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Harry and Meghan interview: Queen and Prince Philip 'not part' of Archie skin colour conversation

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By Euronews with AP
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This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey.
This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey.   -   Copyright  Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP
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Neither Queen Elizabeth II nor Prince Philip were part of conversations about the skin tone of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son ahead of his birth, Oprah Winfrey said on Monday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said on Sunday that members of the British royal family expressed concerns over Archie's skin colour ahead of his birth in an explosive interview with the US TV presenter.

Prince Harry also described being "trapped" in the royal lifestyle while his wife, Meghan Markle, said the isolation was such she contemplated suicide.

The two-hour special hosted by Oprah Winfrey aired on Sunday on the American network CBS. British audiences be able to see the full interview until Monday night when it airs on ITV.

It is the first time the couple openly discussed their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.

In the week leading up to the highly-anticipated interview, the Royal family said it has launched an investigation into bullying claims against the Duchess.

Queen and Prince Philip 'not part' of race conversations

Appearing on “CBS This Morning” on Monday, Winfrey said Harry told her neither the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh were part of conversations about Archie’s skin tone.

“He did not share the identity with me, but he wanted to make sure I knew and if I had the opportunity to share it that it was not his grandmother nor his grandfather that were a part of those conversations,” Winfrey said.

Meghan, who is biracial, said in the interview with Winfrey aired on Sunday that when she was first pregnant with son Archie, there were "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born."

Meghan said she struggled to understand why there were concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour. She said it was hard for her to "compartmentalize" those conversations.

'I just didn't want to be alive anymore'

During the programme, the couple discussed their courtship and Meghan said she was naive about what marrying into Britain's royal family entailed.

"I didn’t fully understand what the job was," she said. She also noted that she did not know how to curtsy before meeting Queen Elizabeth II for the first time, and didn't realize it would be necessary.

"I will say I went into it naively because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the royal family," she added.

Winfrey at various points in the interview ran through headlines about Meghan and asked about the mental health impact— the couple had previously said they left the royal household over what hey described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is biracial.

Meghan responded that she experienced suicidal thoughts and had sought help through the palace’s human resources department, but was told there was nothing they could do.

"I was really ashamed to say it at the time and a shame to have to admit it to Harry, especially because I know how much loss he suffered," she said. "But I knew that if I didn’t say it that I would do it. And I just didn’t, I just didn’t want to be alive anymore."

'He needs to be safe'

Meghan added that said she grew concerned about her son not having a royal title because it meant he wouldn’t be provided security.

Meghan said processing everything during her pregnancy was “very hard.” More than the “prince” title, she felt the most troubled over her son’s safety and protection.

"He needs to be safe," a teary-eyed Meghan recalled. "We’re not saying don’t make him a prince or princess, whatever it’s going to be. But if you’re saying the title is going to affect their protection, we haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of click bait and tabloid fodder. You’ve allowed that to happen, which means our son needs to be safe."

'I feel really let down'

Harry, too, said there are lasting impacts about Meghan’s treatment and his relationship with his family.

“There is a lot to work through there,” Harry said about his relationship with his father. “I feel really let down. He’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like. And Archie is his grandson. I will always love him, but there is a lot of hurt that has happened.”

Harry said the royal family cut him off financially at the start of 2020 after announcing plans to step back from his roles. But he was able to afford security for his family because of the money his mother, Princess Diana, left behind.

In response to a question from Winfrey, Harry said he wouldn’t have left royal life if not for his wife. He said their relationship revealed the strictures of royal life.

“I wouldn’t have been able to, because I myself was trapped,” Harry said. “I didn’t see a way out.

“I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped,” Harry said, before adding, “My father and my brother, they are trapped.”

Harry acknowledged that he does not have a close relationship presently with his brother William, who is heir to the throne after their father, Prince Charles.

Harry disputed rumours that he intentionally blindsided his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, with his decision to split, saying: "I have too much respect for her." He suspects the rumours came from the institution.

Meghan, too, was complimentary toward the queen, despite saying at one point she realized some in the palace were willing to lie to “protect other members of the family.”

“The queen has always been wonderful to me,” Meghan said.

In a rare positive moment in the interview, Harry and Meghan revealed their second child would be a girl.

'Bullying'

It is unclear what public reaction, if any, the queen and other royal family members will have to the bombshell interview.

The UK's Sunday Times newspaper, citing an anonymous source, reported that the queen would not watch it.

On Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation after a London newspaper reported that a former aide had accused Meghan of bullying staff in 2018.

A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by the latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself.”

Harry and Meghan's departure from royal life was supposed to be reviewed after a year.

On February 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple would not return to royal duties and Harry would relinquish his honorary military titles.

'Deeply angry and bitter'

Royal commentator, Richard Fitzwilliams, told Euronews the interview has been very damaging to the royal household.

"There is no question that they are deeply, deeply angry and bitter. And there's also no doubt that what they have revealed or some of what has been said will be tremendously damaging. I mean, a response from Buckingham Palace after an interview of this sort will normally not be considered. But I must say that I would certainly anticipate something.

"The allegations, for example, of racism about a member of the royal family apparently making comments about the possible skin colour of Archie. The issue of mental health, the fact that Meghan claims that she found herself alone and certainly unsupported. The fact, which I find extraordinary, I have to say, just on the basic principle, that Archie would not get security. You can see after what happened to Diana, you can see Harry's concern about that," he said.

Watch his full interview in the above player.