In an unseen clip from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry reveals how the racism Meghan experienced was a large part of why they decided to leave the U.K. and step down senior royals.
When Winfrey asked, “Did you leave the country because of racism?”
Harry said, “It was a large part of it.”
The Duke of Sussex recalled a moment at a fundraiser dinner for Sentebale, the charity he founded to support youth affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana, where a friend pointed out just how bigoted the U.K. can be.
“I remember the Sentebale fundraiser,” Harry said. “One of the people at that dinner said to me, ‘Please, please don’t do this with the media. They will destroy your life.’ This person is friends with a lot of the editors and I said, ‘What do you mean by that?’ Obviously I knew. They said, ‘You don’t understand, the U.K. is very bigoted.’ And I stopped, and I said the U.K.’s not bigoted, the U.K. press is bigoted, specifically the tabloids. Is that what you mean?’ He goes, “No, the U.K. is bigoted.’ And I said I completely disagree.
“But unfortunately, if the source of information is inherently corrupt or racist or biased, then that filters out to the rest of society.”
Harry has previously talked about how he didn’t understand unconscious bias until he met Meghan. He discussed this again in the Oprah interview. “Sad as it is to say it, it takes living in her shoes, in this instance, for a day or those first eight days to see where it was gonna go and how far they were gonna take it,” he explained. “And get away with it and be so blatant about it. That’s the bit that shocked me.”
During Sunday night’s interview, the Duchess of Sussex detailed some experiences of racism as a woman of color in the royal family. In one bombshell reveal, she said that when she was pregnant with her first child Archie, there were “concerns and conversations” in the palace about “how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
Both she and Harry kept specific details about these conversations, plus who said that racist comment, under wraps.
The couple discussed, however, how the nonstop media scrutiny of Meghan entailed racist reports from tabloids. “From the beginning of our relationship, they were so attacking and inciting so much racism really,” the duchess said at one point.
“What I was seeing was history repeating itself,” Harry said, referring to the press’s obsession with his mother, Princess Diana. But he said the fixation with Meghan was “definitely far more dangerous because then you add race in.”
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