Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey was certainly unprecedented- but so was Prince William’s recent response. In the interview, Markle, 39, and Harry, 36, made allegations of racism against the royal family and the institution at large, notably claiming there were “conversations and concerns” regarding the skin color of their then-unborn child.
Harry later clarified that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were not the ones to make such comments, leaving many to wonder whether it was heirs-to-the-throne Prince Charles or William to have raised such “concerns.” Shortly after the interview aired, Buckingham Palace issued a statement, calling such allegations “concerning,” but then William, 38, followed up with a personal response. On Thursday, the royal was confronted by reporters during a visit to an East London school where he assured that the royal family is “very much not a racist family” and noted that he had not yet spoken after the interview with Harry but planned to do so.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl took special note of the prince’s response, saying that it was out of the ordinary for William to have answered the question in such a casual manner because U.K. reporters don’t often shout out questions to the royals during such engagements.
“It was very unusual for Prince William to answer. I mean, Prince Charles was on an engagement earlier this week, and a member of the press called out …[and] Prince Charles didn’t comment — [but] William did,” “He answered not once, but twice. I think that’s very telling of his mood at the moment. “Furthermore, she added that William is known for being “a consummate professional when it comes to being on engagements.”
“He’s done this for a very long time and I think he was probably very prepared for a question to be asked,” Nicholl said. “His answer was pretty to the point, it was pretty swift, it was very much off-the-cuff.”
Royals like William often do not give unrehearsed comments and responses.
“The fact that he answered two questions was really very, very unusual. I think highly significant,” the expert explained, noting that sources close to the Prince have told her that he is “beyond livid over [Meghan and Harry’s] interview.”
Nicholl added: “I think he wanted the chance to say something.”
William felt “that he has to defend his family,” said the expert.
During the interview, Harry noted there was “space” between himself and William and hinted at rifts with the family overall. He added that he hopes to mend his broken relationships over time. “I think everyone hopes that the brothers will be able to heal this rift, clearly it does run deep. I think it speaks volumes that William hasn’t yet picked up the phone to call his brother. I think that he’s clearly needed some cooling off time,” said Nicholl. “… I think the feeling though is that time is a healer. That’s something that Harry himself said.”
It’s likely that the brothers will come together July 1 for the unveiling of a statue of their late mother, Princess Diana, at the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.
“[Diana] said she always wanted her boys to be close, and I think people saw an unbreakable bond between those boys,” the expert said. “Things have come to blows, the relationship is clearly under a lot of strain, but hopefully behind closed doors that can begin to heal.”