Queen Elizabeth said the British royals were saddened by the challenging experiences of her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan during their time as working royals.
In a statement, issued on behalf of the Queen, Buckingham Palace said race allegations raised by Harry and Meghan in their Oprah Winfrey interview “are concerning” and promised to privately address revelations over a racist remark about their son, Archie.
It said the issues would be “addressed by the family privately”.
This was in response to Meghan and Harry’s tell-all TV interview with Oprah Winfrey which aired on U.S. television on Sunday and is said to have plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis since the 1997 death of Harry’s mother, Diana.
The statement reads: “The following statement is issued by Buckingham Palace on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
The nearly two-hour-long interview with US chat show host Oprah in which series of claims were made was the first of its kind since Harry and Meghan left the UK and stepped back from Royal life.
These included the allegation that a member of the family – not the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh – had raised concerns about their unborn son’s potential skin colour.
Meghan also spoke openly about experiencing suicidal thoughts during her time in the Royal Family, revealing she got to the stage where she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
The statement is the first response from the Palace since the interview aired on US network CBS on Sunday and on ITV on Monday night.
The interview, watched by 12.4 million viewers in Britain and 17.1 million in the United States, has triggered a series of backlash to which the monarchy had to respond.
It has proved divisive among the British public, with some believing it showed how outdated and intolerant the institution was, while others decried it as a self-serving assault that neither Elizabeth nor her family deserved.
“It could hardly be more damaging to the royal family, not least because there is little it can do to defend itself,” The Times said in a lead article under the title “Royal Attack”.
“The key to the monarchy’s survival over the centuries has been its ability to adapt to the needs of the times. It needs to adapt again,” The Times said.
Read Also: Piers Morgan quits ‘Good Morning Britain’ after attacks on Meghan and Harry
In the interview, nearly three years since her wedding in Windsor Castle, Meghan gained sympathy in the United States by revealing some unidentified members of the royal family as uncaring, mendacious or guilty of racist remarks.
Meghan and Harry have also had a torrid relationship with the British press, successfully taking papers to court on occasions, and have repeatedly questioned what they say is reporting tainted by racist overtones.
Harry said in the interview he did not know where to turn when faced with such troubling media coverage and felt hurt when his family failed to call out racist reporting.
He said the royal family had an unhealthy silent agreement with the British tabloids and that the family was paranoid about the media turning on them.
“There is a level of control by fear that has existed for generations,” Harry said.
For the monarchy, which traces its history through 1,000 years of British and English history to William the Conqueror, Meghan’s bombshell has been compared to the crises over the death of Diana and the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson watched the interview, his spokesman said, but would not be making further comment on it.
Johnson said on Monday he had the highest admiration for the queen but that he did not want to speak about the interview. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her nation was unlikely to stop having the queen as head of state soon.
Opponents of the monarchy said the allegations made by Meghan and Harry showed how rotten the institution was and that the Palace’s public relations machine had created a distorted image of the royals.
“Now people are getting a much clearer picture of what the monarchy is really like. And it doesn’t look good,” said Graham Smith, head of Republic, a campaign group which seeks to abolish the monarchy.
However, Royal supporters cast Meghan, 39, as a publicity seeker with an eye on Hollywood stardom.
A YouGov poll found a majority of young people thought the royals’ treatment of the couple was unfair, while half of older people said the opposite.
Since the broadcasts, many high-profile faces have publicly sided with the Palace or the Sussexes.
Tennis star Serena Williams and former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas are among those who backed Harry and Meghan on social media, while Meghan’s estranged father insisted that the Royal Family is not racist on Tuesday morning.
Hours before the Palace put out their statement on Tuesday, Prince Charles of Wales refused to say whether he’d watched the tell-all interview on a visit to a pop-up vaccine clinic in north London.
The Prince of Wales while visiting an NHS vaccine pop-up clinic at Jesus House church in north London, responding to one worker, who said she was from Nigeria, he said: “Oh fantastic, yes, I’ve been there. Lots of different ethnic groups. Do give them my kind regards next time you speak to them.”
When asked what he thought of the interview, the prince didn’t reply and continued to walk with his entourage to the next part of the tour.
The Sussexes have also remained largely silent since the interview, except for releasing a photo of their growing family.
The black and white image taken and shared by photographer Misan Harriman captures a smiling, pregnant Meghan stood by a tree cuddling Archie as Harry stands behind her, embracing his wife.