Britain’s royal family has begun a fight back against racism claims made by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, indicating the couple’s comments will not go unchallenged as the country divides into partisan camps.
A keenly awaited statement from Queen Elizabeth II issued Tuesday was conciliatory towards her grandson and his mixed-race spouse, after their explosive interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
But it also stressed that “some recollections may vary”, as Buckingham Palace vowed to look into the couple’s assertion that an unidentified royal had asked how dark their unborn son Archie’s skin would be.
The row is being watched worldwide, in the United States where the couple now live and across the multi-racial Commonwealth, which the queen heads, dragging Britain’s most famous family further into a debate about racism and the country’s colonial past.
The UK government is refusing to get involved in the family’s biggest crisis since the very public collapse of the marriage of Harry’s parents, other than to praise Elizabeth’s stewardship of the country and the 54-nation Commonwealth.
But pointedly, Downing Street has declined to disown remarks by junior foreign minister Zac Goldsmith, a close ally of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who accused former army captain Harry of “blowing up his family”.
Senior minister Jacob Rees-Mogg denied there were any wider ramifications for the 94-year-old queen, who has reigned over Britain and 15 Commonwealth realms including Australia and Canada since 1952.
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