“We’re very much not a racist family,” William told reporters during a visit to a multi-racial school in a deprived area of east London.
The Duke of Cambridge, as he is formally known, is the first senior royal to speak out publicly about the explosive row that has engulfed Britain’s most famous family.
William, 38, said he had yet to speak to Harry, 36, since the interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey first aired in the United States on Sunday night.
Harry and his mixed-race spouse Meghan moved to California with their young son Archie last year after their shock announcement to step down as working royals.
“No, I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I will do,” William said.
– Mental health –
Harry told Winfrey there was “space” between the brothers, who had been close since the death of their mother princess Diana in 1997, after reports of a rift since he married Meghan.
A keenly awaited statement from Queen Elizabeth II, 94, was issued Tuesday and was conciliatory towards Harry and Meghan.
But it also stressed that “some recollections may vary”, as Buckingham Palace vowed to look into the couple’s assertion that an unidentified royal had asked how dark their unborn son’s skin would be.
Harry and William’s father, the queen’s oldest son and heir Prince Charles, has yet to comment on the controversy.
On Tuesday, he toured a Nigerian Christian church in London whose pastors are promoting a drive to vaccinate more black people against the coronavirus.
During the interview, Harry said his father, 72, stopped taking his calls after his move to North America, but they were trying to rebuild bridges.
He also said that Charles and his brother, who is second in line to the throne, were “trapped” in a hidebound institution.
Meghan said she struggled to adapt to royal life after the couple’s fairytale wedding in 2018, even to the extent of suicidal thoughts.
But she said she was not given any support by royal officials.
William and his wife Kate are increasingly involved in promoting mental health support, particularly through the coronavirus pandemic.
Meghan complained to British broadcaster ITV after breakfast television host Piers Morgan launched a furious tirade about the interview and said he did not believe her claims about racism and mental health struggles.
William and Kate’s visit to School 21 in Stratford, east London, on Thursday was to mark the return of children to classes after two months of coronavirus lockdown that forced lessons online.
They are also rolling out to secondary schools a mental health project that Kate launched in primary schools three years ago.
– Wider implications –
The queen has said Harry and Meghan’s allegations will be addressed in private, lowering expectations of any public statement about the conclusions.
The whole affair has plunged the monarchy into crisis and is being keenly watched around the world. The queen is also head of state in 15 mainly non-white, Commonwealth countries.
One newspaper commentator called the allegations a “soft-power disaster for Britain”, given the royal family’s global brand.
It has also opened the door for republicans to make a fresh push for support to remove the queen as head of state, although public backing for the institution at home remains strong.
There have been repercussions, too, in the media, which Harry and Meghan accused of racially biased, unfavourable coverage, with renewed calls for newsrooms to be made more representative.
Morgan quit after he refused a demand by ITV bosses to apologise, while the head of the Society of Editors guild of senior journalists stepped down after rejecting charges of media racism.
More than 250 journalists wrote in an open letter that the refusal to accept bigotry in the media was “laughable” and showed an industry “in denial”.
Prince William said Monday that his 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip is doing “OK” after spending nearly a week in hospital.
Questioned by journalists while visiting a vaccination centre in eastern England, second-in-line to the throne William, 38, said: “Yes, he’s OK, they’re keeping an eye on him.”
He then gave a wink.
Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband for 73 years, was admitted to the private King Edward VII Hospital in London on Tuesday evening as a “precautionary measure” after he felt unwell, Buckingham Palace said.
Palace sources said that his admission was not coronavirus-related and that he was in good spirits.
William’s father Prince Charles visited his father in hospital on Saturday but did not comment on his state of health.
Britain’s Prince Harry said he and his brother Prince William were on “different paths” and admitted occasional tension in their relationship.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, has been plagued by rumours of a growing rift between him and 37-year-old William, and he acknowledged that “inevitably stuff happens” given their high-profile roles in the royal family.
In an interview with ITV television filmed during his recent tour of southern Africa with his wife Meghan, Harry said: “We are brothers. We will always be brothers.
“We are certainly on different paths at the moment but I will always be there for him as I know he will always be there for me.
“We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we are so busy but I love him dearly.
“The majority of the stuff is created out of nothing but as brothers, you know, you have good days, you have bad days.”
