The Prime Minister tonight said he had “ always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role that she plays in our country and across the Commonwealth” when questioned over accusations made in Harry and Meghan’s candid interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired in the US on Sunday night.
The pair accused an unnamed royal of racism, suggested the family were jealous of Meghan and revealed that she contemplated taking her own life while pregnant in the interview.
But Mr Johnson would not comment on the interview, and his spokesman said he had not even seen it.
“Neither he nor I have seen the interview,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, when asked whether Mr Johnson believed allegations of racism should be taken seriously.
Asked whether it was unacceptable to ask questions about the skin colour of an unborn child, the spokesman said Mr Johnson had previously said there was “no place in society” for racism.
The spokesman said he was unaware whether a transcript of the interview had been shown to the Prime Minister.
And the aide also said he had not discussed the interview – which has dominated the news agenda in the UK and been covered around the world – with the Prime Minister.
Speaking from Downing Street last night Mr Johnson said: “I have spent a long time now not commenting on royal family matters and I don’t intend to depart from that today”.
And pressed on whether he believed the royal family was racist, he again refused to comment, and said: “I really think that when it comes to matters to do with the royal family, the right thing for prime ministers to say is nothing – and nothing is the thing that I propose to say today about that particular matter.”
Earlier, children’s minister Vicky Ford told BBC Breakfast she had not seen the interview but added: “There’s no place for racism in our society and we all need to work together to stop it.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The issues that Meghan has raised of racism and mental health are really serious issues.
“It is a reminder that too many people experience racism in 21st century Britain. We have to take that very, very seriously.”
Shadow education secretary Kate Green told Sky News: “If there are allegations of racism, I would expect them to be treated by the palace with the utmost seriousness and fully investigated.”
But a senior member of the Government said Harry was “blowing up his family”.
Foreign Office Minister Lord Goldsmith made the comments following Harry and Meghan’s candid interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The Foreign Office minister said: “Harry is blowing up his family. What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.”
The interview, which will be shown in the UK tonight, has thrown the monarchy into crisis.
The Duchess revealed that working for The Firm – as the royal family is sometimes known – ultimately left her feeling that ending her life was an option, and how she had not been protected by the monarchy.
Asked explicitly if she was thinking of self-harm and having suicidal thoughts at some stage, Meghan replied: “Yes. This was very, very clear.
“Very clear and very scary. I didn’t know who to turn to in that.”
A member of the royal family – who both Harry and Meghan refused to identify – was worried about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone might be before he was born.
Meghan said there had been “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he is born”.
Harry suggested his family were jealous of Meghan’s popularity with the public – just as the appeal of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, had reportedly been seen as a threat.
And he revealed he has become estranged from his father, the Prince of Wales, saying: “I feel really let down”, but added that he would make it one of his priorities “to try and heal that relationship”.