Harry denies accusing royal family of racism in Oprah interview

Duke of Sussex says he and Meghan drew attention to 'unconscious bias', not racial prejudice

Britain's Prince Harry speaks on the ITV programme, Harry: The Interview. PA via AP
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Prince Harry has denied accusing members of the royal family of racism in the Sussexes' interview with US talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

The Duke of Sussex said their claims that a family member made “troubling” comments about the skin colour of his son, Archie, related to “unconscious bias”, not racism.

The recent incident involving Ngozi Fulani and Lady Susan Hussey “is a very good example of the environment within the institution”, said Prince Harry.

Ms Fulani, the British leader of the charity Sistah Space, was asked where she “really came from” by the late Queen Elizabeth's senior lady-in-waiting at a Buckingham Palace reception

In an ITV interview with Tom Bradby, the presenter said: “In the Oprah interview, you accused members of your family of racism."

Prince Harry responded by saying, “No, I didn’t”, and “The British press said that”.

"Did Meghan ever mention that they’re racist?” he asked.

Bradby said Meghan claimed there had been troubling comments made about Archie, Prince Harry said: “There was — there was concern about his skin colour.”

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

“The difference between racism and unconscious bias, the two things are different," he said.

“But once it’s been acknowledged, or pointed out to you as an individual, or as an institution, that you have unconscious bias, you therefore have an opportunity to learn and grow from that in order so that you are part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

“Otherwise, unconscious bias then moves into the category of racism.”

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“I mean what happened to Ngozi Fulani is a very good example of the environment within the institution, and why, after our Oprah interview, they said that they were going to bring in a diversity tsar.

“That hasn’t happened. Everything they said was going to happen hasn’t happened.

“I’ve always been open to wanting to help them understand their part in it, and especially when you are the monarchy, you have a responsibility, and quite rightly people hold you to a higher standard than others.

“So, the way that I’ve learnt it through my own experience and for what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, yes, you’re right the key word is concern, which was troubling.

“But you speak to any other mixed-race couple around the world and you will probably find that the white side of the family have either openly discussed it, or secretly discussed, you know, ‘What are the kids going to look like?’

“And that is part of a bigger conversation that needs to be had.”

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Prince Harry added: “But, to say that that doesn’t happen around the rest of the world, but it just happened there — that’s not true.

“But again for me the difference is unconscious bias and racism, but if you are called out for unconscious bias you need to make that right, and you have the opportunity and the choice to.

“But if you choose not to, then that rapidly becomes something much more serious.”

Updated: January 09, 2023, 5:29 AM