Image Credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com
In a shocking revelation, five former officers of the British police force have publicly admitted to circulating racist messages about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. This unsettling news has once again brought to the forefront the issue of racism that has been a longstanding concern within the British establishment.
The Guilty Officers and Their Charges
The five officers – Robert Lewis, Peter Booth, Anthony Elsom, Alan Hall, and Trevor Lewton – confessed their guilt at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Their charges included sending grossly offensive racist messages via public communication.
A sixth officer, Michael Chadwell, declined the identical charge and is expected to return to court on November 6. The rest are scheduled for sentencing on the same day.
These officers were previously part of London’s Metropolitan Police Force, serving in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection branch, responsible for safeguarding politicians and diplomats.
The Incriminating Messages
The officers were arrested and charged following a BBC investigation last year that uncovered their clandestine activities. These included the circulation of offensive and racist messages in a closed WhatsApp group. Their derogatory comments targeted not only the Duke and Duchess of Sussex but also other members of the royal family, such as Prince William, Kate, the late Queen Elizabeth II, and her late husband, Prince Philip. High-profile political figures like U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, former interior minister Priti Patel, and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid were also victims of their contemptuous remarks.
The messages were circulated between 2020 and 2022, a period during which none of the accused were serving as officers. According to Newsweek, their conversations also included discussions about the U.K. government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda and the floods in Pakistan.
A Not-So-Isolated Incident
This incident is not an isolated one. In 2022, two active officers were discharged from service when their racist conversations on WhatsApp were revealed publicly. Shockingly, one of these messages was even circulated during the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018.
The Impact of Racism on the Royal Couple
These racist incidents significantly contributed to the decision of the royal couple to relocate to America in 2020. They stepped away from the monarchy, citing the high tension between members of the royal family, the royal institution, and the British tabloid press.
In the 2021 documentary series, The Me You Can’t See, Prince Harry revealed to Oprah Winfrey that the media played a significant role in fostering racial hatred against his wife. He expressed regret over not taking a firm stand against racism earlier in his relationship with Meghan.