BAME leaders say Royals are not racist: First black Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol Peaches Golding is latest prominent figure to back Queen in wake of racism claims made by Meghan Markle
- Lord-Lieutenant Golding said she didn’t ‘believe in the least’ that royals are racist
- Said that comments about Archie could have been ‘clumsy’ but context needed
- Royals also defended by choir head Karen Gibson MBE and Sir Kenneth Olisa
The first black Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol Peaches Golding today became the latest of Britain’s BAME leaders to defend the Royal Family against claims of racism made by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in their bombshell Oprah interview.
Today, Lord-Lieutenant Golding said she did ‘not believe in the least’ allegations they were racist.
Lord-Lieutenant Golding, 67, added that remarks about Archie being ‘brown’ could have been ‘clumsy’ but did not necessarily amount to racism. She said the public did not know anything about the discussions and did not have any context.
Her comments on the BBC’s Today Programme come after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle claimed an unnamed member of the royal family had asked how ‘dark’ their son Archie’s skin would be.
It came as Karen Gibson, who led the gospel choir that sung at Meghan and Harry’s wedding, came forward to defend Prince Charles, while the Queen’s Lord Lieutenant Sir Kenneth Olisa called for a ‘moment’s pause and reflection’.
Today, Lord-Lieutenant Golding said she did ‘not believe in the least’ allegations that the Royal Family were racist
Lord-Lieutenant Golding told BBC’s Today programme: ‘[the comments] are not necessarily unacceptable. I know many people have an interest in new babies and what new babies are going to bring to us.
‘I do not know what anyone’s intention may be. It is very easy in life to be slightly clumsy, sometimes because you are in a different situation.
‘You might be feeling very tender and have uncertainty yourself about things. You do not know what people’s intentions are, you do not know the context, you do not know anything about how discussions came about.
‘I bet in your family you have had that question about ‘what is little girl baby or little boy baby going to do – are his eyes going to be blue’?
Lord-Lieutenant Golding, who has been appointed OBE for her services to black and minority people in the South West, said she had extensive experience working with the likes of Prince Charles and was not convinced by Harry and Meghan’s claims earlier this week.
‘I do not believe in the least that they are racist,’ she said.
‘The Lord-Lieutenant works across the five royal palaces and we have all sorts of activities and relationships. I can say they are a very respectful group of people and I have never encountered racism at all.’
It came as the founder of the black choir who were invited to sing at Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018 said she did not believe Prince Charles was racist.
Karen Gibson, founder and choir leader, has defended Prince Charles, saying he invited her choir to the wedding
Karen Gibson MBE led her London-based Kingdom Choir in a widely-acclaimed rendition of soul classic Stand By Me at the May 2018 nuptials at Windsor Castle.
Ms Gibson told TMZ it was Charles who invited them to perform at the wedding and that he had gone ‘out of his way’ to congratulate them on their success since.
The conductor said she was ‘finding it hard to believe’ that it could have been Charles who said anything about the couple’s unborn baby being ‘too dark.’
Meanwhile, the Queen’s first black Lord-Lieutenant Sir Kenneth Olisa said every royal he has met has been ‘charming and inclusive’
Meanwhile, the Queen’s first black Lord-Lieutenant Sir Kenneth Olisa said every royal he has met has been ‘charming and inclusive’ and batted away accusations that some members were racist.
He lauded the Queen for her dedication to millions of people across the Commonwealth ‘no matter what their colour or creed’.
Sir Kenneth, who was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London in May 2015, wrote in the Daily Mail: ‘I have had the privilege of meeting all of the members of the Royal Family on many occasions — and I can confirm that they are charming and inclusive.
‘That is not just my perception — it is one shared by the many thousands of people whom I have seen react to the special ‘pixie dust’ which a royal visitor sprinkles over those they meet.
‘As head of the nation, the sovereign acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride; she gives a sense of stability and continuity.
‘Her close links with, and affection for, the Commonwealth remind us of her affiliation to all her subjects, no matter what their colour or creed.’
Harry and Meghan chose to rule out that the remark was made by the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh, leaving the allegation to hang over the remaining senior royals, including Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.
The serious claim prompted William yesterday, on a visit to a school in east London, to emphatically deny the charge.
‘We are very much not a racist family,’ he told a reporter.
Buckingham Palace earlier this week issued a rare statement on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen to say how ‘saddened’ the family were by how unhappy Harry and Meghan told Oprah they had been.
It said: ‘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.’
The choirmaster Ms Gibson also revealed this week how it had been difficult to get Harry and Meghan to agree to a version of Ben E. King’s song for the wedding.
She told The Sun: ‘They wanted the song stripped back, without a beat. Gospel is very lively and vibrant so it took a while for us to understand what they meant.
‘We sent 12 versions to them over email but none were approved so, in the end, we had to go with what we thought was best.
Prince Charles had been ‘gracious’ towards the choir, the founder told TMZ
‘We performed one version in front of them at Kensington Palace and they said, ‘That’s it.”
She added that the newlyweds sent them a thank you card after the wedding.
The royal family has been fighting off claims that they are racist, after Meghan, who has a black mother and a white father, told Oprah that someone within the family asked how ‘dark’ her son Archie’s skin would be.
Meghan also revealed that she had found her experience of living as a royal so unbearable that she had considered killing herself.
Harry told Oprah that he felt ‘trapped’ within the monarchy and said that his father, Charles, and brother, William, remained trapped by it.
He said that chief among his concerns for his wife had been ‘history repeating itself,’ a reference to his mother Princess Diana’s death in Paris in 1997.
On Thursday Prince William became the first senior royal to address directly the string of allegations made by Harry and Meghan in their explosive interview.
He also confirmed the depth of the rift between him and his brother.
William admitted he had not even spoken to Harry about the TV show – four days after it aired.
The Queen and Prince Charles (pictured together in 2019) have backed Prince William after he spoke out to insist the Royal Family are ‘very much not a racist family’ as the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview continues to grow
Asked whether his family were racist, William replied: ”We’re very much not a racist family.’
His reaction laid bare his clear hurt over the claims made by his brother and sister-in-law.
The prince’s comments were praised by insiders, who said the 38-year-old did ‘very well given the emotion and enormity of it all’.
On Thursday night, royal insiders claimed that although William and Harry have not spoken in months, the elder brother is prepared to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the Duke of Sussex at the unveiling of a statue of their late mother.
Sources told the Mirror ‘both camps are prepared to come together’ and put on a ‘united front’ when the tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales is installed at Kensington Palace on July 1.
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