Britain and its royal family are absorbing the tremors from the sensational television interview by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, in which the couple said they encountered racist attitudes and a lack of support that drove the duchess to thoughts of suicide.
In a new clip, aired this morning by CBS in the US, Prince Harry says racism was "a large part" of the reason he and Meghan left Britain.
Oprah Winfrey has also revealed it was not the Queen or Prince Philip who raised "concerns" about how dark the Sussexes' unborn child's skin would be after the bombshell allegation was made by Meghan.
In the two-hour soul-baring interview with the former talkshow host, the couple painted a deeply unflattering picture of life inside the royal household, depicting a cold, uncaring institution that they had to flee to save their lives.
Meghan told Winfrey that at one point "I just didn't want to be alive anymore" and had uncontrollable suicidal thoughts. She said she sought help through the palace's human resources department, but was told there was nothing they could do.
Meghan, 39, said that she was naive at the start of her relationship with Harry and unprepared for the strictures of royal life.
The former television star, who identifies as biracial, described that when she was pregnant with son Archie, there were "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born".
Harry confirmed the conversation, saying: "I was a bit shocked." He said he would not reveal who made the comment, though Winfrey said he told her it was not either of his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II or her husband, Prince Philip.
Harry and Meghan, known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced they were quitting royal duties last year, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. That split became official earlier this year, and the interview was widely seen as their first opportunity to explain their decision.
In a clip released Monday that was not broadcast the night before, Harry reiterated that racism was "a large part" of the reason the couple left Britain — and he blamed the "toxic" British tabloid press.
"The UK is not bigoted," he said. "The UK press is bigoted, specifically the tabloids."
Deman for Palace to investigate
The implications for the interview — which was broadcast Sunday night in the United States and will air in Britain on Monday night — are only beginning to be understood. Emily Nash, royal editor at Hello! Magazine, said the revelations had left her and many other viewers "shell-shocked."
"I don't see how the palace can ignore these allegations, they're incredibly serious," she said. "You have the racism allegations. Then you also have the claim that Megan was not supported, and she sought help even from the HR team within the household and was told that she couldn't seek help."
Anti-monarchy group Republic said the interview gave a clearer picture of what the royal family is like — and it's not pretty.
"Whether for the sake of Britain or for the sake of the younger royals this rotten institution needs to go,'' Graham Smith of the campaign group said. "Some people will say 'well you would say that,' but this interview has only served to highlight what a lot of people have known for years: The monarchy is rotten to the core and does not reflect British values."
Harry, born a royal prince, described how his wife's experience had helped him realise how he and he rest of the family were stuck in an oppressive institution.
"I was trapped, but I didn't know I was trapped," Harry said. "My father and my brother, they are trapped."
Meghan, he said, "saved me."
The younger royals — including Harry, Meghan, Harry's brother, Prince William, and William's wife, Catherine — have made campaigning for support and awareness around mental health one of their priorities. But Harry described a royal family completely unable to offer that support to its own members.
"For the family, they very much have this mentality of 'This is just how it is, this is how it's meant to be, you can't change it, we've all been through it,'" Harry said.
The couple had faced severe criticism in the United Kingdom during the run-up to the interview. Prince Philip, Harry's 99-year-old grandfather, is in a London hospital after recovering from a heart procedure, and critics saw the decision to go forward as being a burden on the queen — even though, CBS, rather that Harry and Meghan, dictated the timing of the broadcast.
In the United States, sympathy for the couple poured in after the interview. It will be shown later Monday in Britain, where some see Meghan and Harry as a couple who put personal happiness ahead of public duty.
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