Rift over racism claims reignited between Harry and Meghan and the Queen

Harry and Meghan revealed the serious allegations of racism in the Royal Family during their bombshell interview with Oprah. Credit: CBS/Harpo Productions

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship explains the latest development in the racism claims from Meghan and Harry

The Queen did not take “ownership” of the racism allegations Meghan made earlier this year it is claimed, as the row between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Royal Family is reignited. The new developments come in an epilogue to the biography on Harry and Meghan, Finding Freedom. The authors write that the couple do not believe Harry’s grandmother took “full ownership” of the serious claims, which rocked the institution when they were made in Meghan and Harry’s sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. Meghan told the US TV host that a member of the Royal Family had asked about the skin colour of their son, Archie, before he was born.

The authors of the biography, which the Sussexes have always insisted was made without their cooperation or assistance, wrote that Harry and Meghan cannot “move forward” because of a lack of accountability on the part of the Royal Family. After Meghan made the allegations on US – and then British – television (the UK audience was more than 12 million on the night), a short statement from Buckingham Palace responded by saying that “recollections may vary”. Joint authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have updated their book and wrote: “The Queen’s ‘recollections may vary’ comment ‘did not go unnoticed’ by the couple, who a close source said were ‘not surprised’ that full ownership was not taken. ‘Months later and little accountability has been taken’, a pal of Meghan added. ‘How can you move forward with that?’”

Harry and Meghan do not believe the Queen took “full ownership” of the serious claims of racism in the Royal Family. Credit: PA

It suggests the Duke and Duchess do not believe their concerns have been sufficiently addressed by the Palace in the weeks and months since the Oprah interview. It also contrasts with the Sussexes’ insistence that they had gone out of their way to protect the Queen from their criticisms. ITV News was told at the time that Meghan’s racism allegations were about a member of the Royal Family but a source ruled out the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. They did not identify which family member she was referring to.

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports after Prince William defended the Royal Family against accusations of racism made by Harry and Meghan in March this year

Prince William later said “my family is very much not racist” when asked about his sister-in-law’s comments in what became a very turbulent few weeks for the Royal Family and put at risk its reputation around the world. The additional sections of the Finding Freedom book have been written to include the dramatic events which have happened since it was first published. Author Omid Scobie told the US magazine, People, which is publishing excerpts of the epilogue, that the couple are trying to keep “some of the toxicity” at arm’s length.

He said that Meghan is now in the “thrive chapter” - referring to her 2019 interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby in South Africa when she said “it’s not enough just to survive… you’ve got to thrive”.

Meghan Markle, speaking to ITV's Tom Bradby in 2019, said she tried to adopt a "British sensibility of a stiff upper lip" as a way to cope with pressure.

People magazine reports that the couple are “really excited” about their charity work and other projects they will launch with their Archewell not-for-profit foundation before the end of the year. Harry and Meghan are entering “the era of visibility”, Scobie told People, although many might argue that the Sussexes have rarely been out of the news since leaving the UK and the Royal Family in early 2020.

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