Centrepoint CEO Seyi Obakin is defending Prince William after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry claimed that someone in the royal family was "concerned" over Archie's skin color.
“I have never seen a hint of racism. Never," Obakin — who has known William, 38, for more than 10 years — told the Telegraph. "I have worked with him in close proximity for years. He has met my family. He’s never treated us with anything other than decency, dignity and respect.”
Obakin — who has been the charity’s chief executive for over a decade — has worked with William for 12 years. In 2009, the organization was celebrating its 40th birthday, but William wanted to go the extra mile.
“What about taking that one notch up and sleeping out yourself?” Obakin asked the royal at the time.
“Never in a million years did I think he would say yes,” Obakin recalled. “Then I thought ‘My God, what have I done? I’ve just invited the future king of England to sleep rough on the street.'”
“He said ‘If I’m going to this I don’t want something genteel, something protected. I want an authentic experience.' We agreed not to tell anyone. I did not even tell my wife,” he added.
From there, their friendship blossomed. “People said to me afterwards there must have been security but there wasn’t. There was just us," Obakin recalled. “We did exactly what a young person who has nowhere to live would do. If you are sleeping rough people spit at you, people kick you. So we walked around looking for a spot and found this little cul-de-sac and got some wheelie bins to mark out our space.”
“He poked fun at me endlessly because I don’t do well in the cold. He’d camped out with the army. I said, 'It’s all right for you, I’m older and I’m not a soldier!' We both laughed. That’s the Prince William I know,” the Nigerian-born executive said.
Following Harry and Meghan's interview, Buckingham Palace responded to the allegations.
“The following statement is issued by Buckingham Palace on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen,” the statement, which was shared on social media on Tuesday, March 9, began.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Meghan and Harry. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
For his part, William told reporters: "We are very much not a racist family."