PM watched Harry and Meghan interview but declines to comment, spokesperson says

9 March 2021, 14:20

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a virtual news conference at 10 Downing Street
Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a virtual news conference at 10 Downing Street. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Boris Johnson has watched the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's interview that threw the monarchy into crisis with accusations of racism, Downing Street said.

But No 10 refused to comment further, including declining to distance the Government from comments from minister Lord Goldsmith, who accused Harry of "blowing up his family".

Asked if Mr Johnson watched the interview aired in the UK on Monday night, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "He did but you have the PM's words from the press conference last night and I won't be adding any further to what he said."

Read more: Buckingham Palace silent after Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview airs in UK

The spokesman also declined to comment on the White House's response to the interview, whether it may affect the UK's reputation around the world, or whether the nation has a duty of care to the monarchy.

The spokesman declined to comment further when asked about Lord Goldsmith's remarks at least five times.

When asked if the minister was speaking for the Government, the spokesman said: "All I can do is echo what the Prime Minister said in the press conference last night. I won't be adding anything further to his comments."

Meghan, the first mixed race member of the modern monarchy, said an unnamed member of the royal family raised "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born" while she was pregnant with Archie.

The Prime Minister refused to comment at the Downing Street press conference on Monday when asked about the royal crisis.

"I have always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role that she plays in our country and across the Commonwealth," he said.

But on "all other matters to do with the royal family, I have spent a long time now not commenting on royal family matters and I don't intend to depart from that today".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said Meghan raised "really serious issues" of racism and mental health.

"It is a reminder that too many people experience racism in 21st century Britain. We have to take that very, very seriously," he added.

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said: "If there are allegations of racism, I would expect them to be treated by the palace with the utmost seriousness and fully investigated."

Joe Biden's White House has praised the "courage" displayed by the couple in airing their struggles with mental health.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki praised Harry and Meghan's courage when asked if the US President had watched the interview.

Ms Psaki told journalists on Monday: "For anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles with mental health and tell their own personal story, that takes courage.

"That's certainly something the president believes."