World

Harry, Meghan point to Commonwealth wrongs

By AAP Newswire

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have warned in a discussion on justice and equal rights that the Commonwealth's past wrongs need to be acknowledged to be able to move forward.

Harry and Meghan both took part in the video call with young leaders in one of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust's (QCT) weekly sessions set up in response to the growing Black Lives Matter movement.

The duke, whose grandmother the Queen is head of the Commonwealth, last week outlined his personal commitment to tackling institutional racism.

"When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past," he said on Monday.

"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 still to do.

"It's not going to be easy and in some cases it's not going to be comfortable, but it needs to be done, because, guess what, everybody benefits."

Meghan also touched on the Commonwealth's past, saying: "In that self reflection, it's acknowledging whatever mistakes we've all made, right?

"So if we look at the Commonwealth, I know part of the conversation we're going to explore later on is looking at the history of that."

The roots of the Commonwealth - a voluntary association of 54 nations - stretch back to Britain's colonial past and the British Empire.

Nicola Brentnall, chief executive of the QCT, has written that the organisation is looking at "how the Commonwealth's past - of colonialism, of the subjugation of peoples and the ongoing legacy of such historic injustice" should shape its identity and future".

Harry, speaking from Los Angeles, addressed the issue of unconscious bias, sharing his own perspective.

"We can't deny or ignore the fact that all of us have been brought up and educated to see the world differently," he said.

"However, once you start to realise that there is that bias there, then you need to acknowledge it, you need to do the work to be able to become more aware."

After the Sussexes stepped down as a senior working royals, Harry had to leave his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.

But he and Meghan retained their posts as president and vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.

Harry told those taking part as they discussed the drive towards a more equal society: "This change is needed and it's coming."

"Solutions exist and change is happening far quicker than it ever has done before."

Meghan spoke of how equality was a fundamental human right.

"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 and find the place where a high tide raises all ships," she said.