Mrs Obama, who has known the Duke of Sussex for almost 10 years, said “race isn’t a new construct in this world for people of colour”.
Her comments were made as she she launched a campaign to provide meals for disadvantaged families and she said she prayed for “forgiveness and healing” for the royal family.
Meghan and Harry accused an unnamed member of the royal family – not the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh – of raising concerns about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone would be before he was born in their interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The duke also said that none of his relatives spoke out in support of Meghan following the racism he said she faced in the media.
Mrs Obama, commenting on the issue of racism raised by Meghan, told NBC’s Today show: “As I said before, race isn’t a new construct in this world for people of colour, and so it wasn’t a complete surprise to hear her feelings and to have them articulated.”
She said about being a public figure: “Public service is a bright, sharp, hot, spotlight and most people don’t understand it, and nor should they.
“The thing that I always keep in mind is that none of this is about us in public service, it’s about the people that we serve.”
Mrs Obama was interviewed by Meghan when she guest edited the September 2019 edition of British Vogue magazine.
And she hosted Harry at the White House in 2013 when her husband Barack Obama was US president.
She added: “The thing that I hoped for, and the thing I think about, is that this first and foremost is a family.
“And I pray for forgiveness and healing for them so that they can use this as a teachable moment for us all.”