“When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past,” Prince Harry, 35, said during a July 1 session of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. As president of the QCT, Harry — and wife Meghan Markle, 38, who serves at the vice-president – joined that week’s QCT discussion to speak about the international Black Lives Matter protests. During the chat, Harry seemed to call out his family – aka the British Royal family and, essentially, England itself – for its past of colonization.
“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,” he said. “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.
“We can’t deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been educated to see the world differently,” added Harry. “However, once you start to realize that there is that bias there, then you need to acknowledge it, you need to do the work to become more aware … so that you can help stand up for something that is so wrong and should not be acceptable in our society today.”
“It’s not just in the big moments, it’s in the quiet moments where racism and unconscious bias lies and thrives,” said Meghan. “It makes it confusing for a lot of people to understand the role that they play in that, both passively and actively. We’re going to get there, and we have a lot of renewed faith and energy in that having had this conversation.”
There’s an old saying – “The sun never sets on the British empire” – due to the country’s colonizing efforts. The Commonwealth itself is made up of 54 nations, almost all of which were previously ruled by Britain. The recent Black Lives Matter protests has forced the UK to reassess its colonization past and come to grips with how exactly Great Britain got to be so “great.”
On the call, Harry and Meghan spoke with QCT Trustee and co-founder and co-CEO of We Belong, Chrisann Jarrett; Alicia Wallace, the director of Equality Bahamas;, founder and CEO of The Common Sense Network founder and CEO, Mike Omoniyi; and Abdullahi Alim, who PEOPLE notes, “leads the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers network of emerging young leaders in Africa and the Middle East.” Though Harry and Meghan have stepped down from their royal family duties, they have remained active within the QCT.
Harry recently apologized for his generation and the one before his for having not done enough to battle racial injustice. “I, too, am sorry. Sorry that we haven’t got the world to the place that you deserve it to be,” he said during the 2020 Diana Wards ceremony on July 1, per CNN. “Institutional racism has no place in our societies, yet it is still endemic. Unconscious bias must be acknowledged without blame to create a better world for all of you.”