Among the most troubling disclosures in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Oprah Winfrey interview earlier this month was the claim that one Royal Family member voiced ‘concerns’ over how dark Archie’s skin might be. In the wake of the television appearance, a statement from Buckingham Palace stipulated that ‘The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning… and will be addressed by the family privately’, before the Duke of Cambridge spoke up to insist that the royals are ‘very much not a racist family.’
In the latest evolution, it’s been reported that measures are being taken to ensure the monarchy champions diversity. According to the Times, the Queen is currently considering appointing a diversity chief, as part of proposals to improve representation across Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace.
A royal source is quoted as stating: ‘This is an issue which has been taken very seriously across the royal households. We have the policies, the procedures and programmes in place but we haven’t seen the progress we would like and accept more needs to be done… we can always improve. Therefore we are not afraid to look at new ways of approaching it. The work to do this has been under way for some time now and comes with the full support of the family.’ On the potential appointment of a diversity chief specifically, the source went on: ‘It is something that has to be considered but it is too early for any firm plans to be announced. We are listening and learning, to get this right.’
The proposals are said to cover such identity brackets as ethnic minorities, the LGBTIA+ and disabled communities. Although the initial plans are said to have predated Prince Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview, it’s thought that their points will now be considered as part of the proceedings. The Times adds that aides are also set to embark on a ‘listen and learn’ exercise in the coming weeks, which will include engaging with businesses and individuals to gather ideas on how the monarchy can improve diversity of representation.
In Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview, which first aired in the US on Sunday 7 March, the Duchess spoke about alleged conversations that took place while she was pregnant with the couple’s first child. She stated that there were ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’, to which Winfrey replied: ‘Because they were concerned that if he were too brown, that that would be a problem? Are you saying that?’ Meghan stated that she ‘wasn’t able to follow up with why but if that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one.’
While the couple confirmed that it was a Royal Family member, they would not reveal the identity of the individual who made the comments. Winfrey later stressed that Harry and Meghan had made known it was neither the Queen nor Prince Philip, yet the allegations are undeniably concerning, prompting the subsequent Buckingham Palace statement and Prince William’s public refute of the charge of racism within the family.
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