Kate ‘pushed for key phrase’ to be included in the Palace's response to Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex sat down with the US chat show host in 2021

Kate Middleton pink blazer
(Image credit: KIN CHEUNG / Getty)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah came a year after the couple decided to step down as working members of the royal family. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex - who had relocated to California and were expecting their daughter Lilibet at the time of recording - sat down with the US chat show host in 2021 for a no holds barred segment where they discussed the pressures they faced from the British press, as well as their fractured relationships with members of the family. 

One of the biggest talking points from the interview was allegations of racism, with claims there were 'concerns and conversations about how dark' their son Archie's skin tone might be. 

Following their interview, the Palace released a statement in response to some of the issues raised during their conversation. 

Approved by the late Queen, it read: "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."

However, according to an updated edition of Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown by royal correspondent Valentine Low, the Palace had a 'much milder' statement ready to go - but Kate insisted that the 'recollections may vary' line should be included. 

In an extract published by The Times, the author says that a Palace team watched the interview ahead of its airing in the UK ,and 'serious negotiations began over the official response'. 

While a draft response was created, a royal insider claims the Prince and Princess of Wales felt the statement should be 'toughened up', and William's private secretary Jean-Christophe Gray suggested the addition. According to the book, Kate was keen to ensure it was in the final draft. 

He writes: "[William and Kate] were both of one mind that we needed something that said that the institution did not accept a lot of what had been said.

"He said, 'It is really important that you guys come up with the right way of making sure that we are saying that this does not stand.' She was certainly right behind him on it."

Although some senior officials were said to be against its inclusion, the source added: "It was Kate who clearly made the point, ‘History will judge this statement and unless this phrase or a phrase like it is included, everything that they have said will be taken as true.'"

The Palace has not yet commented on the claims.

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.