United Kingdom

Prince Harry and William's rift is worse than you think says Royal biographer Robert Lacey

On historian and royal biographer Robert Lacey’s desk is a large envelope, still sealed. It contains draft chapters from his latest book, which — as is his custom — he sent to Buckingham Palace pre-publication.

It’s quite unusual for a royal writer to do this, but Lacey has always worked this way. In 1977, when he was more famous for being an investigative journalist, he wrote what is still regarded as the definitive biography of the Queen. Palace officials co-operated, and he was invited to have tea with senior courtiers.

He has never allowed his subjects to veto his work, but he says allowing them to see ‘parts, not all of a book’ in advance is courteous and allows those involved to challenge key points, if necessary.

‘It allows debate,’ he says. ‘If they don’t agree with something, we can argue it out.’

So he packed up the key chapters from his latest book and sent them off, fully aware that the Palace may not like some aspects of his forensic account of what is happening in the House of Windsor. He was a little surprised, though, when the package was returned to him, unopened, with a terse covering letter. In short, the Palace did not want to know.

Robert Lacey’s new book Battle Of Brothers picks apart the feud between Prince William and Prince Harry, a breach in the Royal family that is 'as dangerous as the Abdication', according to the Royal biographer

The historian sent off draft chapters from his latest book — as is his custom — to Buckingham Palace pre-publication. But he was surprised when the package was returned to him, unopened, with a terse covering letter. In short, the Palace did not want to know.

The problem? The book is called Battle Of Brothers, and it picks apart — in uncompromising detail — the feud between Prince William and Prince Harry. The Palace’s response, to a previously trusted and respected author — one whose aristocratic wife was a maid of honour at the Queen’s Coronation — speaks volumes, he thinks.

‘They took fright over the title, probably,’ says Robert, acknowledging that, had it been opened, the book might have had the effect of a grenade.

But the title is correct, and important. When I started to look into this supposed feud between the two princes, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was newspapers stirring up something that wasn’t there. I didn’t want to believe it, in truth. None of us does. Yet it most definitely exists. Actually, it’s worse than anyone thinks.

‘Some say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. It will blow over.” But that’s not what historians will be saying in ten years’ time. If this breach between the brothers is not healed in some way it will come to stand with the Abdication crisis and the death of Diana as one of the traumas that changed the monarchy. There is time to change things in a positive direction, but at the moment the Palace is not working in that direction.’

‘They took fright over the title, probably,’ says Robert (pictured with wife Lady Jane Rayne) acknowledging that, had it been opened, the book might have had the effect of a grenade

Robert’s book — serialised in the Mail tomorrow and next week — paints a devastating picture of the fall-out from this breakdown in the once-close relationship between the two brothers. It traces the lives of both of them — and their very different spouses — from the moments they were born.

As we know, it is not the only new book to touch on the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Its approach is very different, however, to that of Finding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, which tells the Harry and Meghan story from their point of view.

Too much so, he believes. ‘It is very much written in the old- fashioned adulatory style of royal eulogy,’ he says. Does he believe the couple were directly involved in briefing the authors? ‘Well, put it this way, there are some descriptions that could only have come from the lips of Harry or Meghan.’

For his own book, Robert spent months talking to royal insiders about when the cracks in the brothers’ relationship started to appear (spoiler alert: it happened earlier than you think), and, pointedly, how the system of monarchy conspired to fan the flames of resentment rather than broker a compromise between the two.

'If this breach between the brothers is not healed in some way it will come to stand with the Abdication crisis and the death of Diana as one of the traumas that changed the monarchy,' said Robert. Pictured: King Edward VIII abdicating the throne in December 1936

Edward VIII's abdication in order to marry American divorcee Wallace Simpson was seen as the greatest crisis for the monarchy in the 20th century. Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor standing on stone steps in Miami in 1941

Thanks to Robert’s reputation, countless individuals with direct knowledge of what happened agreed to help. Because of the sensitivities, the main sources declined to be named, ‘but there was no shortage of people who did want to talk, because this is an issue there is huge concern about’.

