Oprah seemed genuinely shocked by the revelation: Meghan offering a secondhand account of conversations Harry had had with his family on the subject of their then-unborn first child’s skin tone.
During the two-hour prime-time interview with Oprah that aired on Sunday on CBS, Meghan referred to them as “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be.”
Harry had been party to “several conversations” with “family” on the topic, said Meghan.
“About how dark your baby is going to be?” asked Oprah.
“Potentially,” said Meghan, “and what that would mean or look like.”
She declined to name anyone on the other side of the conversation: “I think that would be very damaging to them.”
“They were concerned that if he were too brown, that that would be a problem?” Oprah asked.
“I wasn’t able to follow up with why,” said Meghan “but that — if that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one.”
Shortly after Harry’s entry into the televised conversation, Oprah asked him about what had been said.
“That conversation I’m never going to share,” Harry said. “At the time, it was awkward. I was a bit shocked.”
“Can you tell us what the question was?” Oprah asked.
“No,” said Harry. “I’m not comfortable with sharing that.”
He went on to say that the subject of future children’s appearance was raised even before their wedding.
“There were some real obvious signs before we even got married that this was going to be really hard.”
In 2018, Meghan’s and Harry’s royal wedding with all the trappings (plus some new ones, like a sermon from a Chicago-born Black bishop) was heralded by many as a sign the royal family was tip-toeing toward modernization.
Why, Oprah had asked Meghan, did the royal family express reluctance to eventually grant Archie, the grandson of the future sovereign, the title of “prince”?
“Do you think it’s because of his race?” Oprah asked.
Meghan’s answer left little doubt of her assessment.
Elsewhere in the interview, Harry identified missed “opportunities for my family to show some public support” of Meghan in the face of racist coverage. He mentioned an open letter, signed by 72 women in Britain’s Parliament, condemning the “outdated, colonial undertones” in newspaper coverage of Meghan.
“Yet no one from my family ever said anything over those three years,” he said. “And that — that hurts. But I also am acutely aware of where my family stand and how scared they are of the tabloids turning on them.”