Queen and Prince Philip not behind Archie skin colour remarks, Oprah says

Oliver Milman in New York
·3-min read

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were not behind comments about the colour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s child, according to Oprah Winfrey, who conducted the interview in which the startling revelation was made.

Related: 'I didn't want to be alive any more': Harry and Meghan describe racism and royal animosity in Oprah interview

In the interview aired in the US on CBS on Sunday night, Meghan said that when she was pregnant with her son, Archie, there were “conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born”. Prince Harry added that he was “a bit shocked” by the comments but said he wouldn’t identify who made them.

Winfrey said on Monday Harry would not share the identity of the person but had stressed “it was not his grandmother or grandfather who were part of those conversations”.

She added: “I tried to get that answer, on camera and off.”

The interview, in which Meghan also said she contemplated suicide while pregnant and Harry revealed Prince Charles stopped taking his calls once the couple decided to step away from royal duties and move to the US, has been widely regarded as a disaster for the royal family.

On Monday, CBS aired further clips from the interview, which Winfrey said spanned three hours and 20 minutes but had to be edited down to a much shorter length.

In the new clips, Harry said racism was “a large part” of why the couple decided to leave the UK, though he said he thought the British press are bigoted, rather than the broader population.

He added: “I’m very aware my brother can’t leave that system, but I have.”

Meghan said that she was subjected to a “wild, wild west” of criticism via social media and rejected the argument that other royals have also faced attacks.

“Rude and racist are not the same,” she said.

Winfrey appeared on CBS This Morning on Monday to say the couple decided to do the interview because they felt they had been “lied about for a series of years” and that their treatment in the UK was “hurtful”.

She said she had a conversation with Meghan in 2018 “that made me feel disheartened. She had been given advice that it would be best if she could be 50% less than she was. I remember hearing that in 2018 and told her, ‘I don’t know how you will survive being half of yourself.’”

Winfrey added that she doesn’t think Americans “understand the barrage of daily vitriol and negativity on a consistent basis and what that does to your personal psyche”.

She said the royal family “is a business and she’s a commodity to that business”, in reference to Meghan.

Reaction to the interview in the US has largely been supportive of Meghan, with many considering it highly damaging to the royal family.

Tina Brown, a former Vanity Fair editor and a biographer of Princess Diana, said the interview was “kryptonite”.

“Let’s bow down to the real queen here – Oprah,” she said. “What a fantastic interview that was. I think we will be talking about this interview for 20 years.”