The member of the royal family who was "concerned" about the skin colour of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's unborn baby was just being "realistic", according to retired soccer star John Barnes.

John Barnes

John Barnes

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, had claimed in their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year that an unnamed royal had expressed "concern" about "how dark" the skin of the couple's son Archie would be – but John believes the conversation was to be expected.

The 57-year-old retired sports star – who was one of England's most recognisable black footballers during his career – told the Sunday Times magazine: "If you listen to what Meghan says, it’s not about them worrying if the baby is dark or not, it’s them worrying about how the public are going to view that.

"Because they know if the baby is too dark, the public will not view the baby as positively. They’re being realistic.

"Let’s not pretend the public won't care whether it's a blond-haired blue-eyed baby or jet black, because they will."

The Duchess of Sussex – who was known as Meghan Markle before her marriage to Prince Harry – had explained to Oprah that the concerns had been raised when the couple were told that Archie wouldn’t be entitled to security as he wasn't a prince.

She said: "All the grandeur around this stuff is not really important to me.

"But in those months when I was pregnant, all around the same time: we have in tandem he won’t be given security, a title and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born."

The couple both refused to name the royal who made the comment, with Prince Harry vowing that he would "never share" full details of the conversation, but Oprah later confirmed that it was not Queen Elizabeth or the late Prince Philip.