Prince Harry: I never said the Royal family was racist

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The Duke of Sussex has insisted that he does not believe the Royal family is racist and claimed he had never suggested they were.

Prince Harry told ITV that when he and his wife, Meghan, revealed in their Oprah Winfrey interview that a member of the family had raised concerns about the colour of their unborn son’s skin they were not accusing them of racism.

Asked if he would not consider that “essentially racist,” he replied: “I wouldn’t, not having lived within that family.”

The comment is likely to be viewed as a potential olive branch from Prince Harry to his family and an apparent U-turn after Buckingham Palace was engulfed in a race crisis in the wake of his claims.

The Sussexes’ disclosure about the alleged incident caused shockwaves around the world and proved incredibly damaging to the monarchy, prompting the late Queen to issue her now infamous line that “recollections may vary.”

The conversation is not even alluded to in his book, despite the furore caused by the revelations in March 2021.

The Duke was interviewed by Tom Bradby, the News at Ten anchor, to promote his memoir, Spare, which is officially published on Tuesday although went on sale last week in Spain.

The Duke was interviewed by Tom Bradby, the News at Ten anchor, to promote his memoir, Spare

Credit: ITV

He claimed during the 90-minute programme, broadcast on Sunday night, that he no longer recognised his family and admitted that they probably do not recognise him.

However, he said he believed forgiveness was possible.

The Duke claimed he had spent six years trying to reach out to his family and admitted that it was “heartbreaking” it had got to this point.

It comes just weeks after the release of Duke and Duchess’s six-part Netflix series, Harry & Meghan, which contained a series of further disclosures and allegations about the Royal family.

Forgiveness is a ‘100pc possibility’

Prince Harry told Mr Bradby: “I think there’s probably a lot of people who, after watching the documentary and reading the book, will go, ‘How could you ever forgive your family for what they’ve done?

“People have already said that to me. And I said, forgiveness is 100 per cent a possibility because I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back.

“At the moment, I don’t recognise them, as much as they probably don’t recognise me.”

The Duke appeared to suggest that by not defending him and his wife, Meghan, or speaking out in support of their various grievances, the Royal family had engaged in a form of “abuse” and was also preventing any chance of reconciliation.

He said: “The world is asking for some form of comment from the monarchy.

“But the silence is deafening. To put it mildly. So, I think we’ve gone from this being, you know, just my personal whatever you wanna call it to way, way, way bigger than us.

“And from what I have learnt and believe of the monarchy, if someone in this country, if someone, you know, especially in the US, no names mentioned, tweets or says certain things that are just categorically harmful and dangerous, you have the president and the vice president speak out against it.

“But, everything to do with my wife, after six years, they haven’t said a single thing. But they’re willing to defend themselves regularly.”

The Duke admitted that he did not expect either his father, the King, or his brother, Prince William to read his memoir, although he expressed hope that they would.

Prince Harry pictured with Meghan, his brother Prince William and his sister-in-law Kate on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 2018

Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo

He accused the British tabloids of being the “antagonist” that had created the deep conflict within his family, adding: “The saddest part of that is certain members of my family and the people that work for them are complicit in that conflict.”

Prince Harry admitted that he wanted to reunite with his family, suggesting that it would not only be good for them but for the entire world.

But he appeared to suggest that reconciliation could only come with “accountability” and that it was now time for his family to admit their mistakes and apologise.

He said: “So, though I would like to have reconciliation, I would like accountability, I’ve managed to make peace over this time with a lot of things that have happened.

“But that doesn’t mean that I’m just gonna let it go. You know, I’ve made peace with it, but I still would like reconciliation. And not only would that be wonderful for us, but it would be fantastic for them as well.”

He said he hoped there could be a “constructive conversation” but suggested there the Royal family felt it was better to keep him and his wife as the “villains.”

It was unclear what legal process he was referring to as he said: “I have tried…  I have spent a lot of money through legal trying to find some form of reconciliation.”

The Duke added: “I hope that reconciliation between my family and us will have a ripple effect across the entire world. Maybe that’s lofty, maybe that’s naïve, whatever. But I genuinely feel that.”

‘I’m not sure how honesty is burning bridges’

Mr Bradby noted that many would feel that having exposed so many family secrets, intimate moments and conversations in his book, he had burnt his bridges and destroyed any chance of winning his family back.

The Duke replied: “Well they’ve shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile up until this point. And I’m not sure how honesty is burning bridges.

“You know, silence only allows the abuser to abuse. Right? So I don’t know how staying silent is ever gonna make things better. That’s genuinely what I believe.”

In his book, the Duke says: “I love my mother country and I love my family and I always will. I just wish, in the second-darkest moment of my life, they’d both been there for me.”

He told Bradby that he still believed in the monarchy but was not sure whether he would play any role in its future.

He admitted it was “heartbreaking” that his relationship with his family had descended to a point of such deep division, but said the saddest thing about it was “it never needed to be this way. It never needed to get to this point.”

He said: “I’ve had conversations, I’ve written letters, I’ve written emails, and everything is just, no, this is not what’s happening. You are imagining it. And that’s really hard to take.

“And if it had stopped, by the point that I fled my home country with my wife and my son fearing for our lives, then maybe this would’ve turned out differently. It’s hard.

“I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back.”

The Duke has said he would like to have his brother back, as he extended an apparent olive branch to his family

Credit: Jack Boskett

The Duke acknowledged that if he had still been part of the institution, he would not have been able to write a book and tell his own personal story.

“I’m actually really grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to tell my story because it’s my story to tell.

“I sit here now, speaking to you, answering the questions that you put to me and the words and the truth will come from my lips rather than using other people, especially through the tabloid media.

“We’re six years into it now and I have spent every single year of those six, doing everything I can privately, to get through to my family.”

In a lighter moment, the Duke said that during the process of writing the book, with ghostwriter JR Moehringer, memories had come “flooding back” allowing him to fit together pieces of his life like a puzzle.

He recalled an evening he had enjoyed with his family in Scotland, when he had a “proper laugh” with the Queen Mother, as he taught her to do an Ali G impression.

“She, she had this amazing flick of the wrist and yeah, I will never forget that barbecue night, it was wonderful.

“That relationship… something that at the time I recognised but never really thought about in detail.

“I felt like I was part of the family. I felt very different to what I’d felt before that. I felt slightly isolated, I felt slightly different.

“I don’t know what was going on and maybe that was the suppression of the trauma and the grief.”