Royal racism rift reignited between Harry and Meghan and the Queen

19 August 2021, 08:59 | Updated: 19 August 2021, 12:35

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to step down as senior royals in January 2020.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to step down as senior royals in January 2020. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

In a fresh sign of the rift between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royal family, the couple were "not surprised" at the Queen's remarks following their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, a biography of the couple is to say.

During their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March Harry and Meghan made a series of allegations against the royal family, including accusing an unnamed member of racism, although confirmed this was not the Queen or late Duke of Edinburgh. 

The couple told Winfrey that the unnamed royal had expressed concerns to Harry about "how dark" their child's skin would be while the duchess was expecting her first child.

Before the birth of his first child, Archie, Harry was reportedly asked "how dark" the child's skin would be by a member of the royal family
Before the birth of his first child, Archie, Harry was reportedly asked "how dark" the child's skin would be by a member of the royal family. Picture: Alamy

They also alleged that the institution failed to support Meghan despite being aware that she was suicidal, and discussed reportedly troubled relationships with Harry’s father and brother, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.

During an emotional TV interview last year, Meghan appeared visibly upset when asked if she was "ok" by the interviewer. "Not many people have asked if I'm ok", she later said.

Buckingham Palace later said the Queen was "saddened" over Harry and Meghan's struggles. It added that "some recollections may vary" over the other allegations.

The novel Finding Freedom was announced months after the couple left the royal family in 2020. It is believed to be informed by sources close to the couple, as well as some contributions from the Duchess herself via third parties.

In a new epilogue written by the book’s authors, Omid Scoobie and Carolyn Durand, unnamed sources close to the couple claim that Harry and Meghan felt that the Queen’s comments demonstrated the monarchy failed to take full accountability for the issues raised in the interview.

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A new copy of the book, to include the new epilogue, will be published in paperback on 31 August.

The epilogue states: "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?'"

According to Scoobie, Harry and Meghan are "really excited" for the next steps in their public life.

Following the sudden collapse of the Afghan government and takeover of the Taliban this week, the couple released a statement through the Archewell website on 17 August, expressing their heartbreak over the state of the "exceptionally fragile" world.

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"As an international community, it is the decisions we make now — to alleviate suffering among those we know and those we may never meet — that will prove our humanity."

The couple also urged global leaders to speed up humanitarian talks and asked people to support charities trying to help humanitarian efforts.

In January 2020, the Sussexes announced that they were to step down as senior royals. They are now living in California, and have signed a series of deals to fund their lives, now that they are not eligible for royal funding. These include companies Netflix and Spotify, and are thought to be worth over £100 million. 

The duke is set to publish his own memoirs in 2022. The royal family is reportedly already bracing for the book’s consequences.