During episode three of Harry & Meghan, the Duke of Sussex, 38, addressed the infamous 2005 incident where he wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party. “It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life,” the U.K. native explained in the docuseries, which premiered on Thursday, December 8. “I felt so ashamed afterwards. All I wanted to do was make it right.”
The Invictus Games founder then detailed the ways he attempted to make amends with the Jewish community. “We sat down and spoke to the chief rabbi in London, which had a profound impact on me,” he recalled. “I went to Berlin and spoke to a Holocaust survivor. I could’ve just ignored it and probably made the same mistakes in my life over and over again, but I learned from that.”
After the incident made headlines around the world, the former military pilot apologized for the costume in a statement. “I am very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone,” Harry, who was 20 at the time, said in January 2005. “It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize.”
In the Netflix series, the BetterUp CIO also addressed racism within the royal family in a segment on the blackamoor brooch that Princess Michael of Kent wore to a 2017 Christmas lunch attended by Meghan Markle.
“In this family, sometimes you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution,” Harry told the cameras. “There is a huge level of unconscious bias. The thing with unconscious bias is it’s actually no one’s fault, but once it’s been pointed out or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right. It’s education, it’s awareness. And it’s a constant work in progress for everybody, including me.”
Blackamoor jewelry, which dates back to the 17th century, is now widely seen as racially insensitive because of the way it fetishizes slavery. After her brooch made headlines, the princess, 77, issued a public apology for wearing the piece.
“The brooch was a gift and had been worn many times before,” a rep for the royal said in December 2017. “Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offense.”
Meghan, for her part, never publicly commented on the incident, but she and Harry later pointed to racism as one of the reasons behind their January 2020 decision to step down as senior members of the royal family.
“For us, for this union and the specifics around her race, there was an opportunity — many opportunities — for my family to show some public support,” Harry said during the couple’s bombshell interview with CBS in March 2021.