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Prince Harry on his family's reaction to his relationship with Meghan Markle

Harry on royal family’s reaction to Meghan
Prince Harry on his family's reaction to his relationship with Meghan Markle | 60 Minutes 02:55

In his new book, "Spare," Prince Harry writes that when he introduced Meghan Markle to his family in 2016, his father initially took a liking to her. But his brother, Prince William, was skeptical. 

Others in the family, Harry told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, were also uneasy.

"Right from the beginning, before they even had a chance to get to know her," Harry said. "And the U.K. press jumped on that. And here we are."

"And what was that based on, that mistrust?" Cooper asked.

"The fact that she was American, an actress, divorced, Black, biracial with a Black mother," Harry said. "Those were just four of the typical stereotypes that is— becomes a feeding frenzy for the British press."

"But all those things within the family also were— were sources of mistrust?" Cooper asked.

"Yes," Harry said. "You know, my family read the tabloids, you know? It's laid out at breakfast when everyone— when everyone comes together. So, whether you walk around saying you believe it or not, it's still— it's still leaving an imprint in your mind. So, if you have that judgment based on a stereotype right at the beginning, it's very, very hard to get over that. And a large part of it for the family, but also the British press and numerous other people is, like, 'He's changed. She must be a witch. He's changed.' As opposed to, 'Yeah, I did change, and I'm really glad I changed.' Because rather than getting drunk, falling out of clubs, taking drugs, I had now found the love of my life, and I now had the opportunity to start a family with her."

Soon after their relationship became public, Harry insisted on putting out a statement condemning some of the tabloid coverage of Meghan and what he called "the racial undertones of comment pieces."

"You write that your dad and your brother, William, were furious with you for doing that," Cooper said. "Why?"

"They felt as though it made them look bad. They felt as though they didn't have a chance or weren't able to do that for their partners," Harry said. "What Meghan had to go through was— was similar in some part to what Kate and what Camilla went through— very different circumstances. But then you add in the race element, which was what the press— British press jumped on straight away. I went into this incredibly naïve. I had no idea the British press were so bigoted. Hell, I was probably bigoted before the relationship with— with Meghan."

"You think you were bigoted before the relationship with Meghan?" Cooper asked.

"I don't know," Harry said. "Put it this way, I didn't see what I now see."

Harry and Meghan were married in May 2018, in a ceremony that seemed to promise a more modern and inclusive royal family, and were given the titles Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But behind the scenes, according to Harry, William's mistrust of Meghan only worsened.

"Did you ever try to meet with William and Kate to try to defuse the tension?" Cooper asked.

"Yep," Harry said.

"How did that meeting go?" Cooper asked.

"Not particularly well," Harry said.

60 Minutes reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment. Palace representatives demanded that before considering commenting we provide them with our report prior to it airing, which is something 60 Minutes does not do.

Prince Harry: The 60 Minutes Interview 26:59
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