Michelle Obama has said ‘it wasn’t a complete surprise’ to hear Meghan Markle’s allegations of racism within the royal family, and expressed her hope that the family could reconcile.
Obama, 57, weighed in on the furious fallout from Oprah Winfrey’s March 7 interview in a discussion with Jenna Bush Hager on NBC, to air on Tuesday morning.
‘Race isn’t a new construct in this world, for people of color,’ said Obama.
‘So it wasn’t a complete surprise to, sort of, hear her feelings.’
Michelle Obama said in an interview, airing Tuesday, that racism allegations did not shock her
Jenna Bush Hager also asked the former First Lady for her thoughts on life in the public eye
The Obamas lunched with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle in 2016
Michelle Obama and Prince Harry attend a Wounded Warriors basketball game in October 2015
Obama said that she hoped the family rift could be healed.
‘The thing I hope for, and I think about: this first and foremost is a family, and I pray for forgiveness and healing for them,’ she said.
‘So they can use this as a teachable moment for us all.’
She told Hager that public service was ‘a bright, sharp, hot spotlight,’ that most people did not fully understand.
‘The thing I always keep in mind is that none of it is about us, in public service,’ she said.
‘It’s about the people that we serve.’
The former First Lady formed a close friendship with Prince Harry during her husband Barack Obama‘s presidency, as well as a relationship with Meghan in recent years.
Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, made several extraordinary and damaging allegations about the royal family during their primetime interview, including claims that an unnamed member of the monarchy had been worried about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone might be before he was born.
And while Obama did not openly offer her support to one side or the other, in an interview with Access Hollywood – to promote her new Netflix show – she seemed to side with Meghan and Harry when she urged the couple to ‘forgive’ the royal family in the wake of the bombshell interview.
Advice: Michelle Obama, 57, has urged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to ‘forgive’ and ‘resolve’ their differences with the royal family following their bombshell interview
Tell-all: Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, made several extraordinary and damaging allegations about the royal family during their primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey
The Obamas first met the Queen in 2009 during the former president’s first year in office.
They were introduced to Prince William and Kate Middleton when they returned to Buckingham Palace in 2011, and they had one last visit to the U.K. in 2016.
Prince Harry has been friends with the Obamas for years, bonding over humanitarian and military issues, as well as his inspirational Invictus Games for injured military personnel and veterans. They even took part in a video skit with the Queen to publicize it.
Meghan is believed to be friends with Michelle Obama and had secretly attended a talk the author gave in London in 2018.
Hopes: Mrs. Obama said she prays that there will be ‘love and resolve at some point in time,’ insisting that ‘there’s nothing more important than family’
Friends: Mrs. Obama struck up a friendship with Harry during her husband’s presidency and later forged a bond with Meghan, whom she’s praised for her charity work
A year later, the Duchess of Sussex interviewed her for her collaboration with British Vogue, writing about how the former First Lady had become ‘such a globally respected public figure.’
In September 2019, the same month the issue was published, she praised Meghan for her charity work, calling her an inspiration.
In September 2019, Mrs. Obama praised Meghan for her charity work on Instagram, calling her an inspiration
In an Instagram post, the former First Lady penned a touching tribute to the Duchess of Sussex and commended her work during the 10-day royal tour of Africa.
Alongside a photograph of the royal attending a reception for Young People at the Residence of the British High Commissioner in Cape Town, Obama wrote: ‘Thank you to my friend, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, a thoughtful leader who is breaking the mold and making our world better for it.
‘Whether meeting with our leaders or helping girls around the world seek the education they deserve, she is an inspiration to so many.’
Obama’s comments on the extraordinary fallout from Meghan and Harry’s interview come days after Hillary Clinton criticized the royals for failing to support a ‘young woman who was just trying to live her life.’
