Rory Tingle and Mark Duell, Daily Mail, October 1, 2020
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today demanded an end to ‘structural racism’ in Britain.
In a wide-ranging interview from their £11million California mansion, Prince Harry revealed his ‘awakening’ to the discrimination faced by black people after meeting his wife.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle praised Black Lives Matter protests in America after the death of George Floyd as ‘beautiful’ – but said this only applied to ‘peaceful protest’ and admitted many people found them ‘inflammatory’.
Speaking on Zoom to the Evening Standard, Harry also weighed in on Diversity’s controversial BLM dance routine on Britain’s Got Talent and said he was ‘surprised’ by the negative comments it had received.
In a separate article for the newspaper, the couple said: ‘As long as structural racism exists, there will be generations of young people of colour who do not start their lives with the same equality of opportunity as their white peers. And for as long as that continues, untapped potential will never get to be realised.’
The interview is the latest in a long series of political comments by the couple, including last week when Harry intervened in the US election by urging voters to ‘reject hate speech’.
The comments – which broke royal protocol – were widely interpreted as a call to vote out Donald Trump. They prompted Buckingham Palace to immediately distance themselves from Harry by noting he was ‘not working member of the Royal Family’.
The couple’s interview comes at a key moment for race issues around the world after the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by a US policeman sparked a wave of protest.
During the unrest this summer there were scenes of violence, arson and looting, and a number of businesses were targeted.
Asked for her views on the BLM protests, Meghan admitted they had been ‘inflammatory for a lot of people’.
She continued: ‘But when there is just peaceful protest and when there is the intention of just wanting community and just wanting the recognition of equality, then that is a beautiful thing.
‘While it has been challenging for a lot of people certainly having to make this reckoning of historical significance that has got people to the place that they are, that is uncomfortable for people. We recognise that. It is uncomfortable for us.
‘And I think when everyone just starts to own that, we push through that and focus on how do we make it different moving forward? And if we just focus on the uplift and the positivity of that, while still acknowledging the past, that’s where we reshape things, and that shouldn’t be inflammatory at all. That should be really exciting actually.’
Meghan said that BLM in the US was a ‘different movement’ from the one that existed in the UK.
Harry, 36, who at one point was joined on camera by the couple’s Beagle, Guy, said he had become more aware of the issue of racism after marrying Meghan, 39.
He said: ‘Because I wasn’t aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the UK and also globally as well. I thought I did but I didn’t.’
‘You know, when you go in to a shop with your children and you only see white dolls, do you even think: ‘That’s weird, there is not a black doll there?’
‘And I use that as just one example of where we as white people don’t always have the awareness of what it must be like for someone else of a different coloured skin, of a black skin, to be in the same situation as we are where the world that we know has been created by white people for white people.’
‘It is not about pointing the finger, it is not about blame. I will be the first person to say, again, this is about learning.
‘And about how we can make it better. I think it is a really exciting time in British culture and British history, and in world culture. This is a real moment that we should be grasping and actually celebrating. Because no one else has managed to do this before us.’
The Prince weighed in on the issue of the Diversity dance troupe’s BLM inspired dance on Britain’s Got Talent, which sparked 24,500 complaints to Ofcom.
‘We spoke to Ashley Banjo a few weeks ago, straight after the Britain’s Got Talent situation,’ Harry said.
‘And that in itself, I am sure even me talking about it will be controversial, but the reality of it is he and his team of guys put on the most amazing display.
‘We had such a good chat with Ashley. He was really strong, he felt great about it, but at the same time he was concerned because of the reaction. It was a real surprise that there was what? 1,100 complaints after the show and then three days of hype it became 20 or 25,000. I am very glad Ofcom made the decision that they did but that in itself kind of proves how much this conversation needs to continue.’
Meanwhile, Harry spoke of how he had become more aware of issues of racial discrimination in society and questioned how far Britain had progressed.
The prince said they although London was celebrated as one of world’s most diverse cities, ‘If you actually get out on to the streets and talk to people, it doesn’t feel as diverse as it actually is.
‘Therefore, now is the best time for us to be able to use our platform and you use your platform as well so we can actually start a conversation and introduce people to the black community that are making a massive difference within their own communities and across the UK as a whole as well.’
