Queen to quiz senior royals
The Queen will personally quiz senior royals amid Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's claims of racism in the royal family.
Her Majesty said in a statement she was "concerned" about what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had alleged in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The pair claimed that one royal questioned "how dark" baby Archie's skin would be. The Sun reports the Queen will have private conversations with Prince Charles, Prince William, Camilla, Kate Middleton and others "to establish what may have been said.
The 94-year-old monarch also said she did not know the full extent of the couple's pain, which included revelations that Meghan endured suicidal thoughts while she was pregnant.
In a carefully worded statement a day after the interview first aired in Britain, the Queen attempted to calm the racism storm engulfing the Firm.
"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," a statement issued by Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen said.
"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately."
The statement also made an attempt to keep the door open for Prince Harry, 36, Meghan, 39, Archie, 1, and the couple's expected baby girl due in the American summer.
"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members," the Queen added.
Buckingham Palace had a statement ready to be released shortly after the program aired in the UK on Monday night, but the Queen held it back while she considered her response.
Prince Harry's anger at the "how dark" remark, which he indicated was said when Meghan was pregnant with Archie, was still palpable in the interview.
The comment was made to him and then he relayed it to Meghan, who let it slip in her chat with her Californian neighbour and master interviewer Oprah Winfrey.
It underscored the couple's continuing claims that Meghan was subjected to racist attacks by the British Press.
Prince Harry did not reveal who made the comment, but clarified that it was not the Queen, nor Prince Philip, 99, who has previously made questionable comments.
In 1986, he told a group of British students during a visit to China that "If you stay here much longer you'll all be slitty-eyed."
CHARLES DODGES QUESTIONS
Prince Charles, 72, was out in north London at a vaccination centre, which was set up in a church popular with the area's black community, on Tuesday local time.
A reporter asked: "Sir, what did you think of the interview?"
Clearly taken aback, Prince Charles turned to look at the reporter as he left the building and said "oh" and gave a nervous chuckle and carried on walking.
Prince Charles gave a speech praising the role black majority churches played in their local communities.
"As I've seen today, you've opened your church to the vaccine program to the whole community and you've been collecting and distributing food to those who need it most, as I've also seen," he said.
"If ever we needed an example of how to be a good Samaritan, we need look no further.
"We are all immensely proud of the role black majority churches have been playing and it is a source of profound sorrow to know that black communities have been hit particularly hard by this pernicious virus."
As he chatted to healthcare worker Caroline Olodimeji, 67, he asked where she came from and was originally from Nigeria but had lived in the UK a long time.
The prince said "oh fantastic", adding that he had been to Nigeria, and spoke about how many "different ethnic groups" there were in the country.
The Royal Family had been sweating on what to say in the statement for fear of further angering Prince Harry and Meghan.
"A denial could lead the Sussexes breaking their vow and naming the member of the royal family who discussed their son's skin colour. There is a lack of trust," an insider told The London Evening Standard.
Meghan's dad says royal family is not racist
Meghan Markle's dad has begged her to forgive him, saying he has apologised "100 times" but claimed that the royal family was not racist.
Thomas Markle, 76, appeared on British television on Tuesday night where he made an impassioned plea for a reconciliation with his daughter, and asked to see his grandson Archie.
The last time he spoke to his daughter was via a text message when he was in hospital getting two stents put in for a heart condition that hospitalised him just before the couple's 2018 nuptials.
"I'm very disappointed about it, I've apologised about this thing that happened at least 100 times or so," he told Good Morning Britain.
"Bottom line is I've never heard back from Meghan or Harry in any shape or form.
"Basically what I do is if I haven't heard from them I do a story with the press. I'd love to talk to them."
Mr Markle, dressed in a dark blue jacket and open necked light blue shirt, spoke slowly during the interview and at times appeared confused.
He said that Meghan and Harry now only lived 110 kilometres away from him in Montecito, California.
But his home in Rosarito, Mexico, is 400km from Prince Harry and Meghan's new home.
Prince Harry and Meghan claimed that a senior member of the Royal Family asked "how dark" baby Archie's skin would be when he was born.
There was now a hunt for the "racist" royal, with the Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, cleared of making the statement.
"I have great respect for the royals, I don't think the British royal family is racist," Mr Markle said.
"I think Los Angeles is racist, California is racist.
"The thing about what colour will the baby be I'm guessing or hoping its just a dumb question from somebody.
"It could be just that simple someone asked a stupid question rather than being racist."
Meghan said her father had betrayed her by speaking to the press, but he said he did the photographs with a paparazzi to improve his image.