Michelle Obama is pictured with Prince Harry at Kensington Palace in June 2015
History: During the trip, they had dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry
The former Secretary of State made the comments during a live event with the Washington Post last Monday, one day after the Sussexes’ tell-all was first broadcast.
‘I found it so heart-rending to watch,’ Clinton said, adding that she had met the pair before, as well as Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana.
Clinton then said it was ‘heartbreaking’ to watch the ‘incredibly accomplished’ Meghan ‘not be fully embraced’ by both the ‘permanent bureaucracy that surrounds the royal family’ and the UK press.
The former presidential hopeful said she too is no stranger to facing off with the British press, adding: ‘I’ve had my time in the box with the British tabloids, as anybody who is in the public eye has had, and their cruelty in going after Meghan was just outrageous.
‘The fact she did not get more support, that the reaction was, you know, “Let’s just paper it over and pretend it didn’t happen or it will go away, just keep your head down”— well, this young woman was not going to keep her head down.
Not holding back: Hillary Clinton slammed the royals for failing to support a ‘young woman who was just trying to live her life’ last week during an event with the Washington Post
Memories: Then-President Bill Clinton and his wife were joined by their daughter Chelsea when they met with Queen Elizabeth in 2000
‘You know, this is 2021 and she wanted to live her life, she wanted to be fully engaged and she had every right to hope for that,’ Clinton added.
In addition to allegations of racism, Meghan said she felt ‘silenced’ during her time as a senior royal and received little support when she was struggling with her mental health.
She also claimed that Kate Middleton had made her cry ahead of her 2018 royal wedding, contrary to media reports that it was the other way around.
The day after the interview, Winfrey revealed on CBS This Morning that Harry refused to say who made the comment about Archie’s skin color, but he had insisted it wasn’t the Queen or Prince Philip, who is in hospital following heart surgery.
‘The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,’ Buckingham Palace said in a statement that was released on behalf of the Queen.
‘The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be loved family members.’
‘She’s no good. I said that and now everybody’s seeing it’: What Trump said privately about Meghan after her Oprah interview – but refused to go public for fear of ‘being canceled like Piers Morgan’
Donald Trump hasn’t spoken publicly about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah because he doesn’t want to be ‘canceled’ like Piers Morgan, his former aide claims.
Trump’s former senior adviser Jason Miller lifted the lid on his feelings about the Sussexes’ interview during an appearance on Steve Bannon’s podcast on Wednesday.
Miller said Trump told him he could ‘make a little news’ by sharing his reaction to the interview – but he ultimately decided it wasn’t a good idea.
‘When I was talking to the president this morning … he’s like: “Yeah, [Meghan’s] no good. I said that and now everybody’s seeing it.
‘”But you realize if you say anything negative about Meghan Markle you get canceled. Look at Piers [Morgan],”‘ Miller recalled.
Donald Trump (left on Sunday) hasn’t spoken publicly about Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah because he doesn’t want to be ‘canceled’, his former aide claims
Trump reportedly said he didn’t want to be ‘canceled’ like Piers Morgan (pictured), who left his anchor post at Good Morning Britain last week amid criticism over his forceful comments about the interview with Meghan and Harry
Morgan left his anchor post at Good Morning Britain last week amid criticism over his controversial comments about the interview.
The polarizing host said he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of what Meghan said about experiencing racism within the Royal Family and feeling suicidal when she was pregnant with son Archie.
Trump has spoken out against Meghan in the past, including when he famously called her ‘nasty’ in 2019.
Miller, who worked as Trump’s chief spokesman during his 2016 campaign and as his senior adviser in the 2020 campaign, said Trump told him: ‘I’m on Team Piers. Piers is the best, he’s the greatest, and they went and tried to cancel him simply because he criticized Meghan Markle. This is just the latest chapter of woke culture.’
Morgan resigned from GMB a day after he stormed off set during an on-air row with colleague Alex Beresford, who criticized him for ‘continuing to trash’ the Duchess of Sussex.
