On Sunday night on CBS, Meghan and Harry, the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sat down with Oprah for what was advertised as a no-holds-barred conversation about their experience with the British royal family. And they made one revelation that appeared to genuinely shock Oprah: Before the 2019 birth of their son Archie, members of the royal family, they said, had approached them with concerns about his skin color.
There were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born” from members of the royal family, Meghan said to a flabbergasted Oprah early on in the two-hour interview.
Meghan said she was not present at the conversations, but that she heard of them second-hand through Harry.
“About how dark your baby is going to be?” asked Oprah.
“Potentially,” said Meghan, “and what that would mean or look like.”
Meghan has a Black mother and white father, and has been subject to a storm of racist harassment from the British tabloid press ever since she became associated with the royal family. Similar racist harassment came publicly from the British royal family on at least one occasion, as well: infamously, Princess Michael of Kent wore a racist blackamoor brooch to be introduced to Meghan in 2017.
On Sunday night, Meghan declined to name the member or members of the family who speculated about what her then-unborn child might look like. “I think that would be very damaging to them,” she said.
When Harry joined the interview, he similarly refused to name names. “That conversation I’m never going to share,” he said. “It was awkward. I was a bit shocked.” Harry added that he had this conversation early on in his relationship with Meghan. “That was right at the beginning,” he said. “What will the kids look like?”
The couple also revealed that the palace expressed reluctance to grant their son Archie — great-grandson of the current Queen of England and grandson of the future King — a courtesy title, or to provide him with the security that normally accompanies that title, in violation of traditional royal protocol.
“Do you think it’s because of his race?” Oprah asked.
Meghan emphasized that she was not particularly concerned about Archie’s access or lack thereof to a title, but the lack of security gave her pause. And, she added, “the idea of the first member of color of this family not being titled in the same way” did not sit well with her.
Meghan and Harry married in 2018 in a lavish and history-making royal ceremony. In January of 2020, they declared their intentions to step back from their day-to-day duties as senior members of the royal family. Shortly thereafter, they announced that they would be relinquishing their “royal highness” titles. Sunday night’s conversation was the couple’s first lengthy interview since departing the royal family.
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