"They were making me an alcoholic, they were calling me names," he said.
"So yes I went for this deal where this man said he would make me look better. Maybe I got sucked in."
He said he tried to apologise to Prince Harry, but hung on him after the royal said that he should have heeded his warnings about the media.
And Mr Markle also revealed he had criticised Prince Harry at the time of the photographs release, referring to his infamous night of strip poker in Las Vegas and when he was caught dressing up in a Nazi uniform for a fancy dress party in his youth.
"I wish I hadn't done the whole thing but here's the other side of this coin, no one took any time to protect any member of our family," Mr Markle said.
"We were attacked by the press every day. Nobody was there to care for us.
"No-one helped us and then I saw a headline that said they recommended to Harry and Meghan that someone come and help me.
"I was left out to dry. In spite of all that I still apologised, I'm apologising today again.
"I also said we all make mistakes but I've never played naked pool and I've never dressed up like Hitler.
"I'm sure that made Meghan very angry with me but that's how I felt at the time."
Mr Markle also said that he released a letter Meghan had sent to him to the Daily Mail because he was criticised by her friends in an article for People magazine.
"I'm one who released a part of the letter that was because a magazine was doing a story about me, Meghan's friends were telling a story about me that were mostly lies," he said.
"After reading these lies I said I had to retaliate.
"I didn't release the whole letter. Had I done that you would have seen something that was horrible.
"I had held that letter for six months and I was going to destroy it, it was that bad."
The Queen has demanded more time to consider how to respond to the fallout from Prince Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey, which included claims of racism at the top of the Royal Family.
Royal aides had prepared a statement in anticipation of criticism from Prince Harry and Meghan in the hope they could turn down the heat in the bitter debate.
But the Queen refused to authorise its release, as crisis talks continued.
The Duke and Duchess' interview has plunged the royal family into the most complicated crisis since Princess Diana's divorce and her tragic death in 1997.
Prince Andrew's car crash interview in 2019 about his links with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein was solved quickly by forcing him to resign from royal duties.
But Prince Harry and Meghan's interview, including claims that a senior royal asked "how dark" baby Archie's skin would be, has hit at the very heart of the establishment.
The Queen, 94, and Prince Philip, 99, who remains in hospital, have been ruled out as the "racist" royals, casting a cloud over Prince Charles, 72, and Prince William, 38.
More than 17 million people watched the interview in the United States, including President Joe Biden, who praised Meghan's "courage".
However, a YouGov poll of more than 2000 people after the interview aired in the US, found that 33 per cent of Brits had no sympathy for Prince Harry and Meghan.
Only 12 per cent had "a lot" of sympathy for the couple.
And 47 per cent of Brits thought the interview was inappropriate.
The two-hour interview also revealed claims Meghan was denied mental health treatment when she was having "methodical" suicidal thoughts and that Prince Charles stopped taking Prince Harry's calls.
Some parts of the interview have been contested, with the couple's revelation they had a private wedding three days before their Windsor Castle extravaganza being challenged.
The couple invited the Archbishop of Canterbury for a private service in their garden, however such a union would have been invalid because it was not performed in a church or in front of witnesses.
And Buckingham Palace's "refusal" to call Archie a prince was following rules set out by King George V in 1917.
Archie would be entitled to be called Prince when Charles ascended the throne, as the title was reserved for grandchildren of the monarch, rather than great-grandchildren.
Children in a direct line to the throne, such as Prince William's children George, Charlotte and Louis, were an exception and given a prince or princess title.
Prince Harry also claimed that the Queen had agreed to meet with him at her Sandringham estate at the height of the Megxit drama in January 2020 when he and Meghan had returned from Canada.
But the Queen was then overruled.
"The moment we landed in the UK, I got a message from my private secretary, cutting and pasting a message from the Queen's private secretary basically saying, please pass along to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that he cannot come to Norfolk. The Queen is busy. She's busy all week," Prince Harry said.
Buckingham Palace rarely comments on individual stories, taking a never complain, never explain stance, hoping that they will eventually fade from the news cycle.
Prince Harry was still expected to return to the UK for the unveiling of a statue in honour of his mother Princess Diana on July 1 despite the interview.
Meanwhile, Prince Harry and Meghan's friend posted a new photograph of them on Instagram, showing the duke and the pregnant duchess holding baby Archie, whose face was obscured.
The image posted by Misan Harriman said it was "wonderful news to celebrate on International Women's Day" that Meghan was pregnant with a girl.
Originally published as Meghan's dad says royal family is not racist