United Kingdom

Meghan Markle praises Black Lives Matter protests as 'a beautiful thing'

Meghan Markle today praised the Black Lives Matter protests in America as a 'beautiful thing' during a video interview about racism in the UK.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex discussed structural racism to mark the start of Black History Month in the UK, while admitting the sometimes violent demonstrations this year have been 'inflammatory'.

But Meghan said it was a good thing that the movement was making people feel 'uncomfortable'.

During the unrest this summer there was rioting in Minnesota, widespread looting in New York City, hundreds of business owners lost their properties, and more recently there has been 100 days of violence in Portland.

Speaking in a Zoom interview with the Evening Standard from their new £11million home in Santa Barbara, California, they discussed the global protests this year which were sparked by the death of George Floyd. 

Asked on her thoughts of the BLM movement, Meghan said: 'The impetus is from a place of recognizing equality and if you just go back to its ground level, I don't think there's anything controversial about it.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex called for an end to structural racism in Britain in an interview today with the Evening Standard

On one night in New York City, 2,330 stores were burglarized. People are pictured inside a Dolce & Gabbana store in Soho, Manhattan

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, BLM protesters torched buildings amid the unrest in the wake of George Floyd's killing

At a glance: Harry and Meghan on racism and Black Lives Matter

Meghan

On BLM protests:

'... when there is just peaceful protest and when there is the intention of just wanting community and just wanting the recognition of equality, then that is a beautiful thing. While it has been challenging for a lot of people certainly having to make this reckoning of historical significance that has got people to the place that they are, that is uncomfortable for people. We recognise that. It is uncomfortable for us.'

On life in America:  

'We are doing well. [Archie] is so good. We are very lucky with our little one. He is just so busy, he is all over the place. He keeps us on our toes. We are just so lucky.

'Everyone has been accustomed to what it means to be distanced. The impact of that, whether it is across the Pond or across town, you are still for the most part through a computer screen. We have all had to adapt to how we can have the most impact as possible within the constraints of what has happening with Covid-19. Like all of you, we are doing the best that we can and hoping that our passion and our commitment is still felt as it certainly hasn't wavered.'  

Their joint plea to tackle structural racism:

'For as long as structural racism exists, there will be generations of young people of colour who do not start their lives with the same equality of opportunity as their white peers. And for as long as that continues, untapped potential will never get to be realised.' 

Harry - 

On racism: 

'Because I wasn't aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the UK and also globally as well. I thought I did but I didn't.'

'You know, when you go in to a shop with your children and you only see white dolls, do you even think: 'That's weird, there is not a black doll there?' And I use that as just one example of where we as white people don't always have the awareness of what it must be like for someone else of a different coloured skin, of a black skin, to be in the same situation as we are where the world that we know has been created by white people for white people.'

'It is not about pointing the finger, it is not about blame. I will be the first person to say, again, this is about learning. And about how we can make it better. I think it is a really exciting time in British culture and British history, and in world culture. This is a real moment that we should be grasping and actually celebrating. Because no one else has managed to do this before us.' 

On London: 

Harry said that even in London 'celebrated as one of the most diverse cities in the world, if you actually get out on to the streets and talk to people, it doesn't feel as diverse as it actually is.

'Therefore, now is the best time for us to be able to use our platform and you use your platform as well so we can actually start a conversation and introduce people to the black community that are making a massive difference within their own communities and across the UK as a whole as well.' 

On being away from the UK: 

'Everything has been through video, everything has been in a room, somewhere. Actually it doesn't matter where in the world we have been, we have stayed in touch with and supported the organisations as much as humanly possible.' 

'What has been inflammatory for a lot of people is when any version of the community becomes disruptive.

'But when it's just peaceful protest and when there's the intention of just wanting unity and wanting recognition of equality, then that's a beautiful thing.

'While it has been challenging for a lot of people certainly having to make this reckoning of historical significance that has got people to the place that they are, that is uncomfortable for people and we recognize that. It's uncomfortable for us.' 

She added: 'If we just focus on the uplift and the positivity while still acknowledging the past, that's how we reshape things and that shouldn't be inflammatory at all, that should be really exciting.'

In some cities in the US, protests have been going on for more than 100 days since George Floyd's killing shook the world.

On one night in New York City, 2,330 shops were looted, with storefront windows smashed and designer clothes stolen.

Cities have seen violent clashes between protesters and police, with many areas across the US imposing curfews in the summer to deter people from taking to the street. 

Elsewhere in the discussion, Harry revealed his 'awakening' at issues faced by black people after meeting his wife. 

