LONDON: It was neither Queen Elizabeth II nor her husband, Prince Philip, who were being referenced by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle when they revealed that members within the royal ranks had expressed concerns about their first-born son Archie’s skin colour, American chat show host Oprah Winfrey confirmed on Monday.
As the woman who conducted the explosive CBS interview, which aired in the US on Sunday and is set to be broadcast in the UK later on Monday, Winfrey stressed that Harry was categorical that it was neither his grandmother, the Queen, nor his grandfather, who were behind comments about Archie’s mixed-race heritage from his mother’s side, which are being perceived as racist.
“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,” Winfrey said.
When asked for further details on Monday, Winfrey said she “tried to get that answer on camera and off” but Harry, the Duke of Sussex, did not elaborate on who it was who was behind “concerns and conversations about how dark his [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born”.
She told ‘CBS This Morning’ that she was shocked to hear about the skin colour remarks during the interview. “Even on the take, you can hear me go, ‘whoa I cannot believe you are saying this now’.”
When asked why she thinks the couple agreed to speak with her, Winfrey said she felt they “were ready to do it” after having been “lied about for a series of years”.
“I said to my team, the most important question to be answered here at the end of this show will be, ‘why did they leave’? And I think the stories of blindsiding the Queen were very damaging to them and also hurtful because they understood clearly that there had been months and months of preparation,” she said.
Asked by Winfrey, “did you blindside the Queen?” with the announcement of stepping down, Harry replied: “No, I would never blindside my grandmother, I have too much respect for her.”
In several clips of the three-hour interview, Meghan and Harry are seen sitting side by side as they recount their experiences before they decided to step back as frontline royals last year. While Meghan shared how she had suicidal thoughts amid the extreme loneliness with the “institution” of the British monarchy, Harry opened up about his hurt feelings at his father Prince Charles not taking his phone calls.
Winfrey also asked Prince Harry if any family members had apologised to him for the reasons he felt he had to leave.
He replied: “Sadly not… The feeling is that this was our decision therefore the consequences are on us.”
Asked if he would have left frontline royalty if he hadn’t married Meghan, he said: “No, the answer to your question is no… I myself was trapped. I didn’t see a way out. I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped.”
With reference to his relationship with other royals, especially his elder brother Prince William, he said “time heals all things, hopefully”.
Meghan was asked what she hopes to achieve from the interview, to which she said she referenced her estranged relationship with her father and a miscarriage late last year and said she hoped the message people take is “know there’s another side, to know that life is worth living”.
“I have lost my father, I lost a baby, I nearly lost my name, there’s the loss of identity… I’m still standing,” she said.
Excerpts and revelations from the interview have dominated UK news and will continue to be in focus once the complete interview is aired across other parts of the world this week.
According to some UK media reports, any channels given permission to repeat the broadcast have been given clear guidelines that it must be aired in its entirety and not edited in any way.