QUEEN ELIZABETH II was supposedly stung by Prince Harry’s recent claims that the Commonwealth needed to acknowledge its past with colonialism – yet, a senior peer has suggested the monarch may have had a different reaction.
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The Queen has always been incredibly proud of the Commonwealth, which has grown to 54 countries during her time as the head of the organisation. However, last week some royal watchers thought Harry was criticising her management of the voluntary association. He and his wife Meghan Markle are president and vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, a youth organisation.
During a video call with some youth leaders from their home in Los Angeles, the couple appeared to take a swipe at his grandmother’s “life work”.
Harry said: “When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past.
“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 to do.”
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Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth II (Image: Getty)
Harry and Meghan’s last official joint royal engagement was attending the Commonwealth Day service in March (Image: Getty)
Meghan remarked: “We’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this.”
Royal fans lashed out in response, pointing out that the couple no longer live in the Commonwealth and that the Queen has embraced the “diversity” of the association for her entire reign.
Royal commentator Robert Jobson told talkRADIO that Harry had criticised the Queen’s “life work”, while Tory MP Andrew Rosindell told MailOnline that the monarch “wouldn’t be too pleased” with her grandson.
Historians have also weighed in on the debate, with some saying the Commonwealth has no “dirty secrets”.
The Queen is thought to be incredibly proud of the Commonwealth (Image: Getty)
However, Lord Howell of Guildford, who is the president of the Royal Commonwealth Society, claimed last week that the Queen would have understood what her grandson meant through his comments.
Speaking in last week’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, he explained: “I would think she [the Queen] fully understood the context.
“[Harry’s] been very active and committed to Commonwealth activities.
“He’s a real champion of the Commonwealth and I think he was trying to explain to others outside Government… where we are going.
“I would have thought she understood it fully, frankly.”
Meghan and Harry now live in LA, California (Image: Getty)
The Queen may have been more understanding of Harry’s comments than previously thought (Image: Getty)
He claimed that the Commonwealth was a way of “winding down the empire” as well as a “voluntary coming together of those countries who didn’t feel too antagonistic or angry or furious about the past”.
Lord Howell continued: “[The Commonwealth has] joined together in repairing some of the bad aspects of the past and some of the abuse and atrocities and all the rest.”
He added that the Commonwealth was also moving away from being a “British” organisation and was now standing on its own two feet.
Lord Howell also claimed that the Commonwealth was a “brilliant way of moving out of empire”.
The senior peer then added: “I would challenge all historians to tell me a better ending to any empire in history.”
While one High Commissioner did support Harry’s comments, others have suggested that his remarks showed he was ignoring the full history of the Commonwealth.
Commentator Harry Mount explained in The Telegraph last week: “If [Harry] knew more about the Commonwealth, he would appreciate its strange magic.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK