LONDON—Queen Elizabeth expressed concern on Tuesday over allegations of racism in the royal ranks raised by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this week, but said that the royal family would address them privately.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey broadcast on Sunday, the Duchess of Sussex spoke of feeling suicidal whilst working in the palace and said that a member of the royal family voiced concerns about how dark her unborn child’s skin would be.
On Tuesday, Buckingham Palace issued a short statement on behalf of the queen stating “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.” The statement added that the duke and duchess will always be “much loved family members.”
The statement appeared to exclude a full-blown probe into the allegations of racism in royal circles and instead aims to draw a line under a bubbling crisis that has swept the monarch since Sunday.
During the two-hour interview, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they had experienced racism before and during their 2018 marriage. Prince Harry said that discrimination in Britain was a “large part” of the couple’s decision to relocate from the U.K. to the U.S. last year.
The allegations of racism at the heart of the family is one of a number of issues pressuring the House of Windsor amid a transition toward a new generation. Queen Elizabeth, 94 years old, has reduced her public engagements and Prince Charles is laying the groundwork for a more streamlined monarchy.
The interview with Sussexes hasn’t meaningfully swung public opinion against the royals in the U.K. A poll conducted by YouGov after the interview showed that 36% of British adults said their sympathies mostly lie with the senior royal family members, while 22% back the Sussexes. (A third said they had sympathy with neither side.) But surveys also showed that the country is divided along age lines, with people under the age of 50 backing the Sussexes and those over that age siding with the Queen and senior members of the family.
Until Tuesday’s statement, Buckingham Palace and the British government had kept quiet on the issue. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to weigh in. Prince Charles on his first public outing since the interview visited a vaccination center to help encourage vaccine take-up among communities of color. When asked about his thoughts about the interview, he paused and then walked away.
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