These Photos Of Prince William And Kate Middleton Are Raising Eyebrows

The event now known as "the Oprah interview" delivered on its promise to provide surprising insights about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's lives both before and after their departure from royal life. Most shocking of all were Meghan's claims about being a victim of racism. The duchess explained that not only was she subjected to harsher treatment from the press than sister-in-law Kate Middleton, she was also deeply hurt by an unnamed family member who had launched "conversations" during her first pregnancy about the baby's skin color

This prompted denials both from the royals and their famous supporters. The queen said in her official statement that the issue was "very concerning" and would be addressed from within the family. The Black choir that performed at the couple's wedding came forward to point out that Prince Charles had issued the invitation himself (via TMZ). Piers Morgan left his TV job rather than back down from his criticism of Meghan, while Sharon Osbourne caught flak for supporting him. Prince William was the first family member to speak out loud about the issue, responding to a journalist's question by saying that they're "very much not a racist family." 

What the royal family hasn't acknowledged, though, is that people who aren't literally racist are still capable of being racially insensitive, tone-deaf, or unschooled. Some are wondering if that might be the case for William and Kate, judging by photos that have recently resurfaced.

The royal couple was carried on throne chairs by Pacific Islanders

Not long after the Duke of Cambridge made the firm denial, TMZ unearthed some photos of him and the duchess that got a lot of attention. Back in September 2012, the couple visited the Solomon Islands as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour, celebrating the Queen's 60th year as a monarch. The pics show the future British king and his wife sitting on ornate chairs, carried on the shoulders of islanders dressed in cultural costumes. They were also carried on another litter later in the trip, as seen in photos from the CBS News archives. 

In light of the Oprah interview, seeing the British royals being elevated above people of color feels rather squirmy. As TMZ points out, it may well be that these processionals are traditional for all distinguished visitors to the area. But considering the islands' history of European colonization, the tradition looks more like a reminder of oppression than a symbol of honor. 

Another moment from Kate and William's trip turned heads

Interestingly, this isn't the first time William and Kate have caught heat for this particular trip. As Us Weekly pointed out at the time, the couple wore what they thought were traditional Solomon Islands clothes to an event — only to learn later that the style and pattern of their colorful gear was actually typical of the Cook Islands, several thousand miles away. 

A spokesperson for William and Kate acknowledged the mistake, saying, "It was not learned until later in the evening that the clothes weren't from the islands. But it was understood that the Duke and Duchess intended to wear traditional Solomon Island clothes and this was appreciated. No offense was caused."

The prince has not commented on the photos in question.