The couple recently moved into a £11million mansion in Santa Barbara after breaking with the Royal Family and leaving the UK.
Meghan said the couple were ‘doing well’ and enjoying life with their baby, Archie.
She said: ‘We are very lucky with our little one. He is just so busy, he is all over the place.
‘He keeps us on our toes. We are just so lucky.
‘Everyone has been accustomed to what it means to be distanced. The impact of that, whether it is across the Pond or across town, you are still for the most part through a computer screen.
‘We have all had to adapt to how we can have the most impact as possible within the constraints of what has happening with Covid-19.
‘Like all of you, we are doing the best that we can and hoping that our passion and our commitment is still felt as it certainly hasn’t wavered.’
Harry said he was coping with being away from Britain by using Zoom to stay in touch with people at home.
‘Everything has been through video, everything has been in a room, somewhere,’ he said. ‘Actually it doesn’t matter where in the world we have been, we have stayed in touch with and supported the organisations as much as humanly possible.’
Harry said he and Meghan hoped to use their high public profile to continue discussing racial discrimination.
He said: ‘Now is the best time for us to be able to use our platform, joint with your platform as well, so that we can actually start a conversation and introduce people to the black community that are making a massive difference within their own communities but across the UK as a whole as well.
‘So I think it’s a month of celebration, and of course with a lot of other things going on in the UK and America and around the world at the moment, there can be parallels of connections to that, but essentially for us this is very much a celebration of Black History Month.’
To coincide with the interview the couple revealed their list of nominations for Black History Month’s Next Generation Trailblazers, who were selected for challenging prejudice and contributing to British society.
Those nominated by the couple included Vogue editor Edward Enninful, Olympian boxer Nicola Adams, England rugby star Maro Itoje, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu and Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Discussing their nominations, Harry said: ‘These are people that we know. People that we’ve interacted with over the years, people that have been mentioned to us by other people.
‘Look, you know, this job has a certain uniqueness about it where we travel around the world, but we also visit all the communities, not all, but many communities within the UK, and the same names keep coming up.
‘And we’ve been really just impressed, humbled and inspired at the same time by these individuals, whether it’s Doreen Lawrence, or whether it’s, you know, Neil Basu – these are people that are really, that are genuinely making a difference.’
Ending the interview, Meghan vowed that the couple would continue making their opinions known on issues that matter to them.
She said: ‘You know, like all of you, we’re doing the best that we can and hoping that our passion and our commitment is still felt, because it certainly hasn’t wavered.’
At one point in the interview, the couple’s Beagle, Guy, walked in on the interview, prompting Meghan to apologise.
Today’s interview was the latest in a series of political interventions by the Sussexes that have sparked significant controversy.
Last week, they were accused of ‘over-stepping the line’ after a thinly-veiled swipe at Donald Trump as they urged Americans to get out and vote in the upcoming election.
In the couple’s most high-profile intervention in the US presidential election, Harry urged voters to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’ – all qualities critics associate with Mr Trump.
In a TV appearance to mark Time magazine’s 100 most influential people roll call, Meghan – who has made no secret of her antipathy towards the president – described November’s vote as the most important election of her lifetime.
Meanwhile, Harry complained that he had never been able to exercise his democratic right to vote because of the convention that, as a member of the British Royal Family, he should remain politically neutral.
Royal insiders voiced concern in Britain where the Queen and her family are expected to remain politically neutral at all times, with one saying that Harry and Meghan had ‘crossed a line’.
Buckingham Palace also distanced itself from Harry’s remarks by saying that ‘the Duke is not a working member of the royal family’ and describing his comments as ‘made in a personal capacity’.
Harry and Meghan made their comments in a Time 100 video to go with the publication of this year’s list of the most influential people, which does not include the royal couple.
‘As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity,’ said Harry.
This was a line some observers in Britain and the U.S. immediately took many be a plug for Joe Biden and a slap at President Trump.
‘We’re six weeks out from the election, and today is Voter Registration Day,’ Meghan said.
‘Every four years, we’re told the same thing, ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime.
‘But this one is.