Prince William says royals 'not a racist family' and reveals he hasn't spoken to Harry yet

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·6 min read

Watch: Prince William: Royals 'very much not a racist family'

Prince William has said the royals are "very much not a racist family" as he and the Duchess of Cambridge made their first public appearance since Harry and Meghan's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The Duke of Cambridge said he had not yet spoken to his brother, but promised he would, adding they are "not a racist family" when asked by a reporter.

The comments came as Prince William and Kate visited a school in east London on Thursday morning, in a rare face to face engagement after moving back down to the capital from their country home of Anmer Hall, Norfolk.

In the interview, Harry and Meghan recounted "conversations" which they say took place between a family member and Harry related to the colour of Archie's skin.

Meghan recounted that there were "concerns" about "about how dark his skin might be when he’s born".

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge watches as a child plays during a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
William chats to a child as she plays plays during a visit to School 21 in east London. (AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate's visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools. (AFP)

Read more: Why didn't Harry and Meghan's race claim go straight to HR?

While they did not clarify who did make the remark, Winfrey said they told her it was not the Queen or Prince Philip.

Kate was directly brought into the line of fire when Meghan gave her account of reports of an argument between the two women before the May 2018 wedding, though she did tell people they did not have to pick a side.

Meghan said it was Kate who made her cry, not the other way around as had been reported, but said that Kate "owned it" and sent her flowers adding "she's a good person".

There has been no response from Kate's side to that claim.

William and Kate's engagement on Thursday to School 21 in Stratford coincided with the rollout of Mentally Healthy Schools, a set of resources provided by the Anna Freud Centre to help secondary schools and colleges with mental health information.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate at a school in east London on Thursday. (AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge  and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge listen during a discussion with teachers and mental health professionals at a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate spoke to teachers and mental health professionals about the school reopening. (AFP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, speaks to a young pupil in the playground during a visit to School 21 in Stratford on March 11, 2021 in London, England. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the school in east London to congratulate teachers involved in the re-opening of the school following lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
William with a young pupil in the playground. (WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Royal Foundation, William and Kate's charitable arm, worked with the Anna Freud Centre from 2018, as well as other charities, to create the resources.

Kate has been patron of the Anna Freud Centre since 2016.

The couple also spoke to teachers about how they have adapted to reopen the school following the latest lockdown in England.

Kate, in a pink Boden top and Max&co coat, played with children at the water section of their playground, and helped them dig for treasure in a sandpit.

Meanwhile William helped build a wall in the construction area, saying "I was just doing what I was told" as he took instructions from a young boy.

Prince Charles was the first royal to break cover with an engagement on Tuesday, as he headed out to a vaccine centre in London to meet those waiting to get their first coronavirus jab.

He chuckled when he was asked what he thought of the interview, but moved on without making any comment.

Later that day, the Palace finally responded to the shocking claims made by Harry and Meghan in the two-hour Winfrey special.

Watch: Harry and Meghan: What the Sussexes really think of Charles, William and Kate

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watches as a child holds up five fingers to indicate his age during a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate watches as a child shows her he is five, holding up his hand, at School 21 in London. (AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge interacts with a child in the water area of the playground during a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate chatted to a child in the water area of the playground during the visit. (AFP)

Read more: Harry and Meghan interview: Was Archie denied a royal title when he was born?

The Palace statement, on behalf of the Queen, said: "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. 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 much loved family members."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were said to be feeling "free" after the explosive interview, according to friend Janina Gavankar, who said they could now focus on their work through the Archewell foundation.

However the fallout in the UK is likely to continue.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge interacts with a child in the water area of the playground during a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate played with some of the pupils before speaking to teachers and staff at the school. (AFP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge talks with pupils as she visits School 21 in Stratford on March 11, 2021 in London, England. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the school in east London to congratulate teachers involved in the re-opening of the school following lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
It was the first time the couple have carried out an engagement since Harry and Meghan's interview. (PA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gestures during a visit to School21 following its re-opening after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in east London on March 11, 2021. - The visit coincides with the roll-out of Mentally Healthy Schools resources for secondary schools and how this is helping put mental health at the heart of their schools curriculum. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate had her hair back in a ponytail as she battled the wind on the visit to east London. (AFP)

Read more: 5 most explosive claims about Royal Family from Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview

On Thursday at the local election campaign launch, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The issue that Meghan raised of race and mental health are serious.

"The Palace has now responded and I do think it is a matter now for the family and I do hope it is resolved as soon as possible.

“But the wider issues in society about race and mental health are something for all of us to take seriously.”

Asked about the possibility of a debate on the "family dispute" and the role of the monarchy, leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg responded by reading out the national anthem.

Chris Ship, ITV's royal editor, tweeted of the comment by William: "It’s unprecedented for a senior Royal to speak in this way. And shows the fight they now have on their hands to repair their reputation following Meghan and Harry’s explosive claims.

"Remember the Queen’s statement said 'recollections may vary'."

Former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt tweeted: "Imagine if Prince William had been in charge of the palace statement two days ago."

He then added: "It’s a very vivid sign of how bad things are for the royals that a future head of state of a multicultural country has to insist his family aren’t racists."