Prince Andrew 'had easier ride' from press and Palace than Meghan Markle, says Labour MP

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Labour MP for Nottingham East Nadia Whittome attends Andrew Marr's BBC Political Sunday Morning Show at BBC Broadcast House on on January 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)
Labour MP Nadia Whittome has criticised the Royal Family's response to the Harry and Meghan interview. (Getty Images)

Prince Andrew had “an easier ride” from the British tabloid press and the Royal Family than Meghan Markle, a Labour MP has said.

Nadia Whittome, at 24 the youngest MP in the House of Commons, suggested in a tweet that the Duchess of Sussex is being treated differently by Buckingham Palace and the press because she is “a young Black woman”.

The Palace is reportedly engaged in crisis talks following Meghan and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was broadcast in the UK on ITV on Monday evening.

Watch: What Harry and Meghan really think of Charles, William and Kate

The couple made a number of claims in the interview, including that an unnamed royal asked Harry “how dark” their son Archie’s skin might be.

On Monday, Winfrey told CBS This Morning that Harry told her neither the Queen nor Prince Philip made the remark.

Whittome published her tweet on Monday evening, just as the interview was finishing its broadcast, writing: “It says a lot about the priorities of the Royal Family and tabloid press when Prince Andrew has an easier ride than a young Black woman.”

Whittome, the Labpur MP for Nottingham East, had previously condemned the Palace on Monday morning, amid calls for an investigation over the allegations of racism.

She had tweeted: “When Meghan Markle was accused of bullying, Buckingham Palace immediately announced an investigation.

“Now that Meghan has revealed comments about her child’s skin colour, will they investigate racism in the Palace? I won’t be holding my breath."

The Sussexes told Oprah they felt they weren't defended by the Royal Family's press team, with Meghan saying she has had worse press treatment than the Duchess of Cambridge.

Harry said that racism in the UK was a “large part” of why he and Meghan left for the US, and that the British press, “specifically the tabloids”, was “bigoted”.

The Duke of York was forced to stepped down from public duties at the end of 2019 following a disastrous BBC Newsnight interview in which he failed to show empathy to the victims of his friend and convicted paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.

In the interview conducted by Emily Maitlis, Prince Andrew denied an alleged sexual encounter with Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein, saying he had no recollection of meeting her and had been at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking instead.

He also refuted claims he sweated heavily while reportedly dancing with Ms Giuffre in Tramp nightclub, saying he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.

In the interview with Winfrey, Meghan revealed there were times when she “didn’t want to be alive any more” because of the pressures of life within the Royal Family.

Read more: How the UK front pages reacted to Harry and Meghan's interview

Harry said in the interview he felt “let down” by his father the Prince of Wales, saying Charles stopped taking his calls after the couple’s decision to step back from royal duties. Harry also said he and his brother William “were on different paths”.

The couple also revealed that they are expecting a baby girl.

On Tuesday, The Times reported that the Queen wanted more time to consider her response to the Sussexes’ interview.

KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: Prince Andrew, Duke of York attends church at St Mary the Virgin at Hillington in Sandringham on January 19, 2020 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, pictured in January 2020 attending church in Sandringham. (Getty Images)

Palace officials reportedly had a prepared statement highlighting the family’s love and concern for the couple, but it was not signed off by the monarch.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the allegations made by Meghan must be taken seriously.

He said: “Nobody, but nobody, should be prejudiced (against) because of the colour of their skin or because of their mental health issues.”

Royal biographer Andrew Morton said the fallout from the interview will “shudder down through the generations in the same way that Diana’s did”.

In her now infamous BBC Panorama interview in 1995, Harry’s mother, Diana, the Princess of Wales, called royal officials “the enemy” and questioned Charles’ suitability to be king.

Watch: The questions that remain after Harry and Meghan’s Oprah appearance

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