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Harry and Meghan should speak about ‘misgivings’, Mandela’s granddaughter says

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hold their son Archie during a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa (PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hold their son Archie during a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa (PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex should be allowed room to voice “whatever their misgivings are” about their lives in the royal family, the granddaughter of former South African president Nelson Mandela has said.

Activist Ndileka Mandela was asked on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme if she believes that Harry and Meghan were victims of racism in this country.

It comes after a row about whether members of the royal family discussed the potential appearance of the mixed-race couple’s unborn baby.

Invictus Games – Dusseldorf
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Ms Mandela’s grandfather became the first president of a post-apartheid and democratic South Africa with a landslide victory when the country held its first national non-racial elections in April 1994.

This happened after he decided to follow his own path, according to Ms Mandela, who said the royal family should acknowledge its part in colonialism and could perhaps consider reparations.

She told the programme: “I believe that Harry and Meghan had to find their own voice, in a similar way that granddad had to find his own voice when he had to run away from an arranged marriage. So they should be given, like any other person, room to voice out whatever their misgivings are.

“I cannot speak to whether Harry and Meghan’s children have been discriminated. I don’t have first-hand information of that.

“However, I can say that he should be allowed to voice out whatever it is that he wants to voice out and to choose his own path. Had granddad not chosen his own path when he ran away from an arranged marriage, we would not have the South Africa that we talk about today.

“So people should be allowed to present different journeys and should be allowed to walk different journeys in life.”

A race row has erupted over the book Endgame which paints unflattering portraits of several royals.

The Dutch version of the book – which was recalled – pointed the finger at two senior royals who were alleged to have raised “concerns” about the possible skin colour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie, before he was born.

While the English version made no mention of who said what, the Dutch version made headlines around the world and saw the book pulled from shelves.

Author Mr Scobie insists he never included any names in the original text.

Ms Mandela was also asked on the programme if she thought the royal family should think about paying reparations.

King reshuffles military appointments
The royal family should think about paying reparations, a campaigner said (Victoria Jones/PA)

She said: “I think it starts with acknowledging before reparations. If there can be an acknowledgment of what was done to countries that were colonised because we are still suffering a great deal from colonisation in as far as our culture as black people is concerned.”

She said there “has got to be first admission of the things” and a situation created where someone is saying “yes, that we acknowledge that we displaced you as a people, then you can talk of reparations”.

On whether she would like to see such a move from the British royal family, Ms Mandela added: “Yes I would, that is where healing begins.”

She said: “If you sit around the table and admit your part, both parties admit their part in the dissolution of whatever it is that happened, it is then that healing begins. If that happens then the healing will definitely begin.”

Historian Andrew Roberts disagreed with Ms Mandela’s view on colonialism and reparations, stating that “no king has owned slaves since Charles II”.

He also told the programme that it is within the duke’s power to quell the race row, stating “it is absolutely up to Prince Harry to say that this a terrible lie” and that members of his family “are not racists”.