Robert, who is also a consultant on the Netflix series The Crown, once moved his family (he has three children with his first wife Sandi) to Jeddah to write a book on the Saudi royal family. He is impeccably connected. In 2012 he married widow Lady Jane Rayne, daughter of the 8th Marquess of Londonderry — but he points out that his professional reputation pre-dates all this.

Above all, he insists the relationship between the princes is critical to the future of the Royal Family. ‘It matters,’ he says. ‘It’s a question of values, even about the national morale. The idea of our modern royalty was built on the idea of these two brothers.

‘What you’ve got to realise is that the whole strategy of the monarchy was based on them sticking together. Meghan changed all that. She is difficult. She has an incredible and dangerous level of self-belief.

‘But the Palace got this very wrong, as it always does with the second-born. They always treat the second-born badly, not to say cruelly. It happened with Princess Margaret. It happened with Prince Andrew. It’s the classic heir and the spare thing. They just don’t know what to do with the spare. And they certainly didn’t know what to do with the spare’s wife.’

The battle referred to in the title is, he agrees, about ‘not just two brothers, two charming, talented but ultimately damaged young men’, but about wider battles. Love versus duty. Tradition versus reinvention.

What of the Prince of Wales? It’s noticeable that he’s largely absent from our conversation today. It has been a long time since William has sought counsel from his father, Robert suggests, instead looking to his grandmother for guidance

Today, in conversation, Robert is both passionate about his subject and despairing. Not a single soul comes out of the book looking particularly good.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as depicted in the book, are self-pitying, and assume an astonishing level of entitlement. Prince William is praised for having the duty gene but described as having a terrible temper. Even the Queen comes in for criticism. Harry is, by turns, hapless and hurt, but a young man who finds in Meghan an escape.

‘He finds new destiny,’ Robert says today. ‘He realised there was something rotten at the heart of royalness that is not for him.’

Then there is Diana, the late Princess of Wales, whom he describes as an ‘anti-royal’ — he points out the parallels with Meghan, going as far as to say ‘in her own way Meghan walks through minefields like Diana did. Metaphorical minefields’.

The Prince of Wales? It’s noticeable that he’s largely absent from our conversation today. Doesn’t he hold the key to bringing the feuding brothers back together?

When I started to look into this supposed feud between the two princes, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was newspapers stirring up something that wasn’t there. I didn’t want to believe it, in truth. None of us does. Yet it most definitely exists. Pictured: Meghan and Harry speak in a Zoom interview with the Evening Standard from their new £11million home in Santa Barbara

Its approach is very different, however, to that of Finding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, which tells the Harry and Meghan story from their point of view

It has been a long time since William has sought counsel from his father, Robert suggests. ‘William looks to his grandmother for his values, not to his father. He thinks his father has . . . lost his way. But perhaps there is still time for Charles to act. I hope so.’

The book gives the impression everyone has rather lost their way. Robert is careful not to apportion blame but does believe the Palace handled ‘the Meghan situation’ appallingly.

‘There is only one self-made millionaire in the Royal Family and that is Meghan Markle. If they had sat down with her at the start and said, “Let’s talk about the things you are interested in”, things might have been different.

‘They just sent her off to watch the Queen opening the Mersey Bridge. There is nothing wrong with that, but they made the mistake of dealing with the spare’s wife thinking she was just a routine royal. She was never going to be a routine royal.’

Nor should she have been, he argues. ‘I don’t want to go too deeply into the race thing, because that is another minefield altogether, but with Meghan the Royal Family had a mixed-race recruit, and for a monarchy that represents a mixed-race nation and a mixed-race commonwealth this was important. Is it any wonder Barbados and Jamaica are now saying, “We are signing off. We can do without the Queen, thank you very much.”

‘To have failed to hold on to their mixed-race recruit was a mistake.’

