Trevor Phillips said the Royal Family seem ‘no more or less prejudiced’ than any other British family
Trevor Phillips said the Royal Family seem ‘no more or less prejudiced’ than any other British family after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s racism claims.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed in their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey that there were ‘concerns and conversations’ about how dark their unborn son Archie’s skin might be.
Meghan also appeared to suggest in the interview that Archie may not have received the royal title of prince because of alleged prejudice related to his skin colour.
Mr Phillips, the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it was ‘almost certain’ that members of the Royal Family ‘speculated’ over whether Archie would look more like his mother or father.
But the campaigner and writer said that any family which did not have such conversations would be ‘heartless’.
He then added that, on the evidence provided by Harry and Meghan, the Royals appear ‘no more or less prejudiced than any other family in multiracial Britain.’
Mr Phillips also claimed that, in choosing to step down as working royals, the couple ‘blew the chance’ to ‘normalise diversity’ in the institution.
His comments, made in an article for The Times, came after he told the Daily Mail that Miss Winfrey should have asked Harry about his past behaviour, including when he was recorded calling an Asian army colleague a ‘P**i’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed in their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey that an unnamed member of the family raised ‘concerns and conversations’ about how dark their unborn son Archie’s skin might be
Mr Phillips, the former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it was ‘almost certain’ that members of the Royal Family ‘speculated’ over whether Archie would look more like his mother or father. But the campaigner and writer added that, on the evidence provided by Harry and Meghan, the Royals appear no more or less prejudiced than any other family in multiracial Britain’
Recalling their words to Miss Winfrey, Mr Phillips said the interviewer ‘crucially’ failed to ask what Harry’s response was when a family member allegedly made the comment about his and Meghan’s unborn child.
He pointed out that Harry and Meghan’s accounts of the alleged incident differed.
Meghan had claimed there were ‘several conversations’ about Archie’s skin colour when she was pregnant.
Harry meanwhile said there was just one conversation ‘right at the beginning . . . before we even got married’.
But Mr Phillips wrote: ‘I believe what she says. It is almost certain that members of the family speculated about whether the child would look more like his mother or father.’
However, he added that any family which does not have such a conversation would be ‘heartless’.
He then said that the evidence presented does not portray the Royals in a worse light than any other British family.
The campaigner then drew a negative comparison between former US President Barack Obama and Harry and Meghan.
Oprah Winfrey discusses her interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
He said that while Mr Obama had used his ‘eloquence’ and ‘intelligence’ to ‘neuter’ the question of race in high office in America, Meghan and Harry ‘blew the chance to normalise diversity within the royal family.’
Mr Phillips branded this an ‘epic fail’ in a nation which has people of colour such as Home Secretary Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Chancellor Rishi Sunak in ‘high office’.
His comments come after Mr Phillips questioned why Miss Winfrey did not ask about Harry’s own past racist remarks and behaviour.
Former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore revealed in his dairy for The Spectator earlier this month that Mr Phillips contacted him via email to say: ‘A genuinely interesting question about race would have been to ask the couple whether they had discussed Harry’s own past behaviour and remark.
‘It would’ve been a big positive for them to talk candidly about how they got past that history, and possibly an injunction for people to be generous.’
Mr Moore then gave his own opinion: ‘Yes, Harry could have helped young white men trying to tiptoe through this minefield.’
Mr Phillips added: ‘That’s assuming that Meghan actually knows about his past life — she seems remarkably ill-informed about the family she married into, even though it is the most famous and widely reported clan in history.’
In 2005, a young Harry had caused a stir himself when, at just 20 years old, he dressed up for a party in a Nazi uniform, complete with swastika armband, sparking condemnation from politicians and Jewish human rights organisations.
After pictures of the outfit were published, an apology was issued on behalf of Harry for his ‘poor choice of costume’.
Meghan Markle’s bombshell claim that her son Archie was banned from being a prince because of concerns over how ‘dark’ he would be appear to be refuted by rules laid down by King George V
In 2006 Prince Harry was recorded calling an Asian army colleague a ‘P**i’ – and the footage was published three years later. The prince apologised for any offence caused by the incident.
Meghan had suggested there was a racial motivation behind the reason why Archie was not made a prince when she was asked by Miss Winfrey if it was ‘important’ that Arche be given the title.
She said she was upset by the ‘idea of the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be.’
However, in 1917, King George V – the Queen’s grandfather – issued a written order ruling that only royal offspring who are in the direct line of succession could be made a prince or princess and receive titles of His or Her Royal Highness (HRH).
The Letters Patent read: ‘…the grandchildren of the sons of any such sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of dukes of these our realms.’
Under the rules, only Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s eldest son Prince George – as a great-grandson of the monarch down the direct line of succession to the throne – was originally entitled to be a prince.
The Queen stepped in ahead of George’s birth in 2013 to issue a Letters Patent to ensure all George’s siblings – as the children of future monarch William – would have fitting titles.
Under the George V rules, Archie would still be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when his grandfather Charles, the Prince of Wales, accedes to the throne.
How a young Prince Harry called an Asian army colleague a ‘P**i’
Prince Harry was forced to issue a grovelling apology in 2005 after wearing a Nazi uniform to a party.
His choice of outfit was condemned as insensitive and tasteless by shocked Holocaust survivors.
And the Queen’s grandson wearing an Afrika Korps uniform caused a crisis for the Royal Family.
Former royal press officer Dickie Arbiter urged him to say sorry publicly on radio or television. He told the BBC: ‘It is just not good enough to behave like that. We all know history, and at 20 there is no excuse.’
Prince Harry was forced to issue a grovelling apology in 2005 after wearing a Nazi uniform to a party
Harry was attending a fancy dress party thrown by Olympic show jumper Richard Meade.
And In 2009 Prince Harry apologised after footage was published that showed him calling an Asian army colleague a ‘P**i’.
Harry said he had used the term without malice after the recording, taken in 2006, was released.
It took place a year after Harry was pilloried for wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party, a gaffe that sparked an international outcry.
Harry was sent on an Army diversity course after the incident, where he referred to Ahmed Raza Khan as ‘our little P**i’ friend.
Prince Harry pictured in 2009
The prince apologised for any offence caused by the incident and Captain Khan, who was serving in the Pakistan army, insisted he took no offence, contemporary reports said.
A source close to the prince at the time had said he was willing to take his punishment ‘on the chin’ but stressed: ‘Harry doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.
‘The only thing he is guilty of is speaking without thinking and trying to be one of the lads.’
A spokesman at the prince’s office in St James’s Palace said: ‘Prince Harry has been subjected to normal Army disciplinary procedures like any other officer.’
A senior royal source had added: ‘His disciplinary hearing happened a couple of weeks ago. As far as we are concerned the matter is closed.’
In 2012 the prince faced fresh accusations of bringing the royal household into global disrepute.
Harry was photographed on a mobile phone in just a necklace with a naked female playmate hiding behind him having played a game of strip pool in his VIP Las Vegas suite. Another showed him giving the same topless woman a naked bear hug, which have since been seen by tens of millions across the world.
As well as the embarrassment, it did raise security fears about how well the prince was protected on his Vegas trip.