Prince Charles's spokesman rejects claim he asked about Harry, Meghan's children's skin tone - NBC News

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LONDON — Prince Charles’s spokesman has dismissed as “fiction” claims that the heir to the throne discussed the potential skin tone of the children of Prince Harry and his wife-to-be, Meghan Markle.

Charles was reported to have wondered about the skin color of the couple’s future children over breakfast with his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, around the time of the couple’s engagement, according to “Brothers and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan,” by the longtime royal writer Christopher Andersen.

The book says Charles asked his wife, “What do you suppose their children’s complexion might be?”

The book says the comments were twisted into something toxic by royal advisers and shared with Harry and Meghan, who is biracial.

In an interview Monday on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Andersen said, "On the morning that the engagement of Harry and Meghan was announced, in a very kind of benign way, Prince Charles started to muse on what their future grandchildren might look like."

Charles’ spokesman told reporters in Barbados that the claim “is fiction and not worth further comment,” Reuters reported. Charles traveled to Barbados on Sunday to take part in celebrations marking its move to a republic.

The New York Post reported the same comment by a spokesperson.

Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and Clarence House have not responded to requests for comment. Harry and Meghan's representatives declined to comment on the record.

Meghan and Harry, who were married in May 2018, first made explosive claims about a skin tone question by a royal insider in their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. At the time, Harry said the person had asked how dark their first child, Archie, might be, Meghan said.

Harry told Winfrey: “At the time, it was awkward. I was a bit shocked.”

Neither Meghan nor Harry would reveal who made the remarks. Winfrey clarified after the interview that they said it was not the queen or her late husband, Prince Philip.

Before Prince Harry’s departure from his royal role, the British media widely reported that there was a rift between him and his brother, William. Richard Pohle / Pool via Getty Images file

After the interview, Buckingham Palace issued a rare statement saying the family was “saddened” to learn of the challenges the couple faced and that the issues they raised about race were “concerning.”

“While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately,” the statement said. 

Days later, an official engagement, Prince William responded to a reporter’s question by saying, “We’re very much not a racist family.” At the time, he said he had not yet spoken to his brother, “but I plan to.”

Harry and Meghan announced their decision to step back from their roles as senior royals in January 2020. At the time, details of their exact arrangement with the royal family were still being worked out, with the queen acknowledging that they were “complex matters.”

Andersen said multiple sources verified reporting in the book.

The book also details William’s concerns that Harry was rushing to marry Meghan, and it says William advised Harry to “take whatever time you need to really get to know this girl.”

Harry is alleged to have reacted, “Who the hell do you think you are, brother?” 

Before Harry left his royal role, the British media widely reported that there was a rift between the brothers. The book said their relationship became more strained in December 2019, after Harry and Meghan chose to spend Christmas in Canada.

Before the queen recorded her traditional Christmas message that year, which was televised on Christmas Day, she asked that a portrait of Harry, Meghan and Archie be removed, according to the book. 

William was shocked when he saw that the photo was gone and told his wife that Harry would be “terribly upset,” according to the book.

"She loves all of her children and grandchildren, there’s no doubt about that," Andersen said on “TODAY.” "But when it comes to the firm, as they call it in the royal family, she is all business. That’s why she wouldn’t allow Harry and Meghan to remain as part-time royals on the terms that they wanted."

A spokesperson for the queen told the New York Post: “We don't comment on books of this kind as to do so risks giving it some form of authority or credibility."

Kelly Cobiella

Kelly Cobiella is a correspondent based in London. She previously worked at CBS News and ABC News in London, following several years with CBS in New York, Dallas and Miami.

Rachel Elbaum is a London-based editor, producer and writer. 

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