Royal family ‘saddened to learn’ of problems faced by Harry and Meghan

Buckingham Palace says some recollections ‘may vary’ but it is taking allegations seriously

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have hit out at the British monarchy and members of the royal family during their candid Oprah Winfrey interview. Video : ITV, courtesy Harpo Productions / CBS

 

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has described as “concerning” allegations made about the royal family by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle this week.

In a statement issued by Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, the queen responded to the couple’s claims that the palace failed to help Ms Markle while she was feeling suicidal and that a member of the royal family expressed concern about how dark their unborn son’s skin would be.

“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” she said.

“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While 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.”

The statement’s reference to the possibility of recollections varying appears to cast doubt on Prince Harry’s account of the conversation about his son’s skin colour. And by stating that the royal family will address the issues privately, the queen appears to rule out a formal investigation such as that announced by the palace last week into allegations of bullying against Ms Markle.

ITV broadcast the interview in Britain on Monday evening, attracting 12.4 million people, the biggest audience for any programme on the network since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. Downing Street said Boris Johnson was among those who watched the interview but his spokesman declined to say what the prime minister thought about it.

Thomas Markle

Ms Markle’s father Thomas said on Monday that he was upset to hear his daughter tell Oprah Winfrey that she had felt suicidal, adding that Harry had “obviously not supported her that well”. Mr Markle, who has been estranged from his daughter since he worked with a paparazzi photographer before her wedding, said he did not believe the royal family was racist.

“I have great respect for the royals. I don’t think the British royal family are racist at all. I don’t think the British are racist. I think Los Angeles is racist, California is racist, but I don’t think the Brits are. The thing about what colour will the baby be, or how dark will the baby be, I’m guessing and hoping it was just a dumb question from somebody. It could just be that simple. It could be somebody asked a stupid question, rather than being a total racist,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

In the latest additional excerpt from the interview to be released after the broadcast, Ms Markle rejects the charge that she is being hypocritical by sharing family pictures on social media while complaining about invasions of her privacy.

“I think life is about being able to share our stories and share parts of our lives that we are comfortable with. There’s no one on Instagram and social media who would say that because they shared one picture you are entitled to my whole camera roll. No one would want that, so it’s about boundaries and respect – they’ve created a false narrative, I’ve never talked about privacy, I think that’s just a basic understanding,” she said.