In their interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan alleged that their son Archie’s race had been a concern in the royal institution, with conversations about “how dark” his skin would be.
During the interview, Harry also spoke about how Meghan’s biracial background made it a uniquely challenging situation. Everybody in the royal family lives under a certain amount of pressure — but it was “far more dangerous” for Meghan due to her race, he said.
The allegations sparked outrage almost immediately on social media among Americans, with countless posts expressing sympathy for the couple and criticism for the royal family’s response to the crisis.
“(Meghan) was suicidal and begged for help,” tweeted Meena Harris, author and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris. “Oprah bout to fight somebody her damn self.”
“Meghan is living the life Diana should have, if only those around her had been as brave as she was. Meghan isn’t living a life without pain, but a life without a prison,” tweeted Amanda Gorman, America’s youngest inaugural poet. “Meghan was the Crown’s greatest opportunity for change, regeneration, and reconciliation in a new era. They didn’t just maltreat her light–they missed out on it.”
Kizzmekia Corbett, a viral immunologist at the National Institutes of Health, tweeted that she wanted to give Meghan a hug. “My heart just breaks for her,” she wrote. “Protect. Black. Women.”
The revelations come half a year after last summer’s racial reckoning, sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests which turned the spotlight onto a variety of historical injustices.
In Britain, protests centered on symbols tied to the country’s colonial past, with demonstrators toppling a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in the city of Bristol. However, the royal family, which sits at the summit of the British class system, had largely escaped the type of scrutiny applied to other institutions.