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In America, Meghan Markle’s interview elicits shock, sympathy over claims of anti-Black racism Open in fullscreen

Brooke Anderson

In America, Meghan Markle’s interview elicits shock, sympathy over claims of anti-Black racism

The Sussexes' interview with Oprah has divided viewers [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 March, 2021

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Some considered the interview overdue discussion on the royal family, mental health and racism.


Meghan, Harry.

WASHINGTON D.C. (The New Arab) - On Sunday night in the US and Monday morning in the UK, millions of people were united in watching Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry – the couple's first long sit-down with the media since their engagement.

What divided viewers were their responses to the meeting, largely between a new generation and a more conservative older one. Some considered it an overdue discussion on mental health and the circumstances that forced the couple to flee the royal family – notably alleged racism. For others, these claims – if true – should be discussed in private.  

Now that these long pent-up grievances are out in the open, a number of civil rights advocates and politicians are showing solidarity with Meghan and Harry.

“It is about time that the British royal family – a 1200-year-old institution – tackle its history of racism as manifested in Britain’s brutal colonialist past in Asia, Africa, and at its own borders,” Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told The New Arab.

“Queen Elizabeth’s promise to investigate the allegations of Prince Harry and Meghan is a small step towards tackling that history – and present condition – throughout the Commonwealth.”

Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi had earlier called for a boycott of the royal family, telling news outlet TMZ that people should stop standing by the royal family following Meghan’s statement about couple’s son’s skin colour being brought up during her pregnancy. During the interview, Meghan said her husband was taken aside and asked about their son’s potentially darker skin tone.

Politicians have also weighed in with their thoughts of the interview. 

The White House praised Markle for her “courage” for speaking out about mental health issues.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during a livestream event with The Washington Post for International Women’s Day on Monday, described the treatment by the royal family of Meghan as “outrageous.”

For their part, the British tabloids as well as the US right-wing media have questioned the veracity of the couple’s claims and have stood by the institution of the royal family. 

Countless celebrities have also voiced their support for Meghan.

Her friend, tennis star Serena Williams issued a written statement saying: “I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimise us, to break us down and demonise us.”

Meanwhile, her former co-stars from her time on the TV series Suits have spoken out in her defence.

“Find someone else to admonish, berate and torment. My friend Meghan is way out of your league,” former Suits actor Patrick Adams wrote on Twitter.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Brooke Anderson is The New Arab's correspondent in Washington D.C., covering US and international politics, business and culture.

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