'We're very much not a racist family,' Prince William says during his and Duchess Kate's first in-person royal engagement of 2021

By Heather Cichowski

Prince William has spoken out about Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired on March 7.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in East London to visit the School 21 in the city's Stratford neighbourhood for their first joint in-person engagement of 2021.

"We're very much not a racist family," the duke told a reporter.

William was then asked if he had been in touch with his younger brother.

"No, I haven't spoken to him yet, but I will do," the father of three continued.

The Cambridges were at the school to show their support and congratulate teaching staff on re-opening after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in the United Kingdom. They also wanted to highlight the roll-out to secondary schools of Mentally Healthy Schools, which provides free resources for primary and secondary school children in the U.K.

Kate has been a part of the initiative, which highlights the Cambridges' focus on mental health, since 2018.

Prince William interacts with a young pupil from School 21 in Stratford on March 11, after its reopening. Photo: © Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images

William's comments come after Buckingham Palace released a statement on March 9 on behalf of the Queen following Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's interview.

"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," the statement read.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

MORE: Duchess Kate and Prince William connect with medical staff and volunteers from across the Commonwealth, a year into the pandemic

William and Kate last made a virtual appearance on March 7 in celebration of Commonwealth Day. The coronavirus pandemic meant it wasn't possible for the Royal Family to have their traditional service at Westminster Abbey, so the A Celebration for Commonwealth Day broadcast special stood in for that.

During the program, the duke and duchess spoke with medical, charity and voluntary staff from across the Commonwealth. Their talks focused on mental health in relation to COVID-19.

At the start of the week, Kate marked International Women's Day with a video call to Antigua with Jasmine Harrison, the 21-year-old world record holder who became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic.

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