Palace says at the 'heart of this is a family' following queen's statement on Meghan and Harry

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Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
  • Queen Elizabeth said in a statement that "the whole family is saddened" by the claims made against them in Meghan and Harry's explosive interview.
  • Sitting down with Oprah the couple spoke of racism and the family's failure to intervene when Meghan Markle was having suicidal thoughts.
  • A palace source has since stressed that "diversity, equality, inclusion and mental health are important issues" to the institution.

Queen Elizabeth has responded to explosive racism claims made by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle voicing deep concern and sympathising with their troubles with royal life.

Buckingham Palace has come under mounting pressure to respond to the claims made in the couple's Oprah Winfrey interview first broadcast on Sunday in the US and Monday in South Africa, which triggered a crisis unseen since the anguished days of Harry's late mother, Diana, in the 1990s.

It set off a whirl of speculation about the identity of the senior royal who asked how dark Archie's skin would be before he was born, while Meghan, whose mother is black and father is white, also spoke about how she had suicidal thoughts, but failed to receive any support from the royal family.

Prince Charles declined to comment on the interview, as he made his first public appearance since the row erupted, but Buckingham Palace released a statement on behalf of the queen late on Tuesday.

"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," she said in the statement.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved family members," she said.

A palace source has since spoken to People, saying at the "heart of this is a family".  "And they should be given the opportunity to discuss the issues raised privately, as a family."

They added: "It has been important for us to carefully consider any response before issuing. And of course releasing something today [Tuesday] meant viewers in the UK had the opportunity to watch the interview, if they wished to, first."

Following the shocking claims they stressed that "diversity, equality, inclusion and mental health are important issues, and highlighting them has formed part of the work of members of the royal family for many years."

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