Didn’t the whole sorry mess come about because, as he puts it in the book, the ‘Windsors don’t do woke’?

‘They don’t do woke, but if they are to survive, the Windsors have to find their own way to do woke.’

Today, he thinks the baton is mostly in William’s hand, and warns that the history of tomorrow is being written today.

‘Does Prince William want to go down in history as the king who couldn’t hold his family together? This thing has to be resolved, one way or the other.’ 

Harry and Meghan demand end to 'structural racism' in Britain: Prince reveals his 'awakening' to racial issues and defends Diversity's BGT dance - while Meghan describes BLM protests in the US as 'a beautiful thing'

ByRory Tingleand Mark Duell for MailOnline

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today demanded an end to 'structural racism' in Britain. 

In a wide-ranging interview from their £11million California mansion, Prince Harry revealed his 'awakening' to the discrimination faced by black people after meeting his wife.

Meanwhile, Meghan Markle praised Black Lives Matter protests in America after the death of George Floyd as 'beautiful' - but said this only applied to 'peaceful protest' and admitted many people found them 'inflammatory'. 

Speaking on Zoom to the Evening Standard, Harry also weighed in on Diversity's controversial BLM dance routine on Britain's Got Talent and said he was 'surprised' by the negative comments it had received.  

In a separate article for the newspaper, the couple said: '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.' 

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

Scroll down for a full transcript.  

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

The couple gave today's interview to the Evening Standard over Zoom from their new mansion in Santa Barbara, California. In key developments - 

At a glance: Harry and Meghan on racism, Black Lives Matter and Diversity's controversial dance routine  

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 Diversity's BLM dance routine:

'We spoke to Ashley Banjo a few weeks ago, straight after the Britain's Got Talent situation. And that in itself, I am sure even me talking about it will be controversial, but the reality of it is he and his team of guys put on the most amazing display.

'We had such a good chat with Ashley. He was really strong, he felt great about it, but at the same time he was concerned because of the reaction. It was a real surprise that there was what? 1,100 complaints after the show and then three days of hype it became 20 or 25,000. I am very glad Ofcom made the decision that they did but that in itself kind of proves how much this conversation needs to continue.' 

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.' 

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.' 

On nominating her BHM NextGen Trailblazers: 

'An incredible example is Baroness Lawrence. Everything she has done in memory of her son [Stephen] is creating legacy across the UK in what it means to really push for the change that is necessary.'

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.'  

The couple's interview comes at a key moment for race issues around the world after the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by a US policeman sparked a wave of protest. 

During the unrest this summer there were scenes of violence, arson and looting, and a number of businesses were targeted. 

Asked for her views on the BLM protests, Meghan admitted they had been 'inflammatory for a lot of people'. 

She continued: 'But 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.

'And I think when everyone just starts to own that, we push through that and focus on how do we make it different moving forward? And if we just focus on the uplift and the positivity of that, while still acknowledging the past, that's where we reshape things, and that shouldn't be inflammatory at all. That should be really exciting actually.' 

Meghan said that BLM in the US was a 'different movement' from the one that existed in the UK.       

Harry, 36, who at one point was joined on camera by the couple's Beagle, Guy, said he had become more aware of the issue of racism after marrying Meghan, 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.'

'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.'

The Prince weighed in on the issue of the Diversity dance troupe's BLM inspired dance on Britain's Got Talent, which sparked 24,500 complaints to Ofcom.  

'We spoke to Ashley Banjo a few weeks ago, straight after the Britain's Got Talent situation,' Harry said. 

'And that in itself, I am sure even me talking about it will be controversial, but the reality of it is he and his team of guys put on the most amazing display.

'We had such a good chat with Ashley. He was really strong, he felt great about it, but at the same time he was concerned because of the reaction. It was a real surprise that there was what? 1,100 complaints after the show and then three days of hype it became 20 or 25,000. I am very glad Ofcom made the decision that they did but that in itself kind of proves how much this conversation needs to continue.' 

