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Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Michelle Obama says it 'wasn't a complete surprise' to hear Meghan Markle's claims of 'racism' within Royal Family: Hopes for 'forgiveness and healing' for the whole family

 Michelle Obama has said 'it wasn't a complete surprise' to hear Meghan Markle's allegations of racism within the Royal Family, and expressed her hope that the family could reconcile.

Obama, 57, weighed in on the furious fallout from Oprah Winfrey's March 7 interview in a discussion with Jenna Bush Hager on NBC, to air on Tuesday morning.  

'Race isn't a new construct in this world, for people of color,' said Obama. 'So it wasn't a complete surprise to, sort of, hear her feelings.' 


Prince William last week hit back against claims his family are racist. His firm rebuttal comes after Buckingham Palace issued a statement on Tuesday on behalf of the Queen expressing how the issues they raised, particularly that of race, were very ‘concerning’.

But the statement also made clear the Queen and senior royals were also keen to stand their ground, adding: ‘While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.’

And the owner of MailOnline and the Daily Mail has complained to CBS for doctoring headlines and taking them out of context during the Oprah interview, watched by tens of millions of people around the globe.

Michelle Obama said in an interview, airing Tuesday, that racism allegations did not shock her

Michelle Obama said in an interview, airing Tuesday, that racism allegations did not shock her

Jenna Bush Hager also asked the former First Lady for her thoughts on life in the public eye

Jenna Bush Hager also asked the former First Lady for her thoughts on life in the public eye

The Obamas lunched with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle in 2016

The Obamas lunched with the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle in 2016

Michelle Obama and Prince Harry attend a Wounded Warriors basketball game in October 2015

Michelle Obama and Prince Harry attend a Wounded Warriors basketball game in October 2015


Obama said that she hoped the family rift could be healed.

'The thing I hope for, and I think about: this first and foremost is a family, and I pray for forgiveness and healing for them,' she said. 

'So they can use this as a teachable moment for us all.' 

She told Hager that public service was 'a bright, sharp, hot spotlight,' that most people did not fully understand. 

'The thing I always keep in mind is that none of it is about us, in public service,' she said.

'It's about the people that we serve.'

The former First Lady formed a close friendship with Prince Harry during her husband Barack Obama's presidency, as well as a relationship with Meghan in recent years.

Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, made several extraordinary and damaging allegations about the royal family during their primetime interview, including claims that an unnamed member of the monarchy had been worried about how dark their son Archie's skin tone might be before he was born.

And while Obama did not openly offer her support to one side or the other, in an interview with Access Hollywood - to promote her new Netflix show - she seemed to side with Meghan and Harry when she urged the couple to 'forgive' the royal family in the wake of the bombshell interview. 

Advice: Michelle Obama, 57, has urged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to 'forgive' and 'resolve' their differences with the royal family following their bombshell interview

Advice: Michelle Obama, 57, has urged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to 'forgive' and 'resolve' their differences with the royal family following their bombshell interview 

Tell-all: Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, made several extraordinary and damaging allegations about the royal family during their primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey

Tell-all: Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, made several extraordinary and damaging allegations about the royal family during their primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey

The Obamas first met the Queen in 2009 during the former president's first year in office. 

They were introduced to Prince William and Kate Middleton when they returned to Buckingham Palace in 2011, and they had one last visit to the U.K. in 2016. 

Prince Harry has been friends with the Obamas for years, bonding over humanitarian and military issues, as well as his inspirational Invictus Games for injured military personnel and veterans. They even took part in a video skit with the Queen to publicize it.

Meghan is believed to be friends with Michelle Obama and had secretly attended a talk the author gave in London in 2018.  

Hopes: Mrs. Obama said she prays that there will be 'love and resolve at some point in time,' insisting that 'there's nothing more important than family'

Hopes: Mrs. Obama said she prays that there will be 'love and resolve at some point in time,' insisting that 'there's nothing more important than family'

Friends: Mrs. Obama struck up a friendship with Harry during her husband's presidency and later forged a bond with Meghan, whom she's praised for her charity work

Friends: Mrs. Obama struck up a friendship with Harry during her husband's presidency and later forged a bond with Meghan, whom she's praised for her charity work

A year later, the Duchess of Sussex interviewed her for her collaboration with British Vogue, writing about how the former First Lady had become ‘such a globally respected public figure.' 

In September 2019, the same month the issue was published, she praised Meghan for her charity work, calling her an inspiration.   

In September 2019, Mrs. Obama praised Meghan for her charity work on Instagram, calling her an inspiration

In September 2019, Mrs. Obama praised Meghan for her charity work on Instagram, calling her an inspiration

In an Instagram post, the former First Lady penned a touching tribute to the Duchess of Sussex and commended her work during the 10-day royal tour of Africa.

Alongside a photograph of the royal attending a reception for Young People at the Residence of the British High Commissioner in Cape Town, Obama wrote: 'Thank you to my friend, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, a thoughtful leader who is breaking the mold and making our world better for it.

'Whether meeting with our leaders or helping girls around the world seek the education they deserve, she is an inspiration to so many.' 

Obama's comments on the extraordinary fallout from Meghan and Harry's interview come days after Hillary Clinton criticized the royals for failing to support a 'young woman who was just trying to live her life.'

Michelle Obama is pictured with Prince Harry at Kensington Palace in June 2015

Michelle Obama is pictured with Prince Harry at Kensington Palace in June 2015

History: During the trip, they had dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry

History: During the trip, they had dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry 

The former Secretary of State made the comments during a live event with the Washington Post last Monday, one day after the Sussexes' tell-all was first broadcast.

'I found it so heart-rending to watch,' Clinton said, adding that she had met the pair before, as well as Harry's mother, the late Princess Diana.

Clinton then said it was 'heartbreaking' to watch the 'incredibly accomplished' Meghan 'not be fully embraced' by both the 'permanent bureaucracy that surrounds the royal family' and the UK press.    

The former presidential hopeful said she too is no stranger to facing off with the British press, adding: 'I’ve had my time in the box with the British tabloids, as anybody who is in the public eye has had, and their cruelty in going after Meghan was just outrageous.

'The fact she did not get more support, that the reaction was, you know, "Let’s just paper it over and pretend it didn’t happen or it will go away, just keep your head down"— well, this young woman was not going to keep her head down.

Not holding back: Hillary Clinton slammed the royals for failing to support a 'young woman who was just trying to live her life' last week during an event with the Washington Post

Not holding back: Hillary Clinton slammed the royals for failing to support a 'young woman who was just trying to live her life' last week during an event with the Washington Post 

The former First Lady and. hdaughter Chelsea when they met with Queen Elizabeth in 2000

Memories: Then-President Bill Clinton and his wife were joined by their daughter Chelsea when they met with Queen Elizabeth in 2000

'You know, this is 2021 and she wanted to live her life, she wanted to be fully engaged and she had every right to hope for that,' Clinton added.

In addition to allegations of racism, Meghan said she felt 'silenced' during her time as a senior royal and received little support when she was struggling with her mental health. 

She also claimed that Kate Middleton had made her cry ahead of her 2018 royal wedding, contrary to media reports that it was the other way around. 

The day after the interview, Winfrey revealed on CBS This Morning that Harry refused to say who made the comment about Archie's skin color, but he had insisted it wasn't the Queen or Prince Philip, who is in hospital following heart surgery. 

'The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,' Buckingham Palace said in a statement that was released on behalf of the Queen.

'The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. 

'Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be loved family members.' 

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