They were speaking on the first day of Black History Month in the UK, which is celebrated in February in the US. 

The couple have been repeatedly criticized for breaking royal protocol by intervening in politics, with the issue coming to a head last week when Harry weighed in on the US election by urging voters to 'reject hate speech'.   

The comments were widely interpreted as a call to vote out Donald Trump, and prompted Buckingham Palace to immediately distance themselves from Harry by noting he was 'not a working member of the Royal Family'.  

In the latest interview, Harry, 36, said he had become more aware of the issue of racism after marrying his wife, 39. 

He said: 'Because I wasn't aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the UK and also globally as well. I thought I did but I didn't.'

He added: 'You know, when you go in to a shop with your children and you only see white dolls, do you even think: "That's weird, there is not a black doll there?".'

Last week, the Duke and Duchess were accused of 'over-stepping the line' after a thinly-veiled swipe at Donald Trump as they urged Americans to get out and vote in the upcoming election.

In the couple's most high-profile intervention in the US presidential election, Harry urged voters to 'reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity' – all qualities critics associate with Mr Trump.

In a TV appearance to mark Time magazine's 100 most influential people roll call, Meghan – who has made no secret of her antipathy towards the president – described November's vote as the most important election of her lifetime.

Meanwhile, Harry complained that he had never been able to exercise his democratic right to vote because of the convention that, as a member of the British Royal Family, he should remain politically neutral. 

Royal insiders voiced concern in Britain where the Queen and her family are expected to remain politically neutral at all times, with one saying that Harry and Meghan had 'crossed a line'. 

In the US, Trump aide Corey Lewandowski swiped at the couple before the president himself fired back at Meghan on Wednesday evening. 

'They made Britain great again by leaving, I hope they do the same for us,' Lewandowski, now a senior 2020 advisor to the Trump campaign, told DailyMail.com Wednesday 

Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller argued that Harry's warning about 'hate speech' could be seen as an attack on Biden, who leads in the polls.  

The couple have been repeatedly criticised for breaking royal protocol by intervening in politics

In Portland, Oregon, police run towards protesters right after one demonstrator launches a petrol bomb

'I'm assuming you're asking me because of Joe Biden's record of hateful and divisive language, particularly toward the African American community?' he responded when asked by DailyMail.com for comment. 

He added: 'I read this as warranted criticism of Joe Biden's racist policies. He's the only person I know of who has spoken at a Klan member's funeral!' – a reference to Biden's eulogy for former the late Senate leader Robert C. Byrd, who was a Klan member in West Virginia in the 1940s but later apologized for what he called a 'sad mistake.'  

'As we approach this November, it's vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity,' said Harry – in a line some observers in Britain and the U.S. immediately took to be a plug for Joe Biden and a slap at President Trump. 

Said the California-born Markle, 39: 'We're six weeks out from the election, and today is Voter Registration Day. 

'Every four years, we're told the same thing, 'This is the most important election of our lifetime. But this one is. When we vote, our values are put into action, and our voices are heard.' 

'The duke was talking about the tone of debate in the run-up to an election which is already quite febrile,' they said.

'He is not talking about any candidate or specific campaign. He is building on a lot of stuff that he's said before about online communities, how we engage with each other online, rather than specifically making any political points.' 

Markle told Marie Claire in August that she intended to vote. 'I know what it's like to have a voice, and also what it's like to feel voiceless,' she said. 

Meghan and Prince Harry's new home sits on 5.4 acres of land and immaculately clipped hedges border the estate's stone-pillared entry gates (pictured) 

'I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.'

Before marrying Harry but after Trump's election, Markle called Trump 'misogynistic' and 'divisive' in a TV appearance. 

Speaking in the video message, apparently filmed from their California home, Harry admitted he was not eligible to vote - adding that he had never voted in the UK either where convention dictates that royals keep well clear of politics.   

Royal experts told DailyMail.com that the couple should give up their titles and sever their links to the monarchy for good if they wanted to comment on US politics, while insiders told The Times that palace aides would be concerned about their intervention.  

'They made Britain great again by leaving, I hope they do the same for us,' Corey Lewandowski, now a senior 2020 advisor to the Trump campaign, told DailyMail.com

While Meghan has encouraged people to vote before, the video released on Tuesday was the first time that Harry has commented publicly on the election.  

'The political arena is very sensitive for all members of the royal family. You cannot have an apolitical institution, which is what a hereditary monarchy is, and have members of the royal family making even slightly political comments,' a source said. 

