David Olusoga is absolutely right to call this the most serious crisis for the royal family since the death of Diana (Harry and Meghan interview: This is not just a crisis for the royal family – but for Britain itself, 9 March). In the aftermath of her death and the Queen’s perceived failure to acknowledge the public grief, a change towards a more compassionate and open monarchy appeared to take place. When Meghan came along later, there seemed to be a general feeling that the younger royals were heading in a new, fresher direction.
Sadly, the Oprah Winfrey interview makes it clear that the institution cannot, or will not, change. Serious mental illness cannot be addressed because “it wouldn’t look good”, and racism is alive and kicking in the heart of the constitutional establishment.
And then there is the deliberate perpetuation of falsehoods, ably abetted by the tabloid press (of whom, apparently, the royals are petrified) – the same press that fed lies about the EU, encouraged racism and stoked nationalism in its support for Brexit. Hardly surprising, therefore, that a snap poll on attitudes towards the interview reflects majority hostility towards the Sussexes. The substantive points are ignored, and instead Meghan and Harry have “shown disrespect” for the Queen. The firm’s response this time needs to be more than cosmetic.
Re the controversy over a member of the royal family asking how dark the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son would be (Palace under pressure to respond to Harry and Meghan racism claims, 8 March), as someone with combined Scottish and Ceylonese heritage, I am a mid-brown man. But as a family we range in colour from dark brown (my late father was a Tamil) to light tan (my 96-year-old half-Scottish mother). We are proud of our various colours.
It is normal for our family to chat about the diverse colours around us, especially with further interracial marriage in my generation and beyond. We are not racist. We are just fascinated by life in all its glory. Who knows the truth about the unnamed person’s comment? But can we fairly draw an adverse conclusion until we hear the other side of the story? My respect for the Queen herself is buttressed by the simple fact that my father, a dark-skinned army officer, was appointed her aide-de-camp in 1954, at a time when racial disharmony was rife.
David Olusoga writes: “In my mind, the wedding of Harry and Meghan … was a moment in which Britain projected to the world an image of itself as a confident, modern country.” Were we a modern country we wouldn’t have a royal family.
Otley, West Yorkshire
All bad behaviour to other people is driven by insecurity. There is no impetus to abuse other people because of their race, gender, class, place in a hierarchy etc if you feel secure in yourself. It’s the response to feeling under threat. This is not an excuse, merely an explanation. The tabloids are expert in tapping into these insecurities to sell papers.
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