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'Living in Meghan's shoes' helped Prince Harry see racial bias

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The Duke of Sussex has admitted his upbringing as a member of the Royal Family meant he had no understanding of unconscious racial bias.

Prince Harry said it took him many years - and the experience of "living" in his wife Meghan's shoes - to recognise the issue.

"I had no idea it existed," he said.

The duke made the remarks in conversation with Black Lives Matter supporter Patrick Hutchinson at the launch of British GQ's Heroes Festival.

Mr Hutchinson, a personal trainer, rose to fame after he was photographed carrying an injured white man to safety during a clash between protest groups, an act which Harry praised him for.

Speaking from his home in Santa Barbara, California, via video call, the duke said said: "No one's pointing the fingers. You can't really point fingers, especially when it comes to unconscious bias.

"But once you realise or you feel a little bit uncomfortable, then the onus is on you to go out and educate yourself because ignorance is no longer an excuse.

"And unconscious bias, from my understanding, having the upbringing and the education that I had, I had no idea what it was. I had no idea it existed.

"And then, sad as it is to say, it took me many, many years to realise it, especially then living a day or a week in my wife's shoes."

'So much we can do'

As the son of the Prince of Wales, the duke had all the privileges associated with his position and was educated at the exclusive Eton College, in Berkshire, before training as an Army officer at Sandhurst.

The duke and the duchess have spoken extensively about race in recent months, including an article in the Evening Standard to mark Black History Month, in which they said there was a lost generation of "people of colour".

Last year, the duke wrote in an edition of Vogue, which he guest edited, that unconscious bias was something "many people do not understand" and that it could lead to racism.

During his talk with Mr Hutchinson Prince Harry urged people of all backgrounds to get involved in racial issues.

He said: "This is a global movement. The train has left the station.

"If you're not on it now then get on it because there's so much that we can do.

"And being a dad myself, the whole point in life, I guess, for me, is to try to leave the world in a better place than when you found it."

The duke and the personal trainer were brought together by the men's magazine as part of its content in support of Black History Month.

image copyrightReuters
image captionPatrick Hutchinson carries an injured demonstrator

Speaking about the incident during the protest in June, Mr Hutchinson said: "We were pleased that we'd been able to avert a serious, serious situation. Yeah, I would do it for anybody and I would do it time and time again. It's just not something you think about."

He added that the issues behind the racial equality protests "make you wonder why people find it so hard to understand what we're all striving for: the equality side of things".

Harry described him as a "shining example of how every single human being should operate and work and function".

"Even at a time when you have two groups that are at each other on such a visceral level, all that aside, no red mist in you, you just came in, you did what was necessary and you saved a life," he said.

The pair also spoke about staying "mentally sharp" during lockdown and the importance of men looking after their mental health.

The duke said: "For men who are isolated by themselves this can be a really dark place, unless you know the different solutions or different distractions that you can put into your life, whether it's going for a great walk or a run or just doing something that keeps you mentally and physically fit."

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