William and Harry’s close bond was cemented in the aftermath of their mother Diana, princess of Wales’s shock death aged 36 in a 1997 Paris car crash during a paparazzi pursuit.
But while William is one day destined for the throne, Harry — sixth in line and now with his own wife and baby — has begun to strike out on his own.
This year the brothers split their joint offices and charitable foundation and no longer live in close proximity.
Harry and Meghan married in May 2018 and their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor was born in May this year.
Meghan, who has also been rumoured to have feuded with William’s wife Kate, said her British friends had warned her not to marry Harry.
“The British tabloids will destroy your life,” she said they told her.
Former US actress Meghan, 38, has faced an increasingly hostile press, with the tabloids luxuriating in stories about her fractured family and rumoured palace rifts.
The couple launched legal action this month against British tabloid The Mail on Sunday for alleged invasion of privacy over a letter to her father. It came with a stinging statement from Harry about general tabloid coverage.
Harry is also suing two newspaper groups over alleged voicemail interception, or phone hacking.
Asked if Meghan was facing the same media pressures as Diana, Harry replied: “I have a family to protect.
“I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum.”
Meghan said she had tried to adopt a British “stiff upper lip” but thinks it is internally “really damaging”.
“It’s not enough to just survive something, that’s not the point of life. You have got to thrive.”
Asked if she was “not really OK” and life had “really been a struggle”, she replied simply: “Yes.”
Meanwhile Harry, who has been open about his own past mental health struggles emanating from Diana’s death, said: “It’s constant management. I thought I was out of the woods, and then suddenly it all came back.”
The couple are going to take six weeks off work.
Life in Africa?
During the interview, Harry said that he would like to live in Africa but finding the right place would be difficult.
His grandmother Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth and made Harry her youth ambassador for the 53-country grouping, which includes 19 African states.
“The rest of our lives’ work will be predominantly focused on Africa, on conservation,” said Harry.
“I don’t know where we could live in Africa at the moment.
“We have just come from Cape Town — that would be an amazing place to be able to base ourselves, of course it would, but with all the problems that are going on there, I just don’t see how we would be able to really make as much difference as we want to.”
Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Pakistan to a red carpet welcome late Monday for their “most complex” tour to date, with Islamabad eager to tout improved security after years of violent militancy.
The couple — the Duchess of Cambridge in a sea-green shalwar kameez, and the Duke in a dark suit — were greeted by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and presented with flowers after they landed in a British government plane at a military base in Rawalpindi, the garrison city adjacent to the capital Islamabad, state television images showed.
Details of the five-day visit are being kept under wraps. Security is expected to be tight for the couple’s first official trip to Pakistan, and the first visit by a British royal since William’s father Charles and his wife Camilla came in 2006.
In addition to Islamabad they are set to visit the ancient Mughal capital of Lahore, as well as the mountainous north and the region near the border with Afghanistan in the west.
Kensington Palace has called the trip “the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations”.
The couple are also expected to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was close friends with William’s mother, the late Princess Diana.
“I’ve always been struck by the warmth in Pakistan towards the Royal Family,” British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said in a video published to Twitter late Sunday.
The couple’s programme will pay respect to Britain’s historic relationship with Pakistan, once part of colonial India, he said.
“But it will focus largely on showcasing Pakistan as it is today, a dynamic, aspirational, and forward-looking nation,” Drew continued.
They are expected to see Pakistan’s efforts to combat climate change and learn about the “complex security” of the region, among other issues, a statement from Kensington Palace said earlier this month.
Pakistan has waged a long battle with militancy which has seen tens of thousands of people killed in the past 15 or so years.
Charles’ and Camilla’s 2006 trip was tainted when they were forced to pull out of a visit to Peshawar over safety concerns after the military launched an airstrike on a religious school that killed 80 people.
Diana held in ‘high esteem’
But security has improved dramatically since the army intensified a crackdown on militant groups in 2015, with several countries changing their travel warnings for Pakistan as a result, and Islamabad eager to promote both tourism and foreign investment.
There are promising signs, such as the British Airways return earlier this year after more than a decade, and the slow but steady revival of international cricket.
Analysts have long warned that Pakistan is not yet getting to the root causes of extremism, however, and militants retain the ability to carry out attacks, including in urban areas.
Moments before the couple’s arrival Monday, Qureshi used televised comments to invoke the memory of Diana, who charmed Pakistanis when she visited in her official capacity in 1991.
