Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain on Monday refused to discuss the drama engulfing the royal family, praising the contribution of Queen Elizabeth while declining to comment on damaging claims made by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.
“I have always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role she plays in our country and across the Commonwealth,” Mr. Johnson said at a news conference in London.
“As for all other matters to do with the royal family I have spent a long time now not commenting on royal family matters and I don’t intend to depart from that today,” Mr. Johnson added.
Pressed to say whether he believed the royal family, aside from the Queen, is racist, Mr. Johnson again stonewalled, saying that “when it comes to matters to do with the royal family the right thing for the prime ministers to say is nothing, and nothing is the thing that I propose to say today about that particular matter.”
Earlier on Monday Vicky Ford, minister for children, also refused to comment on the contents of the interview but added in an interview with LBC Radio: “there is no room for racism in our society.”
But at least one member of Mr. Johnson’s Conservative government spoke out against Meghan and Harry. “Harry is blowing up his family,” Zac Goldsmith, a mid-level minister of environmental and foreign affairs, wrote on Twitter. “What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.”
The issues raised are sensitive for Mr. Johnson who, during his career as a journalist, used racist language on some occasions, and the claims made in the interview reverberated around British politics.
On Monday Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said that the allegations that had surfaced in the interview “need to be taken very, very seriously” because they are “allegations in relation to race and mental health.”
“For too many years we have been too dismissive and too willing to put these issues to one side,” he added.
Nadia Whittome, a Labour Party lawmaker, was more directly critical of the monarchy. “When Meghan Markle was accused of bullying, Buckingham Palace immediately announced an investigation,” she wrote on Twitter. “Now that Meghan has revealed comments about her child’s skin color, will they investigate racism in the Palace? I won’t be holding my breath.”