greatest opportunity for change, regeneration, and reconciliation”.

“They didn’t just maltreat her light – they missed out on it,” she said.

‘Every country has race issues’

A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to comment on Meghan’s allegations of racism towards her son, Archie, from a member of the royal household, adding that Mr Johnson had not watched the interview.

More than half of all Britons recently polled by The Sun said they’d change the channel rather than watch Winfrey’s interview with the couple.

It will be shown in full in Britain later on Tuesday (Australian time).

“I won’t watch. It’s blatant disrespect to the monarchy and, as Meghan has just confirmed, it’s always been in the cards for her,” one mixed-race woman from Manchester told The New York Post.

Fuelling the narrative that Meghan and Harry were playing the victim for their own brand, broadcaster Piers Morgan called the interview an “absolutely disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the royal family”.

“I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle – but for Harry to let her take down his family and the monarchy like this is shameful.”

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said the British public was “horrified” by the interview.

“The mere thought of these two incredibly privileged people sitting in the California sunshine moaning about their lot does not appeal,” she told The Post.

“People have been dying, Britain is in lockdown and we’re in the worst financial crisis we’ve ever had. It’s really so much better to say nothing if you’re dissatisfied.”

Wesley Kerr, a former BBC court correspondent and the first black reporter hired by the corporation, said he was “not sure that what’s claimed in California is always central to the British national conversation”.

A 26-year-old woman from Manchester and self-described “royal watcher”, was quoted by The Post as saying about 70 per cent of her black friends had “started off loving [Harry and Meghan], but got tired of the drama very quickly”.

She was concerned that the rest of the world, especially the US, might perceive Britain as “wholly racist”.

“Britain has race issues, 100 percent, and that’s not going to go away any time soon. But every country in the world has race issues,” she said.

Buckingham Palace has yet to release a statement or comment on the interview.