Queen heartbreak: Monarch ‘fully understood’ Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s message

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The Queen knows Prince Harry is a champion of the Commonwealth and is fully involved in its activities, Tory peer Lord Howell of Guildford said. The Queen is therefore likely to have fully understood the context of Meghan and Harry’s video, in which they called for an analysis of the “uncomfortable” history of the Commonwealth, the peer added. 

Appearing on the Daily Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, Lord Howell said: “I would think she fully understood the context.

“He’s been very active and committed to Commonwealth activities.

“He’s a real champion of the Commonwealth and I think he was trying to explain to others outside Government where we are going.

“I would have thought she understood it fully, frankly.” 

Prince Harry and Meghan, respectively the president and vice president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), joined last week a virtual panel with a trustee at the charity and young leaders in the Commonwealth focused on fairness, justice and equal rights.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex argued, to move forward, the Commonwealth must acknowledge the whole of its history and right its wrongs.

Standing outside his home in Los Angeles, Harry said: “When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past. 

“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 there is so much more still to do.

“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.”

Speaking about the need of “owing” the Commonwealth past, Meghan said: “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.  

“Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing – which is a fundamental human right.”

The QCT is linked with the Queen’s Trust, an organisation founded in 1976 to support young people in the Commonwealth.

This organisation ceased to exist last year, when the QCT officially launched its projects, focused on empowering and supporting young leaders in their Commonwealth countries.

Prince Harry and Meghan’s video was met with mixed emotions by historians.  

Oxford Professor Nigel Biggar told the Daily Telegraph the Commonwealth doesn’t have anything “to be ashamed of” but it is right to start a conversation if its members desire so.

He continued: “I find the notion that there’s some dirty secret about the Commonwealth extraordinary.

“I’m all for discussion. If it were the case that Commonwealth countries like Barbados or Nigeria were clamoring for an open discussion so they can tell us some home truths, of course we should have that conversation.

“The question is, who is Harry speaking for?” 

Professor Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, pointed out the links between Commonwealth of Nations and the British Empire and argued a critical discussion on their past could be beneficial to the survival of the association itself.

He said: “Specific debates about the legacy of the British Empire are kind of germane and very relevant to Commonwealth states.

“One problem of the Commonwealth is that its constituency of active supporters has been ageing, and discussion have become terribly platitudinous.

“By contrast, issues around reparations, race, the Windrush Saga are things that really grasp the imagination of young people.

“Although it might be uncomfortable for Britain, it might re-energise the Commonwealth and I think Harry and Meghan are right about that.”   

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