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Meghan Markle, 38, and Prince Harry, 35, have kept their roles as presidents of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust despite their royal step down. The couple, who are now based in LA, recently caught up with some of the trust’s ambassadors on a video call.
During the call, Prince Harry spoke of a need to “acknowledge the past” and “right” previous “wrongs” of the Commonwealth in a speech which has divided public opinion.
Harry 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.”
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While some have deemed Harry’s to be an attack on the Queen, others have praised him for speaking out.
Royal expert Robert Hardman was among commentators to criticise Harry’s words claiming “you are devaluing one of the great successes of your grandmother’s record-breaking reign,” in an open letter to the Daily Mail.
However, he has been praised for the move by others.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “Harry and Meghan’s are President and Vice-President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust which “champions funds and connects young leaders who are working to change the world”. The vast majority in Commonwealth countries are under 30.
“It is therefore unsurprising that their recent video call focused on historic wrongs such as the terrible transatlantic slave trade and, in the wake of the Black Lives Movement, the corrosive problem of racism.”
He added: “Meghan spoke powerfully to the graduates of her school about this.”
While Mr Fitzwilliams commended Harry and Meghan for addressing a difficult subject he claims their tone was “unconscionably ‘woke.”
Mr Fitzwilliams added: “However, the language they used was unconscionably ‘woke’ and their concentration on this issue alone with youth leaders was also an opportunity missed.
“The Commonwealth is so close to the Queen’s heart but, apart from CHOGM meetings and the Commonwealth Games, it gets so little publicity.
“Yet it is home to more than 80 intergovernmental organisations and does so much good. Harry and Meghan’s intervention received global coverage.
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Mr Fitzwilliams believes the couple missed an opportunity by not mentioning some of the Commonwealth’s more positive aspects.
He added: “Could they not think of a positive message to send as well as rightfully examining past wrongs?
“The royal family will not have been impressed by their handling of events which could have been so different and should have been so much more constructive.”
Tory peer Lord Howell of Guildford has since spoken out to defend Harry claiming the Queen will have “fully understood the context” of Harry’s speech.
Appearing on the Daily Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, Lord Howell said: “I would think she fully understood the context.
“He’s been very active and committed to Commonwealth activities.
“He’s a real champion of the Commonwealth and I think he was trying to explain to others outside Government where we are going.
“I would have thought she understood it fully, frankly.”
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