In a statement on behalf of the Queen that was released Tuesday evening, U.K. time, the Palace 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.”
The statement comes less than 24 hours after the couple’s no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on ITV Monday evening, during which Markle and Prince Harry revealed that an unnamed member of the Royal Family had questioned “how dark” their firstborn child’s skin color might be. Separately, Markle spoke very candidly about her feelings of isolation during her life as a working member of the “Firm,” and also admitted to having entertained suicidal thoughts. Though she had asked for help from the institution, said Markle, she had received none.
Prince Harry also spoke freely to Winfrey, revealing in the two-hour special that he felt he hadn’t blindsided the Queen with the shock announcement that the couple was stepping back as senior royals in January 2020. Harry alleges that he had tried to see his grandmother but was effectively blocked by her aides.
Pressed by Winfrey to reveal which family member had spoken out about Archie’s skin color, Harry said he was “never going to share” that information, as it would be “very damaging” to the individual; however, he later communicated via Winfrey that the person in question wasn’t the Queen or Prince Philip.
Buckingham Palace has been expected to respond in some form to the allegations of racism made by the couple, but it was unclear what the strategy would be and when they might release a statement, if at all. It now comes after what’s reported to have been almost two days of crisis talks.
While CBS grabbed just over 17 million viewers Stateside, ITV drew a peak audience of 12.3 million — the biggest audience on any U.K. channel, outside of government and pandemic-related announcements, since the “Strictly Come Dancing” final on BBC One in December 2020.