Burning Bridges as They Go: Harry and Meghan Slam ‘Uncomfortable’ Commonwealth

Britain's Prince Harry (R) and his US fiancee Meghan Markle arrive to attend a service of commemoration and thanksgiving to mark Anzac Day in Westminster Abbey in London on April 25, 2018. - Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand …
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Estranged British Prince Harry and his Hollywood celebrity wife Meghan have launched an attack on the Commonwealth of Nations, effectively picking a significant fight with Queen Elizabeth II who is the head of the globe-spanning organisation.

Speaking on a video call from their newly found Los Angeles home, Prince Harry — who was recently stripped of his senior Royal position and military titles in the United Kingdom — spoke critically of the Commonwealth of Nations, a global group of likeminded independent nations with a common history led by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen has frequently spoken of her pride in the Commonwealth, and the comments that the organisation had to reassess its “uncomfortable” history have been inevitably interpreted as “picking a fight with the Queen”, according to Royalty-focussed UK tabloid the Express.

Claiming the Commonwealth had to have a reckoning over its colonial past before it could move on to the future, Prince Harry said:

There is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past, and I think so many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs. But I think we all acknowledge on here there is more to be done.

It’s not going to be easy and in some cases it’s not going to be comfortable, but it needs to be done because — guess what — everybody benefits. I think there is a hell of a lot together that we need to acknowledge.

In remarks that follow other recent comments from the progressive prince where he personally apologised for “institutional racism”, Harry continued to say of systemic racism that “it is there and it stays there because someone somewhere is benefitting from it. We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been brought up and educated to see the world differently.”

In a remarkably frank assessment of his view of the pace of developments presently sweeping several Western nations, he said: “…there is no turning back now, everything is coming to a head. Solutions exist, and change is happening far quicker than it ever has before.”

Former Suits actress Meghan also retrod recent comments when she added to the remarks, saying she had “obviously” had personal experience of racism, and slammed ordinary members of the public for being complacent, which she said made them “complicit” in racism.

The Duchess of Sussex said: “That is the shift we are seeing. It isn’t enough to be a bystander and say ‘it wasn’t me’… We’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships.”

Meghan told members of the virtual call that any issues with this transformation were merely “growing pains”, and reassured followers that they were on the “right side of history”.

The Commonwealth of Nations was founded in 1949 as the old British Empire disassembled itself, recognising that while the new nations worldwide wanted self-government, they also wished to maintain friendly ties with other countries with similar cultural, legal, and trading heritages. Today, Commonwealth nations make up around one-fifth of the world’s landmass and a third of the world’s population — approaching two and a half billion people.

By the Royal Family’s own reckoning, the Commonwealth is:

…a remarkable international organisation, spanning every geographical region, religion and culture. It exists to foster international co-operation and trade links between people all over the world.

After 70 years of its existence, the Commonwealth is a remarkable organisation which remains a major force for change in the world today.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent countries, almost all of which were formerly under British rule.

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