Meghan Markle praises Black Lives Matter protests as ‘a beautiful thing’ but admits they have been ‘inflammatory’ as she and Harry blast UK ‘structural racism’
- Duke and Duchess gave an interview on race at start of Black History Month
- Meghan praised the BLM movement saying equality is at its foundation
- Harry said views ‘may seem controversial’ as they spoke from £11m US mansion
- Last week they were criticised for controversially weighing in on US election
Meghan Markle today praised the Black Lives Matter protests in America as a ‘beautiful thing’ during a video interview about racism in the UK.
Speaking with Prince Harry, the couple discussed structural racism at the start of Black History Month, admitting the sometimes violent demonstrations have been ‘inflammatory’.
But Meghan said it was a good thing that the protests were making people feel ‘uncomfortable’.
Speaking in a Zoom interview with the Evening Standard from their new £11million home in Santa Barbara, California, the pair demanded an end to structural racism.
They discussed the global protests this year which were sparked by the death of George Floyd by police.
Asked on her thoughts of the BLM movement, Meghan said: ‘The impetus is from a place of recognizing equality and if you just go back to its ground level, I don’t think there’s anything controversial about it.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex called for an end to structural racism in Britain in an interview today with the Evening Standard
‘What has been inflammatory for a lot of people is when any version of the community becomes disruptive.
‘But when it’s just peaceful protest and when there’s the intention of just wanting unity and wanting recognition of equality, then that’s a beautiful thing.
‘While it has been challenging for a lot of people certainly having to make this reckoning of historical significance that has got people to the place that they are, that is uncomfortable for people and we recognize that. It’s uncomfortable for us.’
She added: ‘If we just focus on the uplift and the positivity while still acknowledging the past, that’s how we reshape things and that shouldn’t be inflammatory at all, that should be really exciting.’
Elsewhere in the discussion, Harry revealed his ‘awakening’ at issues faced by black people after meeting his wife.
The couple have been repeatedly criticized for breaking royal protocol by intervening in politics, with the issue coming to a head last week when Harry weighed in on the US election by urging voters to ‘reject hate speech’.
The comments were widely interpreted as a call to vote out Donald Trump, and prompted Buckingham Palace to immediately distance themselves from Harry by noting he was ‘not working member of the Royal Family’.
Speaking in a Zoom interview with the Evening Standard from their new £11million home in Santa Barbara, California, the couple said they were ‘doing well’ after leaving the UK
Harry, 36, said he had become more aware of the issue of racism after marrying his wife, 39.
He said: ‘Because I wasn’t aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the UK and also globally as well. I thought I did but I didn’t.’
He added: ‘You know, when you go in to a shop with your children and you only see white dolls, do you even think: ‘That’s weird, there is not a black doll there?’.’
Last week, the Duke and Duchess were accused of ‘over-stepping the line’ after a thinly-veiled swipe at Donald Trump as they urged Americans to get out and vote in the upcoming election.
In the couple’s most high-profile intervention in the US presidential election, Harry urged voters to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’ – all qualities critics associate with Mr Trump.
The couple have been repeatedly criticised for breaking royal protocol by intervening in politics
In a TV appearance to mark Time magazine’s 100 most influential people roll call, Meghan – who has made no secret of her antipathy towards the president – described November’s vote as the most important election of her lifetime.
Meanwhile, Harry complained that he had never been able to exercise his democratic right to vote because of the convention that, as a member of the British Royal Family, he should remain politically neutral.
Royal insiders voiced concern in Britain where the Queen and her family are expected to remain politically neutral at all times, with one saying that Harry and Meghan had ‘crossed a line’.
Buckingham Palace also distanced itself from Harry’s remarks by saying that ‘the Duke is not a working member of the royal family’ and describing his comments as ‘made in a personal capacity’.
In the US, Trump aide Corey Lewandowski swiped at the couple before the president himself fired back at Meghan on Wednesday evening.
‘They made Britain great again by leaving, I hope they do the same for us,’ Lewandowski, now a senior 2020 advisor to the Trump campaign, told DailyMail.com Wednesday.
How British royals are expected to keep out of politics
Under Britain’s constitutional monarchy, powers which theoretically belong to the Queen – such as appointing ministers and approving legislation – are exercised in her name by political leaders.
This system means that political decisions are taken by the elected government rather than unelected royals, while keeping the monarchy as a symbol of the British state and its traditions.
