Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were ‘disingenuous and misleading’ to suggest their son Archie was denied the title of prince due to the colour of his skin, a royal expert has claimed.
During their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired on Sunday in the US and the following day in the UK, the Duchess of Sussex accused the Royal Family of having ‘concerns’ about ‘how dark’ Archie’s skin would be before he was born because she is mixed-race and Harry is white.
She described her ‘pain’ that officials had denied Archie the title of prince and accused Buckingham Palace of failing to protect him by denying him 24/7 security.
Speaking on True Royalty TV’s The Royal Beat, royal biographer Katie Nicholl said the remarks were ‘misleading’ and argued Meghan and Harry would have known about the constitutional position regarding Archie not being a prince.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were ‘disingenuous and misleading’ to suggest their son Archie was denied the title of prince due to the colour of his skin, a royal expert has claimed
She added that the Queen and the rest of the Firm need to ‘listen’ to the Sussexes’ concerns and ‘show a little more’ that they’re ‘very much not a racist family’, as William stated yesterday, and aren’t ‘out of touch’.
Discussing Meghan’s disappointment that Archie was not awarded the title of prince, Ms Nicholl said: ‘Meghan would have known [that this was for an established constitutional reason] and Harry would definitely have known.
‘I think it was disingenuous to throw all this together and suggest that Archie wasn’t a prince because of the colour of his skin. I think it was misleading.’
Archie was not born a prince due to an order by King George V in 1917 ruling only royal offspring in the direct line of succession could be made a prince or princess.
Speaking on True Royalty TV’s The Royal Beat, royal biographer Katie Nicholl (pictured beside fellow expert Hugo Vickers) said the remarks were ‘misleading’ and argued Meghan and Harry would have known about the constitutional position regarding Archie not being a prince
Katie Nicholls said the Queen and the rest of the Firm need to ‘listen’ to the Sussexes’ concerns and ‘show a little more’ that they’re ‘very much not a racist family’, as William stated yesterday, and aren’t ‘out of touch’ (pictured: Charles and the Queen in Scotland in 2019)
Under the Letters Patent the child would still be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when Charles accedes to the throne. But the Sussexes reportedly fear Harry’s father will scrap this under plans for a slimmed-down monarchy.
What is the George V convention?
In 1917, the Queen’s grandfather issued new letters patent that limited the number of royal family members with an HRH title.
These stated that ‘the children of any Sovereign of these Realms and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour’.
In 1917, the Queen’s grandfather issued new letters patent that limited the number of royal family members with an HRH title
This means that when Prince Charles become King, his grandchildren – including Archie – will all automatically become princes or princesses.
It was also decreed that ‘grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line … shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms’ (i.e., Lord or Lady before their Christian name).’
In addition the letters stated ‘save as aforesaid the style title or attribute of Royal Highness, Highness or Serene Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess shall not henceforth be assumed or borne by any descendant of any Sovereign of these Realms.
Meanwhile royal biographer and broadcaster Hugo Vickers said Meghan using Archie’s skin to ‘lead into’ to debate about his title was ‘unfair’, and added that he didn’t understand the Duchess’ comments on the need to provide security for baby Archie.
He told the programme: ‘I don’t know how many one-year-olds need security because they are normally covered by their parents and Prince Harry had plenty of security at that time.’
Buckingham Palace issued a statement on Tuesday on behalf of the Queen expressing the family’s sadness at learning the ‘full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan’.
The statement said the issues they raised, particularly that of race, were very ‘concerning’, but it made clear that the Queen and other senior royals were keen to stand their ground, adding: ‘While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.’
Speculating on what the Queen and the Royal Family need to do now to move forward from the interview, Ms Nicholl told the Royal Beat: ‘[Her Majesty] needs to listen and the family needs to listen.
‘We have heard Prince William say that “we are not a racist family”. Maybe they are going to need to show that a little bit more, maybe they are going to need to learn from this.
‘I do think there is the feeling that this bore so much resemblance to the Diana interview in many ways, and has made people think, has it really changed? It has in many ways, but as an institution does it need to change any more?’
She added that the damage done to the monarchy as a result of the Oprah interview is twofold.
‘It is like nothing has been learnt from Diana,’ she explained. ‘It makes the institution look like it’s stuck in another era when what is crucial to the monarchy’s survival is its progression.
‘If it doesn’t progress and modernise it has no place in society, it has to keep up with the times. But what is also damaging is that the younger royals have been such advocates for mental health – and the idea that William’s sister-in-law is feeling suicidal and the family somehow haven’t been able to help is extraordinary.’
Discussing whether Harry is likely to come back to the UK this summer for the unveiling of a statue of his mother, Ms Nicholl said she believes it’s very much the Duke’s intention, but it depends on the pandemic and travel restrictions being lifted.
‘They also have a baby on the way [so] I think that might mean Meghan doesn’t come over,’ she added. ‘But I think it is incredibly important that Harry does, because the future of the monarchy is not just being modern and being progressive, but being unified.
‘If they are not unified and symbolising unity, then some people will say, “What is the point?” More important than ever is that William and Harry are shoulder to shoulder.’
Mr Vickers disputed Prince Harry’s claim in the Oprah interview that his family members are ‘trapped’ in the institution of the monarchy.
‘I don’t think they are trapped at all,’ he said. ‘They are working within the system, and what I think is terribly disappointing is that Harry and Meghan could have gone on working within the system because the Queen actually gave them the whole of the Commonwealth to deal with.
‘They had so many opportunities. But it didn’t seem to be quite good enough for them.’
Mr Vickers disputed Prince Harry’s claim in the Oprah interview that his family members are ‘trapped’ in the institution of the monarchy
The move to strip Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their son of their security reportedly had nothing to do with the Palace’s stance on Archie becoming a prince
Discussing how the US has reacted to the Queen’s statement on the issues raised by Harry and Meghan, journalist Jennifer Peros said: ‘We know that the Queen rarely makes public statements regarding private family matters.
‘So when we first saw the statement released on Tuesday, we were thinking, “That’s all you said?” There were so many unanswered questions that we have, that we really have been sitting and waiting for The Queen and the royal family to answer.’
Ms Nicholl retorted: ‘I think she [The Queen] wanted to give it a moment and come back with something that was going to pacify a situation.
‘She is not brushing it under the carpet, she is extending an olive branch, which I think is very clear in that statement. “Recollections may vary” is frankly something I want on a T-shirt because I think it’s brilliant, it’s like “annus horribilis”. It is pure genius!’
The latest episode of The Royal Beat is available to watch on True Royalty TV.