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Prince William Accused of 'Performative PR' on Racism After Meghan Silence

Newsweek 3/20/2023 Jack Royston
Prince William is seen visiting the Open Door Charity, in Birkenhead, England, on January 12, 2023. Meghan Markle is seen at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, at Zuiderpark, Netherlands, on April 17, 2022. © Jon Super-WPA Pool/Getty Images and Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation Prince William is seen visiting the Open Door Charity, in Birkenhead, England, on January 12, 2023. Meghan Markle is seen at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, at Zuiderpark, Netherlands, on April 17, 2022.

Prince William spoke out against racism in football, but he "does not do what's needed in protecting his own sister-in-law," Meghan Markle, an author told Newsweek.

The Prince of Wales wrote to Alpha United Juniors, based in Bradford, England, after its coaches and players as young as seven were targets of abuse, Sky News reported. The team's management have been pressing their local football association for support in dealing with racist comments and threats of violence made from the sidelines during games.


In the letter, William wrote: "Racism and abuse has no place in our society. Abhorrent behaviour of this nature must stop now and all those responsible be held to account."

The prince said he contacted the Football Association, English soccer's governing body, of which he is president, about the team's experiences. The letter only became public after it was given to the media by the club.

However, not everyone supported William's move, with some on Twitter suggesting he should have intervened to help Meghan deal with racism.

Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, the author of This Is Why I Resist, told Newsweek: "The problem with William is that he lacks real credibility on race, racism and race relations because he did not tackle the racism under his own roof, in his own family.

"So who in their right mind would believe him when he says racism has no place in our society—we know that. But we also know our society is built on racism. It's built on the foundations of white supremacy which he and his family have failed to dismantle.

"So when Prince William does not do what's needed in protecting his own sister-in-law from racism, which he says has no place in our society, then why in heavens should anyone believe him when he's responding to young people or the rest of the public about his feelings about racism.

"What he ought to do is lead by example, and it's never too late to lead by example. I think he has to fess up that he messed up with Meghan Markle. That goes someway with people saying 'okay, you get what you did wrong'."

"I think Prince William lacks credibility," she continued, "and the only way he can start to gain any legitimacy on having grounds to speak on racism having no place in our society is for him to clean up his house first of all. I mean, he's going to be our next king."

One viral Twitter post, viewed more than 100k times, read: "Every time Prince William publicly defends footballers who are racially abused, but publicly stays silent on the racism his brother's wife and children face, he opens himself up to very valid accusations of performative PR; anti-racism isn't a pick 'n' mix in a sweetie shop."

Prince Harry has previously expressed his disappointment that his family didn't go on the record to condemn racism directed at Meghan.

He told Oprah Winfrey in 2021: "One of the most telling parts—and the saddest parts, I guess—was over 70 Members of Parliament, female Members of Parliament, both Conservative and Labour—came out and called out the  colonial undertones of articles and headlines written about Meghan.

"Yet no one from my family ever said anything over those three years. And  that hurts."

Quoted by the Daily Mirror, Mohammed Waheed, who founded the soccer club 10 years ago, said of William's letter: "It was nice to hear. Knowing that he's raised it. We've had 10 years of this, from the first match we played we saw racism.

"It was my under-14s team. We have had kids that have dropped out because of the abuse."

He said the problem got worse after Brexit: "You can't abandon the game because you get fined by the FA."

Jack Royston is the chief royal correspondent at Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email We'd love to hear from you.

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