The royals’ political neutrality, which the Queen has scrupulously observed for 68 years, is key to maintaining this balance and to preserving the monarchy’s popularity.
A YouGov poll earlier this year found majority support among both Conservative and Labour voters as well as Brexiteers and Europhiles for maintaining the British monarchy.
The Queen’s uncle King Edward VIII had to abdicate in 1936 because the government refused to support his planned marriage to American divorcee Wallis Simpson – fatally compromising his neutrality.
While there is no law explicitly preventing the royal family from voting in UK elections, doing so would be an unacceptable breach of protocol.
The Queen holds weekly conversations with her prime ministers and she is entitled to ‘advise and warn’ them when necessary, but the nature of her advice is never made public.
Even her guarded comment that voters should ‘think very carefully about the future’ ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum was seen as an unusual intervention.
Prince Charles is known for writing lengthy letters to ministers on policy subjects such as agriculture, some of which were made public in 2015.
William and Kate have also spoken out on the environment, launching a prize to tackle climate issues last year.
Princess Diana – who like Harry and Meghan became semi-detached from the monarchy – was known for her campaigning on land mines, once allegedly describing the UK government’s policy as ‘hopeless’.
Her involvement sparked criticism from some Conservative MPs, but the Labour government that took office shortly before her death was more favourable to her campaign.
Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller argued that Harry’s warning about ‘hate speech’ could be seen as an attack on Biden, who leads in the polls.
‘I’m assuming you’re asking me because of Joe Biden’s record of hateful and divisive language, particularly toward the African American community?’ he responded when asked by DailyMail.com for comment.
He added: ‘I read this as warranted criticism of Joe Biden’s racist policies. He’s the only person I know of who has spoken at a Klan member’s funeral!’ – a reference to Biden’s eulogy for former the late Senate leader Robert C. Byrd, who was a Klan member in West Virginia in the 1940s but later apologized for what he called a ‘sad mistake.’
Harry and Meghan made their comments in a Time 100 video to go with the publication of this year’s list of the most influential people, which does not include the royal couple.
‘As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity,’ said Harry – in a line some observers in Britain and the U.S. immediately took to be a plug for Joe Biden and a slap at President Trump.
Said the California-born Markle, 39: ‘We’re six weeks out from the election, and today is Voter Registration Day.
‘Every four years, we’re told the same thing, ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime. But this one is. When we vote, our values are put into action, and our voices are heard.’
While many viewers saw Harry and Meghan’s comments as a thinly-veiled endorsement of Biden, a source close to Harry insisted the Duke was not referring to Trump or any other individual.
‘The duke was talking about the tone of debate in the run-up to an election which is already quite febrile,’ they said.
‘He is not talking about any candidate or specific campaign. He is building on a lot of stuff that he’s said before about online communities, how we engage with each other online, rather than specifically making any political points.’
Markle told Marie Claire in August that she intended to vote. ‘I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,’ she said.
‘I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.’
Before marrying Harry but after Trump’s election, Markle called Trump ‘misogynistic’ and ‘divisive’ in a TV appearance.
Speaking in the video message, apparently filmed from their California home, Harry admitted he was not eligible to vote – adding that he had never voted in the UK either where convention dictates that royals keep well clear of politics.
Royal experts told DailyMail.com that the couple should give up their titles and sever their links to the monarchy for good if they wanted to comment on US politics, while insiders told The Times that palace aides would be concerned about their intervention.
Meghan and Prince Harry’s new home sits on 5.4 acres of land and immaculately clipped hedges border the estate’s stone-pillared entry gates (pictured)
‘They made Britain great again by leaving, I hope they do the same for us,’ Corey Lewandowski, now a senior 2020 advisor to the Trump campaign, told DailyMail.com
While Meghan has encouraged people to vote before, the video released on Tuesday was the first time that Harry has commented publicly on the election.
‘The political arena is very sensitive for all members of the royal family. You cannot have an apolitical institution, which is what a hereditary monarchy is, and have members of the royal family making even slightly political comments,’ a source said.
‘Courtiers would be extremely concerned that if they are going to continue to comment on what could be the most contentious US presidential election in living memory, how difficult could that get?’.
Another source in palace circles said the couple had ‘crossed a line’ with their intervention on Tuesday.
