Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Discuss the 'Painful' Fight for Racial Equality

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke to young leaders on behalf of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are continuing to learn about the Black Lives Matter movement. Last week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex participated in a video call on behalf of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, for which they serve as the president and vice president respectively, to discuss fairness, justice and equal rights with youth leaders.

Chrisann Jarrett, QCT Trustee and co-founder and co-CEO of We Belong, hosted the conversation, which also included Alicia Wallace, director of Equality Bahamas; Mike Omoniyi, founder and CEO of The Common Sense Network; and Abdullahi Alim, leader of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers network of emerging young leaders in Africa and the Middle East.

During the call, Meghan referred to the current movement "a moment of reckoning," with her husband adding that systemic racism exists because "someone, somewhere is benefiting from it."

"We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been brought up and educated to see the world differently," Harry said. "However, once you start to realize that there is that bias there, then you need to acknowledge it, you need to do the work to be able to become more aware."

Meghan went on to acknowledge that racism and unconscious bias "lies and hides and thrives" not just in big moments, but moreso in the quiet ones.

"It's the nuances, I think, that makes it confusing for a lot of people to understand the role that they play in that, either passively and actively, but I think even more so passively," she said, adding that current discussions and her "personal experience" with racism have led to her to have a better understanding of it.

"In people's complacency, they're complicit. And that, I think, is the shift we're seeing. It's not enough to be a bystander and say, 'Well, it wasn't me,'" she said. "And that's what I think is very much manifested in what your feeling from people's outpouring surrounding the murder of George Floyd. It wasn't that this wasn't always happening, it's that it's come to a head at time where people just said, 'Enough.'"

In moving forward, Meghan expressed that knowing when to lead versus when to listen "are probably the two key ingredients" for meaningful change.

Harry agreed, additionally emphasizing the need to learn from past mistakes.

"When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past," he said. "And I think so many people have done such an amazing, incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge on here that there’s so much more still to do." 

"It’s not going to be easy and in some cases, and in some cases it’s not going to be comfortable. But it needs to be done because, guess what? Everybody benefits," Harry continued. "I think there's a hell of a lot that we together need to acknowledge, but I only see hope and optimism in the fact that we could only do this together."

Meghan continued her husband's point, saying that being "a little uncomfortable right now" will eventually lead us to a place "where a high tide raises all ships."

"Growing pains are painful. This process is painful and it has been for a long time. But through that immense pain, what we can have tremendous faith in is knowing that there will be growth," she said. "And that's what we're seeing happen every single day."

After joking that he's "aging" at the ripe age of 35, the duke praised the young leaders for the "optimism and the hope" that they provide.

"There is no turning back now. Everything is coming to a head," Harry said. "Solutions exist and change is happening far quicker than it has ever done before... This change is needed and it's coming."

The conversation took place last week, on what would've been Harry's mom, Princess Diana's, 59th birthday. That same day, Harry starred in a video on The Diana Award's Instagram page, in which he honored the six recipients of this year's award. During the clip, Harry assured viewers that Diana would've been an ardent supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

"I know that my mother has been an inspiration to many of you and I can assure you, she would have been fighting in your corner," he said. "Like many of you, she never took the easy route, or the popular one, or the comfortable one. But she stood for something and she stood up for people who needed it."

Additionally, royal expert Katie Nicholl recently told ET that the movement "matters" to both Harry and Meghan, adding that we'll likely "see the couple doing a lot more work and taking a lot more interest" in it. 

"Black Lives Matter is something that really resonates with both of them," she added.

Watch the video below for more on the couple.