There were more than 41,000 complaints received by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, including one from Meghan herself following the clash.
The duchess is said to have raised concerns with ITV about the effect Morgan’s comments may have on the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems.
But Morgan later repeated his condemnation of her interview the following day when he told reporters outside his West London home: ‘If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.’
Morgan (left) resigned from Good Morning Britain a day after he stormed off set during an on-air row with colleague Alex Beresford (right), who criticized him for ‘continuing to trash’ the Duchess of Sussex
Morgan had said he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of what Meghan said about experiencing racism within the Royal Family and feeling suicidal when she was pregnant with son Archie
Soon after he announced his resignation and tweeted his thanks to the GMB team, praising them for their ‘hard work and dedication’ that led to them beating their main breakfast TV rival.
In the wake of his departure at least three petitions calling for Morgan to be reinstated on GMB garnered more than 240,000 signatures.
Morgan ruled out a return to the show but called the petitions a ‘pleasant surprise’ in an Instagram statement on Saturday.
‘I won’t be going back, but thanks to everyone who has signed these petitions. Normally, people start petitions to have me fired or deported, so this is a pleasant surprise,’ he wrote.
‘Those of you that know me well enough know that, despite my many faults, I’m always willing to stand my ground for the things that I think matter most.
‘My fervent opposition to the Iraq War led to my demise from the Daily Mirror. My outspoken views on the insanity of American gun laws led to the end of my time at CNN.
‘And now I’ve lost my job at Good Morning Britain because I chose not to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle’s claims in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.’
He added: ‘I thus became the latest ”victim” of the cancel culture that is permeating our country, every minute, of every hour, of everyday. Though of course, I consider myself to be neither a victim, nor actually cancelled.
‘However, I do believe the defence of free speech and the right to express honestly held opinions, is the most important issue of my career, and the most important issue in British society.’
Sources at ITV have said that Morgan ‘will continue to make programmes for the channel’, according to iNews.
This is likely to include his popular celebrity interview program, Life Stories, which has been on air since 2009.
Trump and the Sussexes have a history of trading barbs.
The then-president weighed in on Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave the Royal Family in January 2020 and expressed condolences for Queen Elizabeth II.
‘I think it’s sad. I do. I think it’s sad. [The Queen’s] a great woman,’ Trump told Fox News.
‘She’s never made a mistake if you look. I mean, she’s had like a flawless time.’
In a statement, Morgan thanked supporters and declared he was ‘willing to stand my ground’
Asked by host Laura Ingraham if Harry should ‘come back to the family’, Trump said: ‘Well, I think, you know, I don’t want to get into the whole thing. But I find it, I just have such respect for the Queen. I don’t think this should be happening to her.’
Trump hit out at Meghan again last fall after she and Harry made the unprecedented decision to comment on the upcoming US election, interpreted by many as an endorsement of now President Joe Biden.
‘I’m not a fan of hers,’ Trump said of Meghan.
‘I would say this – and she has probably has heard that – I wish a lot of luck to Harry because he’s going to need it.’
Meghan and Harry broke with Royal convention when they released a video message making thinly-veiled digs at Trump.
In the video, which came in a Time 100 video to go with the publication of the 2020 list of the most influential people, Harry urged Americans to ‘reject hate speech’ while Meghan called it the ‘most important election of our lifetime’.
‘As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity,’ said Harry – in a line many observers regarded as a swipe at Trump.
‘When the bad outweighs the good, for many, whether we realize it or not, it erodes our ability to have compassion and our ability to put ourself in someone else’s shoes. Because when one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It’s time to not only reflect, but act,’ he said.
Meghan, who was born in California, encouraged viewers to vote telling them it was the ‘most important’ election.
‘We’re six weeks out from the election, and today is Voter Registration Day,’ she said.
‘Every four years, we’re told the same thing, ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime.
‘But this one is. When we vote, our values are put into action, and our voices are heard.’