She also made several private visits in later years to help Khan — then a cricketer-turned-opposition politician married to her friend Jemima — raise money for a cancer hospital in Lahore.
“She is held in very high esteem in Pakistan… We are happy that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are now coming,” Qureshi said.
The visit showed that Pakistan has come out of “difficult times”, he added.
Pakistan was carved out of colonial India to become independent from Britain in 1947, creating an Islamic Republic for the subcontinent’s Muslims.
Britain is home to more than a million people of Pakistani origin, making it the largest Pakistani diaspora community in Europe.
Prince William visited Jerusalem’s super-sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Thursday as he wrapped up a landmark Middle East tour during which he has tiptoed through the region’s diplomatic minefield.
William wandered through the compound that is the third holiest for Muslims, accompanied by a large Israeli security detail and members of the Jordanian-run religious trust that administers it.
British officials said it was the first time a member of the royal family had ever visited the compound, which houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and the iconic golden-topped Dome of the Rock.
The second-in-line to the British throne also visited the adjacent Western Wall, the holiest place at which Jews are allowed to pray.
Since Israel occupied Arab east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967, hardline Jewish activists have campaigned for the right to pray inside the mosque compound itself, the most inflammatory single issue of the Middle East conflict.
Both the second Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000 and a new wave of deadly violence that broke out last year had their roots in Palestinian fears for the longstanding status quo at the compound.
On Wednesday, William found himself on diplomatic thin ice during a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank when he called the Palestinian territories a “country”.
At a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah, the prince appeared to fall foul of the complex language surrounding the Middle East conflict.
“I am very glad that our two countries work so closely together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the past,” he told Abbas, speaking without notes.
Western governments typically refrain from referring to the Palestinian territories as a country or state, instead supporting the Palestinian demand for sovereignty in the future.
The right-wing Likud party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who the prince met in Jerusalem on Tuesday, rejects Palestinian statehood and supports Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, where Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is based.
– Flowers at Alice’s grave –
On Thursday, William also laid flowers on the grave of his great-grandmother Alice, who is buried at the Church of St Magdalene in the city.
Princess Alice was honoured as among the “Righteous among the Nations” by Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, in 1993 for sheltering Jews in Greece from the Nazis during World War II.
William toured the memorial and its adjacent museum on Tuesday on the opening day of his official visit, the first to Israel and the Palestinian territories by a member of the British royal family.
William was following in the footsteps of his grandfather Prince Philip, who visited his mother’s grave in 1994.
“I am honoured that my own great-grandmother is one of these Righteous among the Nations,” William wrote in the visitors’ book.
William was to visit other religious sites in Jerusalem on Thursday before flying home.
Britain’s Prince William took a stroll along one of Tel Aviv’s hippest boulevards Wednesday with the flamboyant Israeli winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Around 2,000 well-wishers pressed against security barriers for a glimpse of the unlikely pair, with singer Netta Barzilai sporting purple braids and a lime-green tunic over black leggings.
Some of them shouted “We love William!”, winning a smile from the prince, dressed for the Mediterranean sunshine in chinos, an open-necked shirt and a lightweight summer jacket.
The 25-year-old Barzilai won the Eurovision contest with her up-tempo song “Toy”, with lyrics inspired by the #MeToo movement.
The studio version of the song features a sound-altering device known as a mini-looper, although under Eurovision rules it was not permitted during the Israeli singer’s live performances at the Lisbon contest stage.
On Wednesday she gave the 36-year-old prince a mini-looper of his own, although he said he lacked any vocal talent.
“You want me to sing?” he asked. “Have you heard me sing? You wouldn’t say that if you had heard me sing.”
The royal trip, the first to Israel and the Palestinian territories, is particularly focused on youth and technology.
After meeting Barzilai, William met Israeli environmental activists over lemonade on a Tel Aviv rooftop.
“I care a lot about the environment,” he told them. “I think my generation, my children as well, there’s a legacy here … we need to tidy up a bit.”
Britain’s Prince William visited the Roman ruins of Jerash in northern Jordan on Monday, accompanied by his host Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah as part of a historic Middle East tour.
The two princes met children from Jordan and neighbouring war-torn Syria during their visit to the site, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Amman.
