Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are honoring British Black History Month by speaking out regarding the issues currently facing minorities in the United Kingdom and around the world. In a rare interview with the British Evening Standardnewspaper, the couple makes a list of Next Generation Trailblazers recognized for "challenging prejudice and their positive contribution to British society."
Harry, 36, opens up about his "awakening" to minority issues since first meeting his biracial wife.
“I wasn’t aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the U.K. and also globally as well. I thought I did but I didn’t,” he admits.
The Duke of Sussex feels that one big problem is representation in all areas of life.
“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?’" Harry, who is dad to 1-year-old son Archie, explains. "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 colored 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.”
The son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana doesn't feel that placing blame is helpful.
“It is not about pointing the finger, it is not about blame," he says. "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.”
Meghan, who notes that she and Harry spoke with Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza earlier this year, was in support of peaceful protests supporting Black equality.
"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," the Duchess of Sussex says. "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 recognize that. It is uncomfortable for us.”
Traditionally members of the royal family don't speak out on current events or topics that are deemed political, but Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior members of the royal family in late March, though they have continued their charity work on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.
In the interview, Harry acknowledges that the couple's views “may seem controversial.”
In addition to voicing their thoughts, the couple also reached out to Britain's Got Talent judge Ashley Banjo, who received complaints for his dance troupe's Black Lives Matter-themed performance earlier this month.
“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," Harry says.
“For as long as structural racism exists, there will be generations of young people of color who do not start their lives with the same equality of opportunity as their white peers," the essay reads. "And for as long as that continues, untapped potential will never get to be realized.”
The couple conclude their piece by declaring, "We cannot change history, nor can we edit our past. But we can define our future as one that is inclusive, as one that is equal, and one that is colorful."
"The Black Lives Matter movement matters to Meghan and it matters to Harry. And I understand that this is going to be an area where we're going to see the couple doing a lot more work and taking a lot more interest," she shared. "They've been very busy with the COVID-19 efforts, particularly how it's impacting on their charities. And their focus is now, I'm told, shifting onto this movement -- Black Lives Matter is something that really resonates with both of them."