Harry and Meghan DENY claims they will star in fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality show after signing £112m deal
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex this week denied claims they had agreed to star in a fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality series with cameras following them for three months.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were said to have been hoping to ‘give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do’, according to a source.
But a spokesman for the royal couple insisted today: ‘The Duke and Duchess are not taking part in any reality shows.’
It comes after Harry and Meghan signed a £112million Netflix deal to make TV series, films and children’s shows for the streaming service.
Reports had suggested Harry and Meghan would be followed for three months amid the possibility of cameras being allowed into their home in Montecito, California.
But the couple moved to deny the claims in a statement issued this afternoon.
A source had told The Sun: ‘They may have had all these lofty ideas about producing epics highlighting environmental causes and the poverty gap, but Netflix obviously want their pound of flesh.
‘It will all be very tasteful, and not Katie Price and Peter Andre-style reality TV, but they want to give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do.’
According to the source, much of the series was to be about their philanthropic work rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.
Royal aides pointed to the couple’s commitment in January to ‘continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty’ after abandoning frontline royal duties.
Robert Oulds and Niall McCrae, of the Eurosceptic Bruges Group think tank, told the Express that the video was ‘naked campaigning’ for the Democratic nominee.
‘These woke warriors have breached protocol by interfering in an election,’ they said.
‘The House of Windsor should act swiftly, stripping Harry and Meghan of their royal titles.’
DailyMail.com editor-at-large Piers Morgan said: ‘Prince Harry poking his woke nose into the US election and effectively telling Americans to vote against President Trump is completely unacceptable behaviour for a member of the Royal Family.’
Former Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, the author of the book And What Do You Do? What The Royal Family Don’t Want You To Know, said Harry should not speak out about US politics while he is still a ‘representative’ of the UK.
‘I think it’s appropriate for any private citizen to comment on the US election. The problem is that Harry has retained his HRH status and is not a private citizen but still a representative of this country,’ Mr Baker said.
‘He needs to stop trying to have a foot in both camps – royal when it suits him and private when it doesn’t.
‘Or to turn on its head the old phrase, I agree with what he says but disagree with his right to say it.’
Royal biographer Robert Jobson told DailyMail.com that it ‘may be easier’ for Meghan and Harry to give up their royal titles altogether given the ‘business and political agenda they appear to want to pursue’.
Mr Jobson, whose latest book is called The Royal Family Operations Manual, said the couple were now ‘completely detached’ from the British monarchy and would be best off abandoning their titles altogether.
‘Frankly, I think it would be better for Harry to withdraw, along with his son, from the line of succession to avoid further confusion,’ he said.
‘By saying they are HRHs and the Duke and Duchess, but not allowed to use the titles, just confuses the situation.’
Harry also referenced the fact that, because he is not a U.S. citizen, he will not be able to vote in November.
He added that he had never been able to vote in the UK, despite being theoretically eligible in the last five general elections since he turned 18.
Although British law does not explicitly forbid members of the royal family from voting, the expectation that royals remain apolitical is considered sacrosanct, and in practice they never participate in elections, by voting or otherwise.
But since announcing plans to step down as senior royals in January and moving to North America, Meghan and Harry have quietly expanded their involvement in politics as they forge their own path.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have spoken out about the upcoming U.S. election, in a stark break with British tradition that prohibits royal involvement in politics
For his part, Harry said: ‘As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’
Markle has made her position on the 2020 election clear in a number of appearances in recent weeks, expressing enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket
Harry also appeared to open the door to taking up US citizenship in the future by saying that he was not eligible to vote at ‘this’ election.
His remark leaves open the possibility that he could seek to vote in a future election in the US, which would likely require him to obtain a ‘green card’ and stay in America for at least three years.
A source close to Harry declined to comment on whether his words suggested he would be applying for dual citizenship.
‘They are not working royals. They are private citizens and it’s understandable they want to keep those matters private,’ the source said.
Meghan’s involvement in the video follows a separate intervention last month in which she urged women to turn out at the election.
The Duchess addressed viewers at the When All Women Vote Couch Party – an online event organized by non-profit organization When We All Vote, which was founded by Michelle Obama.
Speaking directly to the volunteers and workers tuned into the summit, Meghan continued: ‘It is fair to say that we are all very grateful for your work because we need it now really more than ever.
‘When I think about voting and why this is so exceptionally important for all of us, I would frame it as: We vote to honor those who came before us and to protect those who will come after us because that’s what community is all about and that’s specifically what this election is all about,’ she said.
