Prince Harry and Meghan Markle [Photo: Courtesy]

Prince Harry has spoken about his "awakening" to the UK's structural racism and lack of opportunity for those "of a different coloured skin" since meeting Meghan Markle. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke jointly about the issue of racism in the UK, saying a lack of opportunity was holding young people of colour back.

Harry said Britain could be a better place if white people understood more about those "of a different coloured skin", in an interview with the Evening Standard. Harry, 36, who is sixth in line to the throne, described his own “awakening” to the lack of opportunities for people from the BAME communities since he met his bi-racial wife.

The duke said: “Because I wasn’t aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the UK and also globally as well. I thought I did but I didn’t.” He added: “You know, when you go in to a shop with your children and you only see white dolls, do you even think: ‘That’s weird, there is not a black doll there?’

"And I use that as just one example of where we as white people don’t always have the awareness of what it must be like for someone else of a different coloured skin, of a black skin, to be in the same situation as we are where the world that we know has been created by white people for white people.”

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Speaking about life in the UK and the issue race and diversity, Harry added: "It doesn't feel as diverse as it actually us. "We can use our platform to actually star a conversation and introduce people to the black community that are making a massive difference in our communities and across the UK as a whole."

The couple have spoken out a number of times on race issues since they stepped down from their roles as working members of the royal family and moved to California. In June, Meghan said she was sorry that children had to grow up in a world where racism still existed and that events in the United States after the death of George Floyd were "devastating".

Harry and Meghan have also been speaking out on politics in recent weeks, with the couple urging voters in America to "reject hate speech" in November's US elections. Harry spoke of the need for the good to "outweigh" the bad and spoke about the dangers of 'online negativity'.

He said: "As we approach this November, it's vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity. "When the bad outweighs the good, for many, whether we realize it or not, it erodes our ability to have compassion and our ability to put ourself in someone else's shoes.

"Because when one person buys into negativity online the effects are felt exponentially. It's time to not only, but to act." In the video broadcast as part of Time 100 magazine's annual list of the top 100 most influential people, Harry also explained how he would not be able to vote and had never voted in the UK as a member of the royal family.

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