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International 10 Mar, 2021 Follow News


By Michael Jarvis, UK Correspondent


British society has been sent into a tailspin following damning claims in an interview in America this week by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Britain’s Prince Harry, and his American wife Meghan Markle.

Their shocking revelations about what they claim was their torrid time in the royal household came in a two-hour interview - a global media event in its own right - with American television host Orpah Winfrey.

It prompted a rare response from Buckingham Palace on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in response to the allegations, especially of racism, made by the couple.

After wide speculation of how the Palace might respond, or if at all, a statement came late on Tuesday afternoon following the airing of the interview in the UK on Monday night. (It was first broadcast in the United States to a record-breaking audience on Sunday evening).

The Palace statement said: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

That has triggered another wave of speculation especially over one sentence in the very carefully worded statement which says: “Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”

It is widely interpreted as a subtle challenge to some of the claims made by the couple in their tell-all disclosure with Oprah Winfrey - in which it appears that much was still left unsaid or edited from the original recording.

Among the more startling disclosures was a claim by the African-American Duchess that while she was pregnant with their son Archie, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born” by unnamed members of the royal family.

Meghan Markle also said that she’d had suicidal thoughts and felt that her concerns were not taken seriously by her in-laws and staff at the Palace.

Prince Harry spoke of strained relations between him and some members of the Royal Family, especially his father Prince Charles, his brother Prince William and even extending to the Queen to a lesser degree.

The continuing probing analysis in the wake of both the interview and the reaction of the Palace has put not just the Royal Family but British society under the microscope, particularly over the racism allegations.

Reaction has been immediate, extensive and varied with opinions are divided. And it's all being played out in the full glare of national and international attention - and curiosity - to see how the Royal family and British society emerge from this.

Sharing centre-stage in this still-unfolding drama, is the British press; and not only for its reporting of the events swirling around the royal household and the national discourse emanating from the issues raised.

Prince Harry and his wife hold parts of the press responsible for the current state of affairs, accusing them of biased and intrusive reporting.

But the press has fired back with some editors and reporters blaming the couple for attempting to manipulate and even muzzle the media - and questioning their version of events.

One high profile journalist, Piers Morgan who co-hosts a popular morning television programme, stormed off the live set after he was criticised by a co-host for his harsh condemnation, particularly of Meghan Markle.

A few hours later it was confirmed that he had left the role permanently.

The fall-out continues.

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