Buckingham Palace breaks silence after Prince Harry, Meghan Markle interview

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LONDON (AP) — Buckingham Palace issued a statement Tuesday, saying the family was “saddened” to learn of the struggles that Harry and Meghan revealed this week — and that they would be taken very seriously.

The statement is the first comment by the palace following Harry and Meghan’s two-hour television interview with Oprah Winfrey in which they alleged that Meghan had experienced racism and callous treatment during her time in the royal family.

“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,’’ the palace said in a statement issued on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. “While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.’’

The statement also said that “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”

The palace often tries to stay above controversy by remaining silent and riding out the storm, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s charges were so damaging that the family had to respond.

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” airs March 7, 2021. Britain’s royal family and television have a complicated relationship. The medium has helped define the modern monarchy: The 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was Britain’s first mass TV spectacle. Since then, rare interviews have given a glimpse behind palace curtains at the all-too-human family within. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP, File)

Earlier, some observers had said that Buckingham Palace’s silence on the topic has only added to the furor surrounding the TV interview.

The interview, which aired Sunday night in the U.S. and a day later in Britain, has rocked the royal family and divided people around the world. While many say the allegations demonstrate the need for change inside a palace that hasn’t kept pace with the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, others have criticized Harry and Meghan for dropping their bombshell while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, remains hospitalized in London after a heart procedure.

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)

The interview, which aired Sunday night in the U.S. and a day later in Britain, has rocked the royal family and divided people around the world. While many say the allegations demonstrate the need for change inside a palace that hasn’t kept pace with the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, others have criticized Harry and Meghan for dropping their bombshell while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, remains hospitalized in London after a heart procedure.

During the two-hour interview, Meghan described feeling so isolated and miserable inside the royal family that she had suicidal thoughts, yet when she asked for mental health help from the palace’s human resources staff she was told she was not a paid employee. She also said a member of the royal family had expressed “concerns” to Harry about the color of her unborn child’s skin.

Winfrey later said Harry told her off camera that the family member wasn’t Queen Elizabeth II or Prince Philip, sparking a flurry of speculation about who it could be.

Harry also revealed the stresses the couple endured had ruptured relations with his father, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his brother, Prince William, illuminating the depth of the family divisions that led the couple to step away from royal duties and move to California last year.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 09: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Harris – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Charles didn’t comment on the interview Tuesday during a visit to a vaccine clinic in London.

Harry’s father visited a church to see a temporary vaccine clinic in action and met with health care workers, church staff and people due to receive their vaccine jab. The visit was his first public appearance since the interview aired in the U.S. on Sunday night.

Maziya Marzook, a patient at the event, said “private matters didn’t come up at all” during Charles’ visit.

“He didn’t bring up anything,″ Marzook said. “He was more interested in how the vaccine was and how we feel.”

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