Commonwealth should 'acknowledge' past colonial wrongs, says Prince Harry

Prince makes comments on video conference in response to growing Black Lives Matter movement

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, looks at Britain's Prince Harry during a reception in London. Reuters
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, looks at Britain's Prince Harry during a reception in London. Reuters

Prince Harry has urged the Commonwealth, led by his grandmother, to acknowledge its uncomfortable colonial past.

The royal, 35, and his wife Meghan joined a video conference with leaders organised by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust from their base in the US.

The couple are president and vice president of the Trust.

The sessions were set up in response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a US police arrest in Minneapolis.

Harry last week outlined his personal commitment to tackling institutional racism, saying it had "no place" in society but was still too widespread.

"When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past," he said on the July 1 call, posted on the QCT website.

"So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.

"It's not going to be easy and in some cases it's not going to be comfortable, but it needs to be done because, guess what, everybody benefits."

Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth, a non-political organisation of 54 countries, most of which have links to the British Empire.

It comprises 2.4 billion people, or a quarter of the world's population, of which 60 per cent are aged under 30.

The Trust was set up to give younger people from member nations a platform to share ideas and insights.

Its chief executive, Nicola Brentnall, has said the body is studying how the Commonwealth's colonial past and its legacy should shape its future.

Harry and Meghan stepped down from royal duties this year and have set up a non-profit organisation focusing on promoting mental health, education and well-being.

Meghan, a mixed-race US former actress, has talked about her own personal experience of racism and unconscious bias.

Former army officer Harry has also complained about the "racial undertones" of media coverage of his wife.

Updated: July 7, 2020 03:41 AM

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