This week, feminist activist Gloria Steinem revealed that Markle had joined her in cold-calling Americans and urging them to vote.
Steinem told Access Hollywood: ‘She came home to vote. The first thing we did, and why she came to see me, was we sat at the dining room table where I am right now and we cold-called voters.’
‘Said ‘hello I’m Meg’ and ‘hello I’m Gloria’ and ‘are you going to vote?’ That was her initiative.’
Meghan has also told Steinem she was ‘so excited’ to see fellow mixed-race woman Kamala Harris nominated for vice president, in another strong hint that she is backing the Democratic ticket.
Last month, Markle (left) joined Gloria Steinem for a ‘backyard chat’ in which she made it incredibly clear who she plans to vote for come November
Will Prince Harry take US citizenship? He says he won’t vote in ‘this’ election
Prince Harry appeared to leave the door open to taking up US citizenship in the future by saying that he would not vote in ‘this’ presidential election.
‘This election, I’m not going to be able to vote here in the US,’ the Duke of Sussex said, adding that he had never voted in the UK either.
Harry’s remark left the possibility open that he might seek to vote in a US election in the future, where royal partisanship would not cause a constitutional crisis as it would in the UK.
Meghan and the couple’s one-year-old son Archie are both US citizens, but Harry has not announced any plans to take up dual nationality.
A source told the Sunday Times earlier this year that Harry had not applied for dual citizenship and was not expected to request a green card in the US.
Green cards offer a route to citizenship because the spouse of a US national can apply for naturalisation after being a permanent resident for three years.
Harry’s current immigration status is unclear but a range of visas are available to UK nationals.
Before marrying Prince Harry in 2018, Markle was no stranger to politics, ridiculing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during a 2016 appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.
She said Trump was ‘misogynistic and divisive’ and indicated her support for Hillary Clinton.
Harry is a friend of former president Barack Obama, interviewing him on a guest-edited episode of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme in 2017.
‘Part of my role and part of my job is to shine a spotlight on issues that need that spotlight, whether it’s people, whether it’s causes, issues, whatever it is,’ Harry said at the time.
‘So I will continue to play my part in society and do my job to the best of my abilities so that I can wake up in the morning and feel energised.’
Despite the Obama friendship, the couple avoided a constitutional row by inviting neither the Obamas nor the Trumps to their 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle.
Earlier this year, two Russian pranksters said they had duped the Duke of Sussex into criticising Trump in a phone call where they posed as climate activist Greta Thunberg.
‘I don’t mind saying this to you guys, I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands,’ Harry allegedly said.
Buckingham Palace did not confirm or deny the authenticity of the call.
Over the past few weeks, Meghan has taken part in multiple interviews and summits – having reportedly grown ‘frustrated’ at her inability to get involved in politics while she was working as a senior royal.
Last month, she joined Gloria for a ‘backyard chat’ in which she made it incredibly clear who she plans to vote for come November, expressing her excitement at seeing a woman of color on the Democratic ticket – Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris – and explaining that the nomination was particularly meaningful to her because she is biracial.
Over the past few months, Markle has moved to become more politically active and taken part in multiple interviews and summits – having reportedly grown ‘frustrated’ at her inability to get involved in politics while she was working as a senior royal
‘I’m so excited to see that kind of representation,’ she said. ‘You know, for me, being biracial, growing up, whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity.
‘As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see. And in the absence of that, how can you aspire to something greater than what you see in your own world? I think maybe now we’re starting to break-through in a different way.’
Meanwhile, she has also taken in voter appeals, at which she made a bold plea to women across the US to take part in the 2020 presidential election, speaking out about the need for ‘change’ at an online voter summit, while telling participants: ‘If we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem.’
Meghan made her stance on the 2020 presidential race clear when she addressed viewers at the When All Women Vote Couch Party – an online event organized by non-profit organization When We All Vote, which was founded by ‘her friend’ Michelle Obama.
Appearing as the opening speaker at the summit, Meghan expressed her ‘excitement’ at taking part, before telling those involved with the organization: ‘We need [your work] now more than ever.’
‘I’m really thrilled that you asked me to be a part of this,’ the mother-of-one began, adding: ‘I think this is such an exceptional time [and I am] happy to be here for my friend Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote, and to kick off the When All Women Vote Couch Party.’