Meanwhile, Harry spoke of how he had become more aware of issues of racial discrimination in society and questioned how far Britain had progressed. 

The prince said they although London was celebrated as one of world's most diverse cities, '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.' 

The couple recently moved into a £11million mansion in Santa Barbara after breaking with the Royal Family and leaving the UK.  

Meghan said the couple were 'doing well' and enjoying life with their baby, Archie. 

She said: '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.'

Harry said he was coping with being away from Britain by using Zoom to stay in touch with people at home.   

'Everything has been through video, everything has been in a room, somewhere,' he said. '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.'

The couple have been repeatedly criticised for breaking royal protocol by intervening in politics - including by apparently telling Americans how to vote

Ashley Banjo in Diversity's Black Lives Matter themed dance routine that sparked thousands of complaints to Ofcom 

Prince Harry defends Diversity's 'amazing' BLM-inspired BGT routine and says thousands of complaints to Ofcom were a 'real surprise' 

Prince Harry today praised Diversity's 'amazing' Black Lives Matter-inspired dance routine on Britain's Got Talent as he called for an end to 'structural racism' in Britain.

In a wide-ranging interview from the Sussexes' £11million California mansion, Prince Harry said he was 'surprised' by the thousands of complaints made to Ofcom after the controversial performance.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Harry revealed he spoke to Diversity's leader Ashley Banjo after the troupe's routine sparked a massive backlash.

He said: 'We spoke to Ashley Banjo a few weeks ago, straight after the Britain's Got Talent situation. And that in itself, I am sure even me talking about it will be controversial, but the reality of it is he and his team of guys put on the most amazing display. 

'We had such a good chat with Ashley. He was really strong, he felt great about it, but at the same time he was concerned because of the reaction. It was a real surprise that there was what?

'1,100 complaints after the show and then three days of hype it became 20 or 25,000. I am very glad Ofcom made the decision that they did but that in itself kind of proves how much this conversation needs to continue.'

Ofcom said it would not take action against Diversity as it argued that the troupe's performance 'referred to challenging and potentially controversial subjects, and in our view, its central message was a call for social cohesion and unity'. 

Harry said he and Meghan hoped to use their high public profile to continue discussing racial discrimination. 

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

'So I think it's a month of celebration, and of course with a lot of other things going on in the UK and America and around the world at the moment, there can be parallels of connections to that, but essentially for us this is very much a celebration of Black History Month.' 

To coincide with the interview the couple revealed their list of nominations for Black History Month's Next Generation Trailblazers, who were selected for challenging prejudice and contributing to British society. 

Those nominated by the couple included Vogue editor Edward Enninful, Olympian boxer Nicola Adams, England rugby star Maro Itoje, the Met's Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu and Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.  

Discussing their nominations, Harry said: 'These are people that we know. People that we've interacted with over the years, people that have been mentioned to us by other people. 

'Look, you know, this job has a certain uniqueness about it where we travel around the world, but we also visit all the communities, not all, but many communities within the UK, and the same names keep coming up. 

'And we've been really just impressed, humbled and inspired at the same time by these individuals, whether it's Doreen Lawrence, or whether it's, you know, Neil Basu - these are people that are really, that are genuinely making a difference.'

Ending the interview, Meghan vowed that the couple would continue making their opinions known on issues that matter to them. 

She said: 'You know, like all of you, we're doing the best that we can and hoping that our passion and our commitment is still felt, because it certainly hasn't wavered.' 

At one point in the interview, the couple's Beagle, Guy, walked in on the interview, prompting Meghan to apologise. 

The couple were interviewed by Evening Standard editor Emily Sheffield, and reporters Abbianca Makoni and Lizzie Edmonds

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) 

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

Black Lives Matter protests: How the death of George Floyd sparked a worldwide movement  

The death of George Floyd in May after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck sparked a wave of Black Lives Matter-inspired protests in America and across the world.

