(AP) — Prince William insisted Thursday that his family is not racist as he became the first member of Britain’s royal family to speak out about accusations of bigotry made by Prince Harry and Meghan, his brother and sister-in-law.
William made the comments in response to questions shouted at him by reporters during a visit to an East London school.
While members of the royal family often ignore such queries, William used the opportunity to address the explosive allegations that have rocked the monarchy.
“We’re very much not a racist family,” William said as his wife, Kate, walked by his side.
Buckingham Palace is struggling to quiet criticism after Harry and Meghan alleged that the duchess was the victim of racism and callous treatment during her time as a working member of the royal family.
The palace tried to respond to the charges, made during an interview with US TV host Oprah Winfrey, with a 61-word statement that critics called “too little, too late.”
William, second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, said Thursday he hadn’t yet spoken to Harry since the interview, “but I will do.”
Harry and Meghan walked away from royal duties last year and moved to California, saying they wanted to escape the intrusive British media and live a normal life.
Meghan, who is biracial, said in the interview that she was so isolated and miserable as a working member of the royal family that she had suicidal thoughts.
She also said Harry told her that a member of the royal family had expressed “concerns” about the colour of her baby’s skin before the birth of their son, Archie.
William and Kate toured School 21 in Stratford, east London as children returned to classes.
The visit was also meant to mark the rollout to secondary schools of a mental health project Kate launched in primary schools in 2018.