The visit to Jordan by the second in line to the British throne has been billed as a chance to bond with Hussein, a fellow graduate of Britain’s Royal Sandhurst Military Academy.
William was also due to meet British troops based in the kingdom, before heading across the River Jordan to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The Duke of Cambridge and the heir to the Jordanian throne strolled along Jerash’s Colonnaded Street, a paved promenade lined with towering columns.
They also visited the Temple of Artemis, built on an elevated part of the site in honour of the goddess believed to protect the city, which was at its most prosperous in the third century.
When they reached the ancient site’s theatre they were greeted by Syrian and Jordanian school children in traditional dress, who gave a performance including music and poetry.
The show was organised by the Makany Centre, a UNESCO-backed programme providing health and education to both Syrian and Jordanian pupils.
Some 650,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Jordan since fleeing their country’s seven-year war which was sparked by peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.
Amman estimates the actual number is closer to 1.3 million people and says it has spent more than $10 billion (8.5 billion euros) hosting them.
William paid tribute in a speech on Sunday to “the way in which you opened your doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees”, even as Jordan said the same day that it would be unable to host any new wave of asylum seekers.
His Middle East tour will see William become the first British royal to pay official visits to both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
William, who is president of the Football Association, was flying into Jordan as England thrashed Panama 6-1 in the World Cup on Sunday, but he caught a recording of the match on television at his host’s home.
Prince William flew into Jordan on Sunday at the launch of a Middle East tour that will see him become the first British royal to pay official visits to both Israel and the Palestinian territories.
He was greeted at Amman’s Marka military airport by Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, hosting William for the two-day visit in Jordan.
The 36-year-old Duke of Cambridge’s Royal Air Force plane touched down at the small airport in eastern Amman, where he was given a red-carpet welcome by the heir to the Jordanian throne.
Royal guards carrying rifles fitted with bayonets and wearing Jordan’s traditional red-and-white chequered keffiyeh scarves stood to attention as the prince, in a dark suit, descended from the plane.
The visit by the second in line to the British throne has been billed as a chance to bond with 23-year-old Prince Hussein, a fellow graduate of Britain’s Royal Sandhurst Military Academy.
On Sunday evening, William attended a birthday party in honour of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, whose official 92nd birthday was celebrated on June 9, at the British ambassador’s residence.
“I greatly admire the resilience you in Jordan have shown in the face of the many security and humanitarian challenges that have confronted you as a result of conflicts in this region,” William said at the party.
“The way in which you opened your doors to hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, not to mention your longstanding commitments to Palestinian refugees, is remarkable,” he said.
“In so many ways, Jordan as an open and stable society is a beacon of hope for many other people in the Middle East.”
On Monday, William will visit the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, north of the capital, as well as a vocational training college for young Jordanians and Syrian refugees.
That evening, he will begin his history-making visit to the Jewish state and occupied West Bank during which he will meet both Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.
Seeds of conflict
Kensington Palace has underlined the “non-political nature of His Royal Highness’s role — in common with all royal visits overseas”.
But the region is a minefield of sensitivities.
The visit comes at a particularly volatile time after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as capital of Israel and moved Washington’s embassy there, sparking Arab outrage and deadly clashes.
Britain governed the region under a League of Nations mandate for almost three decades until Israel’s independence 70 years ago, and is still blamed by both sides for sowing the seeds of a conflict that continues to wrack the region.
Ahead of William’s arrival, the official schedule’s reference to east Jerusalem as “in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” sparked anger among right-wing Israeli politicians.
Official visits by British royals take place at the request of the UK government, but statements from the prince’s household have given little explanation for the timing of this trip.
Israel has long pushed for an official visit by a member of the British monarchy.
Other members of William’s family — including his father Prince Charles — have made unofficial visits to Israel and east Jerusalem in the past.
During the trip, William will have plenty of reminders of Britain’s role in the region.
In Jerusalem, he will stay at the King David hotel, which was Britain’s administrative headquarters during its rule of Palestine prior to Israeli statehood in 1948.
In 1946, militant Jews waging violent resistance against British rule bombed the building, killing and wounding scores of people, many of them British civil servants or military personnel.
Whilst in Jerusalem, William will lay a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
He will also visit the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and pay tribute at the tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who has been honoured by Israel for sheltering Jews during World War II.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, he is to hold talks with Abbas and also meet Palestinian refugees and young people.