The Duchess of Sussex said there were "concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie's] skin might be when he's born"

By Simon Perry and Stephanie Petit
March 18, 2021 03:05 PM
Advertisement

Prince Charles has felt "let down" by son Prince Harry and daughter-in-law Meghan Markle's allegations of racism within the royal family.

During the couple's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month, the Duchess of Sussex said there were "concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie's] skin might be when he's born" within the royal family. Although they did not specify who made the comment, Oprah later clarified that it was neither Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip.

Prince Charles "feels enormously let down" by the claims of racism made in the interview, a source close to the royal household tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.

"The prince believes in diversity and his actions show that," the source continues. "He was the first person to highlight the Windrush generation [the first mass immigration from the Caribbean to the U.K. in the 1950s] and the contributions they made to British society. He has worked hard for the Muslim community. Of all the members of the royal family, he has taken this issue the most seriously."

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Meghan Markle, Prince Charles and Prince Harry
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage
3/29 cover story

A palace source adds that Prince Harry, 36, and Prince William, 38, have always had a "complicated relationship" with their father.

Get the premiere issue of PEOPLE Royals for glamorous new photos and inside stories royals fans haven't seen or read elsewhere! Subscribe at peopleroyals.com/launch

"It's not a straightforward father-son relationship," the palace source says. "He is their father and their boss, and they are beholden to him to fund their offices and lives."

Harry shared during the Oprah interview that his father stopped taking his calls at one point following the couple's decision to step down as senior royals.

Prince Charles and Harry
Prince Charles and Prince Harry
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

"I feel really let down because he's been through something similar. He knows what pain is like," Harry said. "And Archie's his grandson."

He continued, "Of course, I will always love him, but there's a lot of hurt that's happened. And I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship."

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! 

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth is "worried" about how the racism claims affect the Commonwealth, the 54 countries around the world which view the Queen as their monarch and head of state.

"She will be very worried about how [the racism claims] have gone down in countries she has supported and loved and given her life to throughout her reign," says a royal insider.