Prince Harry attacks the royal family’s silence after an “offensive” article about Meghan

  • Laura Josey and Sean Coughlan
  • BBC News property correspondent

Prince Harry.

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Prince Harry has accused the royal family of failing to stand up for his wife, Meghan, in the controversy over a British newspaper article written by Jeremy Clarkson.

The Duke of Sussex said in an interview with ITV that the “silence is deafening” over the “terrible” Sun article last month.

Compare that with the swift action taken after a row over a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Clarkson’s article on Meghan described how the writer had “dreamed of the day when Meghan would be forced to walk naked through the streets of every city in Britain, with crowds chanting: ‘Shame! ‘”.

The newspaper later retracted the article, and the newspaper and the writer himself apologized. Prince Harry described the article as “appalling, painful and cruel to my wife”.

“The world is asking for some form of comment from the royal palace. But the silence – to put it mildly – is deafening,” he said.

“They haven’t said a word about my wife, after six years.”

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Meghan has been stereotyped by some members of the royal family, Prince Harry says.

Disagreement at a reception

The prince compared the lack of a royal response to this article to the events that followed a meeting at Buckingham Palace between Susan Hassey and Ngozi Fulani, just three weeks earlier.

Fulani, a black woman, is the founder of a British charity and was a guest at an event hosted by Camilla, the king’s consort.

Hase repeatedly challenged her about where she “really” belonged – and Fulani complained that the conversation offended her.

The controversy led to a quick apology from the palace and a personal meeting between the two women was arranged.

The palace issued a statement calling the remarks “unacceptable and deeply regrettable”. Hase eventually had to quit her job at the palace.

Prince Harry, who was speaking to journalist Tom Bradby ahead of the publication of his memoir “Spare” on Tuesday, defended Hussey, saying she “never intended any harm whatsoever”.

But he noted the discrepancy between the treatment received by Fulani and his wife after the language used by Jeremy Clarkson to address her.

Is the royal family “racist”?

Prince Harry’s interview with ITV returned to the Prince and Meghan’s previous claim – previously made in another 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey – that a member of the royal family had raised questions about the skin color of their future child.

Prince Harry did not name this individual again – and suggested that this may have been a case of “unconscious prejudice” rather than racism.

When asked if he considered the question racist, he said: “I could have said that, if I had not lived in that family.”

He denied accusing members of the royal family of racism in an interview with Oprah, saying that “the British press said so”.

The wide-ranging interview also discussed the tension that followed Meghan’s entry into the royal family.

Bradby said there was an impression that Prince William and Catherine “almost from the start” did not “get along” with Meghan.

Asked if that was a fair remark, Prince Harry replied: “Yes, fair.”

Prince Harry said he and Meghan were portrayed as threatening to “steal the limelight” from other royals – and this led to problems in those relationships.

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Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton

“I always hoped the four of us would get along,” he said of his brother Prince William and his wife Catherine. “But it quickly became Meghan versus Kate.”

“When this is out in the open, you can’t hide from it,” he told Bradby.

In the 95-minute interview, he recalled the days when he was the “third wheel” on official engagements and other outings – but his relationship with Prince William and Catherine was particularly warm at the time.

He imagined that would continue when he found a partner and they became four, but that was not the case.

He said stereotypes about Meghan – as a “divorced, biracial, American actress” – had been confirmed by the hostile press.

And those stereotypes about the new woman in his life were a barrier for his brother and wife to “welcome” her into the family.

Prince Harry said that while Prince William never tried to dissuade him from marrying Meghan, he did “express some concerns” and warned Harry that “this is going to be difficult for you”.

“I still to this day don’t really understand what part … he was talking about. But maybe, you know, he might have predicted what the reaction of the British press would be like.”

Prince Harry interviewed Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes on CBS News, broadcast a few hours after the ITV interview was shown, and watched him talk about Camilla, the king’s consort, and her relationship with the media.

Prince Harry said Camilla’s need to “rehabilitate her image” and her “willingness” to forge ties with the British press made her dangerous.

He added: “With a family built on a hierarchy, and she was on her way to becoming queen, there would be people who would be marginalized because of that.”

Cooper asked Prince Harry about claims he made in his memoirs that unspecified members of the royal family were uncomfortable with Meghan when she first got to know them.

In response to a question about the reason for the “distrust”, Prince Harry said: “Because she is American, actress, divorced, black, biracial, and her mother is black.”

“These were just four stereotypes that became fodder for the British press.”

The prince said the royal family read newspapers, adding: “So whether you say walking around that you believe them or not, they will leave an imprint on your mind.”

He added: “If you have that judgment, based on stereotypes in the beginning, it’s very difficult not to go beyond that.”

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The interview was recorded in California, where Prince Harry lives.

The impact of Diana’s death on Prince Harry

Speaking in an ITV interview about the emotional impact of his mother’s death, Prince Harry describes in his book his return to the scene of the car crash in Paris – and how he asked to be driven down the same road at the same speed as in 1977.

“I had always imagined the tunnel was a treacherous passage, inherently dangerous, but it was just a short, simple tunnel devoid of superfluous stuff. There was no reason for anyone to die inside,” he said.

He saw no point in reopening investigations into the car accident – but questioned the official conclusions on the night of the accident.

The 2008 inquest concluded that Diana was unlawfully killed in part due to the “gross negligence” of her driver, who was drunk and driving at excessive speed.

Prince Harry also said that after Diana’s death, he and his brother William sat in a room and told that the events leading up to the car crash were “like a bicycle chain” leading to one another.

Harry remembers being told: “If you remove just one of these links from the chain, the bottom line won’t happen.”

When William asked if it would have happened had the paparazzi not been chasing Diana’s car, he was told that “the result wouldn’t be the same”.

The interview was recorded in California, where Prince Harry lives with his family.

During the interview, Harry also expressed his hope that he would one day reconcile with his father and brother.

“Forgiveness is 100 percent possible because I want my father back. I want my brother back,” he said.

“At the moment, I can’t recognize them, and they probably can’t recognize me.”

He blamed the tabloid press as the “rival” who he said “wants to create as much conflict as possible”.

The ITV interview is the first of four to be aired in the coming days to promote his book (Reserve – Spear) – but the others are in the US.

Although the book will not be published until Tuesday, excerpts were leaked after some copies went on sale early in Spain. BBC News obtained a copy, and is currently translating it.

Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace said they would not comment on the contents of the book.

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