Prince Harry has urged the Commonwealth, which his grandmother heads, to acknowledge its uncomfortable colonial past, in video extracts published on Monday.
The 35-year-old royal and his wife, Meghan, joined a video conference call with leaders organised by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) from their base in the United States.
The sessions were set up in response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a US police arrest.
Harry last week outlined his personal commitment to tackling institutional racism, saying it had “no place” in society but was still too widespread.
On the July 1 call, posted on the QCT website, he 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.”
Meanwhile, Markle 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,” she added.
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Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth, a non-political organisation of 54 countries, most of which have links to the British Empire. Pakistan is also part of the Commonwealth. It comprises of 2.4 billion people — a quarter of the world’s population — of which 60 percent are aged under 30.
The QCT was set up to give younger people from member nations a platform to share ideas and insights. The couple is president and vice-president respectively of the QCT.
The chief executive of the QCT, Nicola Brentnall, has said the body is studying how the Commonwealth’s colonial past and its legacy should shape its future.
Harry and Meghan stepped down from frontline royal duties this year and have set up a non-profit organisation focusing on the promoting of mental health, education and well-being.