HAVING watched the interview of Harry and Meghan by Oprah Winfrey ("Queen and Philip not behind racist comments about Archie’s skin tone", The Herald, March 9), I was reminded of the words of the American author Brandon Sanderson: "Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack."

Their relationship was originally greeted with such great hopes. The very popular Prince meeting up with and marrying an American actress, with opinions, of mixed parentage. It promised so much and appeared to show that the royal family was able to move with the times and be more representative of the country which it served. The tone of the interview illustrated how far those early hopes were to be unrealised. It is, I believe, unseemly for such accusations to be publicised on the airwaves like this.

Why did it all go wrong? The answer to that question is undoubtedly complicated and probably rests upon a clash of personalities, concerns about pecking orders, and compliance with royal protocol. In some ways, the interview sounded somewhat like a "J'accuse" directed at the royal family, who must stand damaged as a result, particularly in relation to the averments of racism. However one wishes to account for the unfortunate situation which developed, the departure of the couple has been a major missed opportunity for the enhancement of the image and reputation of the royal family. One should not fail to remember that the interview was somewhat one-sided and that there are, as they say, two sides to every story.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


SO the Duke and Duchess of Global Kindness and Compassion unleash a diatribe of allegations against his immediate family and moan about how difficult the past two years have been for them, one of the most privileged and wealthy couples in the world, while that world is still trying to deal with the dreadful effects of the worst pandemic since 1918, effectively trashing the next two monarchs while his grandfather, the consort of the current monarch, lies ill in hospital aged almost 100, and damaging the UK’s relationship not only with our most important ally but probably also with the Commonwealth which his grandmother has nurtured for 70 years.

Thank goodness Meghan’s father has injected a note of realism into their implications on the inevitable “racist” complaints (milked for all their worth by Oprah Winfrey and others in the UK without knowing the full context); and as others here with mixed race children have confirmed, is a very normal question to ask during pregnancy, just as wondering if the ginger hair of one parent might pass down the line. While of course there may be something more unpleasant underlying it, such an innocent remark does not necessarily make the questioner a paid-up KKK member; and as Mr Markle has said, California is more racist than the UK.

As for her mental health problems, common for many pregnant and post-birth women, could she not have gone privately to Harley Street without expecting “the Firm” to organise some form of support?

And why had her husband not given her a full briefing on royal life, pre-engagement, and what on earth was he doing during all these difficult times? Did they only read the tabloid papers? Good grief, they were not children like his mother was at her marriage; they were in their mid-to-late thirties.

John Birkett, St Andrews.


UZMA Mir writes today that, as a mixed race mother, she understands how a pregnant Meghan must have felt ("I’m a mixed race mother – I understand how a pregnant Meghan must have felt", The Herald, March 9). Oddly enough, as a white Scottish male, so can I. My wife is British Asian (I think that is the official census classification), born in Uganda to immigrants from India – one Sikh, one Hindu; clearly breakers of taboos, which maybe helps explain why she married this gora.

In my 40-year flying career, I spent the first 10 years in the RAF, and encountered very little racism. However, the next 30 years were spent working for the UK’s flag carrier airline, where racist behaviour was commonplace. When, as a junior pilot, I complained about senior colleagues using grossly racist language in our workplace, the aircraft cockpit, I was told by my chief pilot that racism is normal and he couldn’t do anything about it. Another manager told me that, because I had objected to a senior training captain using the word "coon", I would have "difficulties" when I next undertook a training course.

The most revealing comment in the Oprah interview came not from Meghan, but from Prince Harry, who said that racism was “a large part” of his decision to leave the UK. That comment should give us all pause for thought. Working and living in an environment where racism is only thinly disguised, not tackled, is incredibly stressful and I can understand why Meghan found it overwhelming at times. She and her family are well out of it.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


HAVING noted the privacy-seeking Meghan and Harry opening up to the world on the Oprah interview from the La-La-Land of sunny California, two thoughts occurred. First, how right the old saying is that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned", and secondly, what a lucky escape the rest of us have had from having to put up here with the embarrassment of this grievance-ridden gibberish-spouting pair now luxuriously ensconced in their self-imposed exile abroad.

Contrast that with the selfless work of the senior members of "The Firm" back here. I only hope they stick to their “don’t complain and don’t explain" attitude which has served them well over the years.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.


LIKE the majority, I have no way of knowing, or judging, the rights and wrongs in the royal family dispute. But it is now a world-wide story, and is causing reputational damage by the way the tabloid press is allowed to operate in the UK. It’s a pity that the Leveson inquiry recommendations (for England and Wales) were never implemented.

It’s never too late, but we now have a Tory Government even less interested in press reform than David Cameron was (if that is possible). It all just adds to the declining reputation the UK now “enjoys” abroad. The royals. Ripping up signed treaties. Breaching international law. International condemnation over the continued colonial occupation over the Chagos Islands, in the face of repeated defeats in international courts and the United nations. Soft power? Quickly seeping away. An increasingly one-party, tin-pot dictatorship, in a failing state.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


FOLLOWING the furore unleashed by the Meghan and Harry now interview, and given the growing fashion for referendums to address British constitutional crises and existential angst, should there not be a British monarchy referendum?

To keep matters simple, a binary Yes/No would do – the people's preferred reasoning tool; not to mention that by now the British public has got the hang of it and is not too taxing. Buses would go up and down the country, with obscene figures on their sides; whether accurate or not would be neither here nor there – what would matter most would be emotions, not facts.

British people could seek to "get back control" – from whom and what for would be a mere bagatelle best kicked in the long grass, like everything else. To keep this referendum aligned with the EU referendum, those most affected, the royal family, should be prevented from voting – as were EU nationals in the EU referendum; public policies, after all, are mostly devised by those least affected by them.

Giving the vote to 16-year-olds would of course be out of the question, as those who speak for them always know best (anyway, they were alleged not to care about the EU, why should they care about the British monarchy?). The BBC would be in its element by declaring an advisory referendum to be binding – either way.

What would be very much de rigueur, although harder to devise as they would not involve foreigners or the EU (although some Turks thrown in may assist), would be slogans – "If you're a monarch of the world, you're a monarch of nowhere'" "No more queue-jumping monarchs"? "Get Monarxit done"? Would it be any more absurd than the EU referendum was? I don’t think so.

Patrice Fabien, Glasgow.

Read more: I understand how a pregnant Meghan must have felt