The Prince of Wales chuckled nervously when he was asked if he had seen the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Charles was questioned by the media as he made his first public appearance since Meghan and Harry’s claim a member of the royal family made a racist comment about their son.
At the end of a visit to an NHS pop-up vaccine clinic in a north-west London church, popular with London’s black community, a member of the press asked: “Sir, what did you think of the interview?”
Clearly taken aback, Charles turned to look at the reporter as he left the building and said “oh” and gave a nervous chuckle and carried on walking.
Buckingham Palace has yet to respond to a string of allegations made by Meghan and Harry in their Oprah Winfrey interview.
The most damning was the claim an unnamed member of the royal family, but not the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh, was worried about how dark the skin tone of the Sussexes’ son might be before he was born.
Nadhim Zahawi, minister for Covid-19 vaccine deployment, joined the prince for the visit to Jesus House in Brent Cross, and as he left was quizzed as to whether he had asked Charles about the interview but he did not respond and was driven away.
Charles wore a face mask as he toured the clinic at Jesus House, Brent Cross, meeting NHS and church staff as well as community members due to receive their jab.
Grace, 50, a parishioner who declined to give her last name, said about Charles after the visit: “He was quite interactive with the people in there in spite of all the drama going on.”
She said it would have been “rude” for anyone to mention the Winfrey interview and repeated: “In spite of the family drama he still took time out to come here.”
In an apparent reference to Harry and Meghan’s racism allegation, Grace highlighted that Charles had visited a “black church”, adding: “All that effort and someone turns around and says there’s racism, I don’t believe that”.
Charles gave a short speech acknowledging the role black majority churches played in their local communities, as well as the nation as a whole, and expressed his pride in their role in the vaccine rollout.
“As I’ve seen today, you’ve opened your church to the vaccine programme to the whole community and you’ve been collecting and distributing food to those who need it most, as I’ve also seen,” he said.
“If ever we needed an example of how to be a good Samaritan, we need look no further.”
He added: “We are all immensely proud of the role black majority churches have been playing and it is a source of profound sorrow to know that black communities have been hit particularly hard by this pernicious virus.”
Charles described the vaccine programme as “truly an answer to prayer”, raising a laugh as he recalled how he had learnt the “wonderful acronym Push” on his last visit – pray until something happens.
On arrival, he spoke to three patients who were waiting to be assessed before they had their jabs, asking if they lived in the area or attended the church.
One of them asked the prince if he had been given his Covid inoculation and replied “yes” and laughed.
He asked one woman if she had been working at home throughout lockdown, adding: “It’s all very well, but when you’re in front of a screen… I don’t know about you but my back goes.”
The prince also had a brief chat with the vaccines minister, who said afterwards: “He takes a big interest in making sure the vaccines reach all communities.”
The heir to the throne asked several patients and workers where they were from and where their parents lived, apparently keen to hear about their heritage.
As he chatted to healthcare worker Caroline Olodimeji, 67, he asked where she came from and was originally from Nigeria but had lived in the UK a long time.
The prince said “oh fantastic”, adding that he had been to Nigeria, and spoke about how many “different ethnic groups” there were in the country.
He added about her family: “Do give them my kind regards.”
The prince said to one healthcare worker: “Do you do a lot of professional development courses?
“I try to do a first aid refresher each year.”
He joked: “The important thing to remember is the recovery position.”
Charles might have taken comfort from some of the prescient quotes on the walls around him: “Decisions determine destiny, once we make them they turn around to make us” and “God helps those who cannot help themselves”.