The video of Floyd - who was being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit note - immediately went viral and his cry of 'I can't breathe' as he lay dying was adopted as a slogan of the movement.

While the majority of protests have been peaceful, many have descended into violence and featured looting, rioting and at least 19 deaths. 

Activists have also sparked criticism for heir calls to strip police departments of their funding.

The BLM cause was picked up across the world, sparking demonstrations in dozens of countries across Europe, Asia and Africa as well as Australia and New Zealand.

In Britain, protesters have been criticised for defacing monuments, including the statue of Winston Churchill outside Parliament, which had to be boarded up. In one notable moment, BLM activists in Bristol tore down a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston and tossed it into the harbour.

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

'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.' 

Today's interview was the latest in a series of political interventions by the Sussexes that have sparked significant controversy. 

Last week, they 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'. 

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

This was a line some observers in Britain and the U.S. immediately took many be a plug for Joe Biden and a slap at President Trump. 

'We're six weeks out from the election, and today is Voter Registration Day,' Meghan said. 

'Every four years, we're told the same thing, 'This is the most important election of our lifetime.

'But this one is. 

A protester holds a sign saying 'defund the police' at a protest backing Black Lives Matter in New York. Meghan said she thought peaceful protests were 'beautiful' but said she accepted some people found them 'inflammatory' 

Full transcript from Harry and Meghan's Zoom interview with the Evening Standard  

Meghan: 'Yeah we're doing well, how are you guys doing? We're very lucky with our little one, he's just so busy. He's all over the place. He's just amazing. He keeps us on our toes, but we're really just so lucky.'

Abbianca Makoni, reporter: 'Why have you decided to launch this project?'

Meghan: 'We all decided to come together and do it. I mean, truth be told, and I was in the UK for a few years until we moved back here, I didn't realise that there was a Black History Month in Britain, and so to have that brought to our attention was really exciting I think, from a standpoint of everything that's going on in the world but mostly just because it's about celebrating community. And really if you're celebrating all of the individuals who are making an incredible impact within our community, then what a great thing to be a part of. I want to highlight those people that I don't know personally and really find their work to be notable but also to ask them to highlight who that next generation is, who those other people are. What it does is just really broaden the list of role models for young British people, and people abroad, black or white, or any other colour for that matter.

Harry: 'I mean, you can only… we've talked about this before, you can only be what you can see, and I think you guys touched on it right at the beginning there, which is the UK is incredibly diverse and London especially is one of the, celebrated as one of the most diverse cities in the world, yet if you actually get out on the streets and you actually talk to people, I think it is… it's not always as… it doesn't feel as diverse as it actually is. And therefore now is the best time for us to be able to use our platform, joint with your platform as well, so that we can actually start a conversation and introduce people to the black community that are making a massive difference within their own communities but across the UK as a whole as well. So I think it's a month of celebration, and of course with a lot of other things going on in the UK and America and around the world at the moment, there can be parallels of connections to that, but essentially for us this is very much a celebration of Black History Month.'

Makoni: 'And why is the project more significant now, especially with everything that's been happening with the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests across the globe?'

Harry: 'For me, it's awareness and it's education and it's teaching. You know, I've had a sort of an awakening as such of my own, because I wasn't aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the UK, but also globally as well. I thought I did, but I didn't. And this isn't about pointing the finger, this isn't about blaming anybody, this is about using this opportunity, this month, to introduce Brits to other Brits that they might not know about or they might not have heard about. And I think the power of community that comes from that is absolutely vast, especially for young black men and young black girls.'

Meghan: 'Well, and I think also what it does is remind people of our share of humanity, and that's the takeaway. It's educational but it's also really exciting just to find more people in the community that are inspirational.'

Lizzie Edmonds, reporter: 'Do you have any reflections on the Black Lives Matter in the UK in particular and does being over in the States give you a different perspective on it?'

