Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have declared that Britain “must acknowledge” the Commonwealth’s “uncomfortable” past as they spoke out about equality.
Prince Harry and Meghan both took part in the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust video call, which was part of the network’s weekly sessions set up in response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement.
According to The Sun, Prince Harry appeared to take a swipe at the British Empire during the discussion about “justice and equal rights”. The prince said the Commonwealth needs to follow others who have “acknowledged the past” and are “trying to right their wrongs”, and also admitted to having his own “unconscious bias”.
“There is no turning back now,” Prince Harry said.
The 35-year-old royal said: “When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past.
“So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.
“It’s not going to be easy and in some cases it’s not going to be comfortable, but it needs to be done, because, guess what, everybody benefits.”
Prince Harry’s intervention was criticised by British conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, who reportedly told the Daily Mail that the comments were “disappointing” and would not “please” the Queen.
Speaking from LA where they are staying at Hollywood mogul Tyler Perry’s $A30 million mansion, Harry and Meghan urged people to get involved in uncomfortable discussions.
Standing next to her husband, Meghan added: “We’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships.
“Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing – which is a fundamental human right.”
The couple joined Chrisann Jarrett, co-founder of We Belong, which is led by young people who migrated to the UK, and Alicia Wallace, director of Equality Bahamas.
Also on the July 1 chat were Mike Omoniyi, founder of The Common Sense Network and Abdullahi Alim, who leads the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers.
Harry addressed the issue of unconscious bias, saying “We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been educated to see the world differently,” he said.
“However, once you start to realise that there is that bias there, then you need to acknowledge it, you need to do the work to become more aware … so that you can help stand up for something that is so wrong and should not be acceptable in our society today.”
After the Sussexes stepped down as a senior working royals, Harry had to leave his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
But he and Meghan retained their posts as president and vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Harry told those taking part: “This change is needed and it’s coming.”
He added: “The optimism and the hope that we get is from listening and speaking to people like you, because there is no turning back now, everything is coming to a head.
“Solutions exist and change is happening far quicker than it ever has done before.”