The Duke of Cambridge has defended the monarchy against accusations of racism made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, saying “We’re very much not a racist family”.
William made the comment during his first public appearance since highly damaging claims of bigotry and a lack of support were levelled at the royal family by Harry and Meghan in their interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
He and the Duchess of Cambridge toured School21 in Stratford, east London, to mark the return of children to classes this week and the rollout to secondary schools of a mental health project Kate launched in primary schools in 2018.
As William left, a reporter asked him: “Is the royal family a racist family, sir?”
The duke, with the duchess by his side, replied: “We’re very much not a racist family.”
The reporter asked whether there has been any communication between the royal brothers, whose relationship is known to have been troubled in the past.
The Duchess of Cambridge talks to a child in the water area of the playground during a visit to School 21 in Stratford, east London (Justin Tallis/PA)
He asked William: “Sir, have you spoken to your brother since the interview?”, and the duke replied: “No, I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I will do.”
William’s comments are the first public statement by a member of the royal family about the allegations made by the Sussexes which have severely damaged the reputation of the monarchy.
Winfrey was left open-mouthed when Meghan and Harry recounted that a family member – not the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh – had raised concerns about how dark their unborn son Archie’s skin tone might be.
There has been much speculation about which member of the royal family they were accusing of racism.
But during the interview the couple would not be drawn on who had deeply offended them.