The Full Story Behind Meghan Markle's Claim on Racism, Archie and Titles

Meghan Markle's comments on Archie being denied a Prince title strike to the heart of Prince Charles' future plans to slim down the monarchy, Newsweek has learned.

The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey and a global audience of millions how conversations about Archie's title had implications for whether he would get security.

And she added that they took place around the time comments were made to Prince Harry about how dark their child's skin would be.

An insider told Newsweek the remarks were part of discussions around "slimming down" the monarchy, Prince Charles' longstanding vision intended to save money.

Meghan's comments therefore indicate she saw racism in the way the family discussed its very future as an institution.

The duchess told Oprah: "In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born."

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Prince Charles
Meghan Markle, Prince Charles and Prince Harry attend Royal Ascot Day 1 at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2018 in Ascot, United Kingdom. Meghan told Oprah there were discussions about changing the rules so Archie would not get a title. Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

She added that the "idea of the first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be... it's not their right to take away."

Meghan's comments have been questioned both on social media and in the press, with commentators pointing out the rules governing titles date back to a 1917 declaration by George V.

Meghan mentions the convention in her interview and it was changed in 2013 to allow all of Prince William's children to become princes or princesses.

However, an insider close to the Sussexes told Newsweek Meghan was not referring to either of those rules.

Instead, she was describing changes that were put up for discussion, but not so far enacted, as part of discussion to fundamentally rearrange the royalty as an institution.

The Prince of Wales' plans for a "slimmed down" monarchy have been well publicized—but were already known to have caused consternation with the Sussexes.

While Meghan and Harry were in Canada contemplating whether they could remain as working royals, Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas message showed a series of photos on her desk.

Biography Finding Freedom states: "Harry felt as though he and Meghan had long been side-lined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future.

"One didn't have to look further than the family photos displayed during the Queen's Speech on Christmas Day.

"In the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen delivered her address, viewers glimpsed photos of the Cambridges and their children, Charles and Camilla, Prince Philip, and a black-and-white image of the sovereign's father, King George VI.

"Noticeably absent was a photo of Harry, Meghan and their new baby Archie.

"Palace sources insisted that the photos were chosen to represent the direct line of succession, but for Harry and Meghan, it was yet another sign that they needed to consider their own path."

However, Meghan's bombshell revelations on Sunday night show for the first time Prince Harry and Meghan may have viewed the fundamental discussions for re-formulating the monarchy through the prism of racism.

Historian Robert Lacey writes in Battle of Brothers how Prince Charles' slimming down plans dated back to the 1990s, when he felt the large number of royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony sent the wrong message.

Lacey writes: "This was Prince Charles' special crusade. In an age of slimming, the future monarch wanted to slim down the House of Windsor.

"Charles' idea was to reduce the public face of the monarchy to just the sovereign and their consort, plus those children and grandchildren who were directly in the senior bloodline—with no more uncles and cousins to be reckoned up by the dozen, no more aunts."

In 1996, this meant his brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, stepping back as well as the Duke of York's children Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, then aged just eight and six.

#EXCLUSIVE: Prince Harry reveals to @Oprah a “large part of” the reason he and Meghan left the UK was because of racism. #OprahMeghanHarry pic.twitter.com/ksAZWargg1

— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 8, 2021

Prince Charles did not get his way back then, in part after a fight back from Prince Andrew.

However, the issue returned in recent years and insiders told Newsweek during discussions Prince Harry and Meghan were told the rule on titles would be changed and this would have implications for security.

However, Prince Charles' plans to slim down the monarchy appear not to have been realized yet—with the royal family struggling for the impact they had while Harry and Meghan were on board.

In January 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan announced plans to step back as senior members of the Royal family. In this exclusive clip, they tell @Oprah they were then invited to spend time with his grandmother, the Queen, but the plans abruptly changed citing she's "busy all week." pic.twitter.com/dLhq0SAgfN

— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 8, 2021

The monarchy appears to have catapulted the Earl and Countess of Wessex to the fore, giving them prominence they did not have before.

The change has not gone unnoticed in the media, with one report describing Sophie Wessex as the royal family's "secret weapon" in April 2020, shortly after Meghan and Harry completed their final engagements in March that year.

Town and Country noted: "You may not know much about the Queen's daughter-in-law, but with the Sussexes and Prince Andrew stepping back from royal duties, she's more important than ever."

Queen Elizabeth With Not Slimmed Down Monarchy
Queen Elizabeth II with her not yet slimmed down monarchy of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne, Princess Royal wait to thank local volunteers and key workers for the work they are doing during the coronavirus pandemic and over Christmas in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle on December 8, 2020 in Windsor, England. Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

At Christmas this year, Prince William and Kate Middleton embarked on a controversial royal train tour of Britain to praise front line workers for fighting the pandemic, despite rules against all but essential travel.

When they arrived back in London the royal family—minus Harry and Meghan who had stepped back from royal duties—stood in Windsor Castle together in a show of unity.

However, represented in this group were more than just the direct heirs.

Queen Elizabeth II stood at the centre, surrounded by Prince William and Kate Middleton, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne.

The newspapers have described the new-look royal firm as the "magnificent seven"—a line-up which would have had plenty of space for Harry and Meghan.

A Buckingham Palace statement on behalf of the Queen yesterday read: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

"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.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."