Hillary Clinton 'wants to hug Meghan after sexist and racist abuse'

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she wants to “put my arms around” the Duchess of Sussex over racist and sexist treatment.

Speaking to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live, the former US secretary of state said the treatment of Meghan over the past three years has been “heartbreaking and wrong”.

Mrs Clinton appeared on the programme with her daughter Chelsea, who said the duchess had “absolutely” faced a racially charged backlash after her relationship with Harry began in 2016.

Hillary Clinton said she wants to 'put her arms around' Meghan. Credit: PA

Meghan has faced significant issues in the public eye, with Harry suggesting there was a tabloid campaign against his wife.

Mrs Clinton said: “I think even if you go back and look at social media from the time the engagement was announced, race was clearly an element in it.

Chelsea and Hillary Clinton Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

“And to think that some of your – what we would call mainstream – media actually allowed that to be printed in their pages, or amplified, was heartbreaking and wrong.

“She has made her own way in the world. And then she falls in love, and he falls in love with her, and everybody should be celebrating that because it is a true love story. You can just look at them and see that.”

The former first lady said her maternal instincts drove her to give advice and support to Meghan.

She continued: “I feel as a mother I just want to put my arms around her. Oh my God, I want to hug her!

“I want to tell her to hang in there, don’t let those bad guys get you down. Keep going, do what you think is right.

“You know, it’s not easy. And there are some techniques that can be learned along the way, some humour, some deflection, whatever, which I’m sure she will come to. But it is tough what she is going through. And I think she deserves a lot better.”

Both Clintons appeared at the Southbank Centre in London on Sunday to promote their new book, The Book Of Gutsy Women: Favourite Stories Of Courage And Resilience.

When Barnett asked the pair about the women featured in the book, they said Margaret Thatcher was not included because she had “very little interest” in making a positive difference.

Margaret Thatcher Credit: PA

Mrs Clinton said that while the former prime minister was certainly gutsy and strong, she had a conflicted record.

“She doesn’t fit the other part of the definition, in our opinion, which really is knocking down barriers for others, and trying to make a positive difference. I think the record is mixed with her.

“I thought she was incredibly strong. But I think on the criterion that we were really looking at, OK, what were the positive differences, the changes that this person made, that really opened doors to more – that wasn’t that apparent.”

Chelsea Clinton added added: “I do think, for us, you can’t separate out gutsiness from leading a life that is full of purpose for yourself, and also for others.”

The interview with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton will air on The Emma Barnett Show on Tuesday at 10am.