'Courtiers would be extremely concerned that if they are going to continue to comment on what could be the most contentious US presidential election in living memory, how difficult could that get?'. 

Another source in palace circles said the couple had 'crossed a line' with their intervention on Tuesday. 

Harry and Meghan DENY claims they will star in fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality show after signing £112m deal

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex this week denied claims they had agreed to star in a fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality series with cameras following them for three months.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were said to have been hoping to 'give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do', according to a source.

But a spokesman for the royal couple insisted today: 'The Duke and Duchess are not taking part in any reality shows.' 

It comes after Harry and Meghan signed a £112million Netflix deal to make TV series, films and children's shows for the streaming service.

Reports had suggested Harry and Meghan would be followed for three months amid the possibility of cameras being allowed into their home in Montecito, California. 

But the couple moved to deny the claims in a statement issued this afternoon. 

A source had told The Sun: 'They may have had all these lofty ideas about producing epics highlighting environmental causes and the poverty gap, but Netflix obviously want their pound of flesh.

'It will all be very tasteful, and not Katie Price and Peter Andre-style reality TV, but they want to give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do.'

According to the source, much of the series was to be about their philanthropic work rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.  

Royal aides pointed to the couple's commitment in January to 'continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty' after abandoning frontline royal duties. 

Robert Oulds and Niall McCrae, of the Eurosceptic Bruges Group think tank, told the Express that the video was 'naked campaigning' for the Democratic nominee. 

'These woke warriors have breached protocol by interfering in an election,' they said. 

'The House of Windsor should act swiftly, stripping Harry and Meghan of their royal titles.'

DailyMail.com editor-at-large Piers Morgan said: 'Prince Harry poking his woke nose into the US election and effectively telling Americans to vote against President Trump is completely unacceptable behaviour for a member of the Royal Family.' 

Former Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, the author of the book And What Do You Do? What The Royal Family Don't Want You To Know, said Harry should not speak out about US politics while he is still a 'representative' of the UK. 

'I think it's appropriate for any private citizen to comment on the US election. The problem is that Harry has retained his HRH status and is not a private citizen but still a representative of this country,' Mr Baker said. 

'He needs to stop trying to have a foot in both camps - royal when it suits him and private when it doesn't.

'Or to turn on its head the old phrase, I agree with what he says but disagree with his right to say it.'

Royal biographer Robert Jobson told DailyMail.com that it 'may be easier' for Meghan and Harry to give up their royal titles altogether given the 'business and political agenda they appear to want to pursue'. 

Mr Jobson, whose latest book is called The Royal Family Operations Manual, said the couple were now 'completely detached' from the British monarchy and would be best off abandoning their titles altogether.     

'Frankly, I think it would be better for Harry to withdraw, along with his son, from the line of succession to avoid further confusion,' he said. 

'By saying they are HRHs and the Duke and Duchess, but not allowed to use the titles, just confuses the situation.' 

Harry also referenced the fact that, because he is not a U.S. citizen, he will not be able to vote in November. 

He added that he had never been able to vote in the UK, despite being theoretically eligible in the last five general elections since he turned 18. 

Although British law does not explicitly forbid members of the royal family from voting, the expectation that royals remain apolitical is considered sacrosanct, and in practice they never participate in elections, by voting or otherwise.  

But since announcing plans to step down as senior royals in January and moving to North America, Meghan and Harry have quietly expanded their involvement in politics as they forge their own path. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have spoken out about the upcoming U.S. election, in a stark break with British tradition that prohibits royal involvement in politics

For his part, Harry said: 'As we approach this November, it's vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity'

Markle has made her position on the 2020 election clear in a number of appearances in recent weeks, expressing enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket

Harry also appeared to open the door to taking up US citizenship in the future by saying that he was not eligible to vote at 'this' election. 

His remark leaves open the possibility that he could seek to vote in a future election in the US, which would likely require him to obtain a 'green card' and stay in America for at least three years. 

A source close to Harry declined to comment on whether his words suggested he would be applying for dual citizenship.

'They are not working royals. They are private citizens and it's understandable they want to keep those matters private,' the source said. 

Meghan's involvement in the video follows a separate intervention last month in which she urged women to turn out at the election. 

The Duchess addressed viewers at the When All Women Vote Couch Party - an online event organized by non-profit organization When We All Vote, which was founded by Michelle Obama. 

Speaking directly to the volunteers and workers tuned into the summit, Meghan continued: 'It is fair to say that we are all very grateful for your work because we need it now really more than ever.

