The UK’s international standing has been hammered by the explosive revelations about the Royal Family coming from the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The Queen released her address to 54 nations to mark Commonwealth Day only hours before the interview was broadcast in the US, in which the monarch stressed the importance of “friendship and duty”.
However, her grandson Prince Harry has been accused of “blowing up his family” with seismic claims about racism and neglect that have severely damaged the perception of the monarchy which remains an integral part of the UK’s ‘soft power’ internationally.
“A total sh*t-show for UK’s global reputation,” concluded Andrew Neil, the chairman of the Spectator magazine, former editor of the Sunday Times and ex-BBC political presenter.
Neil tweeted: “It’s been Bash the Brits day on US TV after that interview with the Markles. I suspect most Brits will be a bit sniffy and circumspect about that they had to say. But it’s going down a storm almost everywhere else.”
‘Harry is blowing up his family,’ says Lord Goldsmith
A senior member of Boris Johnson’s government, Lord Goldsmith accused the Duke of “blowing up his family”, while ITV News’ royal editor Chris Shop said the couple “dropped bomb after heavy bomb on Buckingham Palace” in the interview.
Goldmsith responded, saying it wasn’t Buckingham Palace, “Harry is blowing up his family,” adding: “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.”
The prime minister himself declined to comment on the interview when asked at Monday’s Downing Street conference if the allegations of racism at the palace should be investigated. Last week the Palace said it was investigating bullying allegations made against Markle.
‘Nothing is the thing that I propose to say,’ said Johnson
Today, Johnson said: “I have always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role that she plays in our country and across the Commonwealth.
“As for all other matters to do with the Royal Family, I have spent a long time now not commenting on Royal Family matters and I don’t intend to depart from that today.”
Asked later if he believed the Royal Family was racist, Johnson replied: “I really think that when it comes to matters to do with the Royal Family, the right thing for prime ministers to say is nothing and nothing is the thing that I propose to say today about that particular matter.”
‘This is bigger than the Royal Family,’ says Starmer
In sharp contrast, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the allegations should be taken “very, very seriously.”
On a visit to a school in Dagenham, Starmer said: “It is really sad to see the family in turmoil like this. The issues that Meghan has raised of racism and mental health are really serious issues.
“It is a reminder that too many people experience racism in 21st-century Britain. We have to take that very, very seriously.
“Nobody, but nobody, should be prejudiced [against] because of the colour of their skin or because of their mental health issues.
“This is bigger than the Royal Family. For too many years we have been too dismissive and too willing to put these issues to one side.”
Skin colour question is tone deaf and causes outrage
Allegations of racism in the British royal family have intensified following the revelations of the interview broadcast by ITV in the UK on Monday evening, a day after the US transmission.
Among the most contentious and damaging are the comments made by a member of the royal family about the likely skin tone of the Sussex’s baby, to which a stunned Winfrey asked: “What? Who is having that conversation?”
After a pause, Markel said several conversations about their baby’s skin tone had been had with her husband about “what that would mean or look like”, though Markle declined to say who had raised the questions with the Duke.
“I think that would be very damaging to them,” said Markle, with the prince later adding: “That conversation, I am never going to share. At the time it was awkward. I was a bit shocked.”
Markle had suicidal thoughts
After the broadcast, Winfrey confirmed on Monday that the prince stressed the person “was not his grandmother or grandfather who were part of those conversations”, adding that she had “tried to get that answer, on camera and off.”
Another of the bombshells was Markle’s revelation that she had suicidal thoughts during her time with the Royal Family and when she had sought help from the Palace HR department, was told there was none available because she was not a paid employee of the institution.
A senior aide she approached to seek help for her mental distress told Markle “it was not a good look” for a senior royal.
Revelations are ‘really distressing, shocking,’ and should be investigated, says Green
The claims made by Markle were described as “really distressing, shocking”, by shadow education secretary Kate Green, who told Sky News: “And if there are allegations of racism, I would expect them to be treated by the palace with the utmost seriousness and fully investigated.”
Green added: “There is never any excuse in any circumstances for racism and I think it is important that action is taken to investigate what are really shocking allegations.”
The Palace has so far declined to comment on the interview.