Meghan: 'It's a different movement. The impetus is from a place of recognising equality, and if you just go back to its ground level of that, then I don't think there's anything controversial about it. You know, we had the fortune of talking very early on this year, when the Black Lives Matter and the racial justice movement in the US was coming to a head after the murder of George Floyd, we spoke with Alicia Garza, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter. And as she could reiterate, the impetus is really just about reminding people of your worth. And I think, you know, as we've seen different iterations of it, what has been inflammatory I think for a lot of people is when any version of a community becomes disruptive. But when there's just peaceful protests and when there's the intention of just wanting unity and just wanting recognition of equality, then that is a beautiful thing actually. And so, you know, while it has been challenging for people certainly in having to make this reckoning of historical significance that has gotten people to the place that they are, that's uncomfortable for people. And we recognise that, it's uncomfortable for us. And I think when everyone just starts to own that, we push through that and focus on how do we make it different moving forward? And if we just focus on the uplift and the positivity of that, while still acknowledging the past, that's where we reshape things, and that shouldn't be inflammatory at all. That should be really exciting actually.'

Harry: 'I don't know… there's not much to add on top of that, it was so perfectly said.'

Meghan: 'That's a hard question for us to answer by the way.'

Harry: 'There's a reason why we decided to do this with you guys. You have the most diverse readership across all of the newspapers, and by the looks of it here but also from some of the material that I've read, you have a diverse workforce internal to the Evening Standard as well, which is not the same for others. So that is something to be celebrated, but again, just because of that, there can be a bias that comes out of reporting, out of society, out of all corners of society, and again that was something that I wasn't aware of, but it became very clear to me. But again, this is for me, this is an opportunity for the people to learn, for all of us to learn.'

Makoni: 'And how did you choose the list of high profile people to help you nominate the trailblazers?'

Harry: 'People that we know. People that we've interacted with over the years, people that have been mentioned to us by other people. Look, you know, this job has a certain uniqueness about it where we travel around the world, but we also visit all the communities, not all, but many communities within the UK, and the same names keep coming up. And we've been really just impressed, humbled and inspired at the same time by these individuals, whether it's Doreen Lawrence, or whether it's, you know, Neil Basu - these are people that are really, that are genuinely making a difference. We spoke to Ashley Banjo a few weeks ago, straight after the Britain's Got Talent situation. You know, that in itself, I am sure even me talking about it will become controversial, but the reality is that he and his team of guys put on the most amazing display of how they saw, or how 2020…'

Meghan: 'Sorry, my dog has just come…'

Harry: 'And we had such a good chat with Ashley. You know, he was really strong, he felt great about it, but at the same time he was concerned because of the reaction. And again, it's not about pointing the finger, it is not about blame. I will be the first person to say that this, again, is about learning. Learning about what our part is in all this and how we can make it better.

Meghan: 'When you happen to look at some of the names of the people from our list that we know, some of the people that they suggested is really exciting. So for example, Misan (Harriman) had chosen someone who created the black curriculum. And when you start to look at history books and what we're taught, to see it through a different lens, see it through a diverse lens, will help shape how children understand where they come from and then to know better where they're going.'

Makoni: 'This is a cause that's close to your heart along with many other charitable causes in Britain. Is it difficult not being able to be in the UK at the moment to be directly involved in them?'

Meghan: 'Well, you know, I think with Covid, my goodness, everyone has gotten accustomed to what it means to be distanced, right? And so the impact of that, whether it's across the pond or across town, you are still for the most part through a computer screen. So I think we've all had to adapt to how we can have the most impact and influence as possible within the constraints of what has happened with Covid-19.'

Harry: 'Everything has been through video, everything has been in a room somewhere. So actually it doesn't matter where in the world that we've been, we've stayed in touch and we've supported the organisations that we've been affiliated with, as much as humanly possible.'

Meghan: 'You know, like all of you, we're doing the best that we can and hoping that our passion and our commitment is still felt, because it certainly hasn't wavered.' 

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