'When I think about voting and why this is so exceptionally important for all of us, I would frame it as: We vote to honor those who came before us and to protect those who will come after us because that's what community is all about and that's specifically what this election is all about,' she said. 

This week, feminist activist Gloria Steinem revealed that Markle had joined her in cold-calling Americans and urging them to vote.

Steinem told Access Hollywood: 'She came home to vote. The first thing we did, and why she came to see me, was we sat at the dining room table where I am right now and we cold-called voters.'

'Said 'hello I'm Meg' and 'hello I'm Gloria' and 'are you going to vote?' That was her initiative.'

Meghan has also told Steinem she was 'so excited' to see fellow mixed-race woman Kamala Harris nominated for vice president, in another strong hint that she is backing the Democratic ticket.  

Last month, Markle (left) joined Gloria Steinem for a 'backyard chat' in which she made it incredibly clear who she plans to vote for come November 

Will Prince Harry take US citizenship? He says he won't vote in 'this' election  

Prince Harry appeared to leave the door open to taking up US citizenship in the future by saying that he would not vote in 'this' presidential election. 

'This election, I'm not going to be able to vote here in the US,' the Duke of Sussex said, adding that he had never voted in the UK either. 

Harry's remark left the possibility open that he might seek to vote in a US election in the future, where royal partisanship would not cause a constitutional crisis as it would in the UK. 

Meghan and the couple's one-year-old son Archie are both US citizens, but Harry has not announced any plans to take up dual nationality. 

A source told the Sunday Times earlier this year that Harry had not applied for dual citizenship and was not expected to request a green card in the US. 

Green cards offer a route to citizenship because the spouse of a US national can apply for naturalisation after being a permanent resident for three years.  

Harry's current immigration status is unclear but a range of visas are available to UK nationals.  

Before marrying Prince Harry in 2018, Markle was no stranger to politics, ridiculing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during a 2016 appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

She said Trump was 'misogynistic and divisive' and indicated her support for Hillary Clinton. 

Harry is a friend of former president Barack Obama, interviewing him on a guest-edited episode of BBC Radio 4's Today Programme in 2017.  

'Part of my role and part of my job is to shine a spotlight on issues that need that spotlight, whether it's people, whether it's causes, issues, whatever it is,' Harry said at the time.

'So I will continue to play my part in society and do my job to the best of my abilities so that I can wake up in the morning and feel energised.'

Despite the Obama friendship, the couple avoided a constitutional row by inviting neither the Obamas nor the Trumps to their 2018 wedding at Windsor Castle. 

Earlier this year, two Russian pranksters said they had duped the Duke of Sussex into criticising Trump in a phone call where they posed as climate activist Greta Thunberg. 

'I don't mind saying this to you guys, I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands,' Harry allegedly said. 

Buckingham Palace did not confirm or deny the authenticity of the call.  

Over the past few weeks, Meghan has taken part in multiple interviews and summits - having reportedly grown 'frustrated' at her inability to get involved in politics while she was working as a senior royal. 

Last month, she joined Gloria for a 'backyard chat' in which she made it incredibly clear who she plans to vote for come November, expressing her excitement at seeing a woman of color on the Democratic ticket - Joe Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris - and explaining that the nomination was particularly meaningful to her because she is biracial.

Over the past few months, Markle has  moved to become more politically active and taken part in multiple interviews and summits - having reportedly grown 'frustrated' at her inability to get involved in politics while she was working as a senior royal 

'I'm so excited to see that kind of representation,' she said. 'You know, for me, being biracial, growing up, whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity. 

'As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see. And in the absence of that, how can you aspire to something greater than what you see in your own world? I think maybe now we're starting to break-through in a different way.'

Meanwhile, she has also taken in voter appeals, at which she made a bold plea to women across the US to take part in the 2020 presidential election, speaking out about the need for 'change' at an online voter summit, while telling participants: 'If we aren't part of the solution, we are part of the problem.' 

Meghan made her stance on the 2020 presidential race clear when she addressed viewers at the When All Women Vote Couch Party - an online event organized by non-profit organization When We All Vote, which was founded by 'her friend' Michelle Obama. 

Appearing as the opening speaker at the summit, Meghan expressed her 'excitement' at taking part, before telling those involved with the organization: 'We need [your work] now more than ever.'

'I'm really thrilled that you asked me to be a part of this,' the mother-of-one began, adding: 'I think this is such an exceptional time [and I am] happy to be here for my friend Michelle Obama's When We All Vote, and to kick off the When All Women Vote Couch Party.'  

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