The week after Oprah Winfrey: What happened behind the scenes
The post-Oprah enmity between Prince William and Harry is so deep that it is “unthinkable” they will reunite for a long-scheduled unveiling of a memorial to their mother Princess Diana, The Sun on Sunday reports. The paper says that the royal siblings are “as far apart as it’s possible to be” after the Sussexes accused the royals of racism, and said his brother and father were “trapped” in royal life. William refuted the non-specific accusations this week, telling reporters the royals were “not a racist a family,” however the royals have said they will tackle the accusations “privately” (for which read: no further public refutation of the shocking claims).
Relations between the two brothers have been severely strained since Harry and Meghan announced their plans to “step back” from the family, but look utterly shattered after the Oprah interview in which Meghan and Harry denounced an unnamed member of the royal family as racist, putting all of the royals, including William, under a cloud of suspicion. The Sun reports that the princes have exchanged texts following the interview but have not spoken. This tallies with a claim in The Sunday Times that they have “been in contact.”
Although it had long been assumed that both brothers would be present together when the statue of their mum — which they commissioned — is unveiled in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in July, this now looks in peril.
A source told The Sun on Sunday: “William and Harry are as far apart as it’s possible to be—emotionally and physically. Their relationship is at rock bottom. William’s raging with Harry after the Oprah interview.
“He is so angry with him that it’s totally unthinkable at the moment for them to be happily reunited and stood together at the unveiling of the Princess Diana statue. It’ll take a lot of work to patch things up so they can put on united front.”
Another person massively pissed with Harry: Prince Charles
Charles is said to be “upset and cut up” by Harry’s claim that his father had “cut him off” financially during the couple’s interview.
A source close to Charles told The Sunday Times: “It was a surprise to hear he’d been cut off, given the bank statements. The prince continued to provide Harry and Meghan with financial support after their move to America, while they found their feet.”
A more candid friend of Charles added: “What fucking hypocrisy. When Harry and Meghan left last year, they wanted to become ‘financially independent.’”
The Mail on Sunday adds that Charles plans to contact Harry within the next few weeks.
The friend said: “You are looking at a father who is deeply hurt by where he finds his relationship with his son. But, after much reflection, he also realizes that nothing good will come of prolonging the fight. He feels it is time to heal. Now is the time to mend a broken relationship. The Prince has a real desire to get back to the close relationship that he enjoyed with Harry for the longest time.”
According to a YouGov poll, reported by the Daily Mail, Harry’s popularity is down 3 points and Meghan’s by 13 since Sunday’s broadcast. As The Daily Beast has reported, age provides a stark contrast: young people like Harry and Meghan, older people, not so much.
However, in all the pushback to what Harry and Meghan told Oprah, no one has managed to indisputably prove what they said was false.
The queen in her statement may say that “some recollections may vary,” and Prince William may deny he is from a racist family, but the royals — and Harry and Meghan’s many British critics — are yet to answer the specific claims made against the royal family.
Again: Meghan claimed a member of the royal family raised “concerns” to Harry about the darkness of the then-unborn Archie’s skin. Harry made a similar claim but his account differed to Meghan’s account regarding when the conversation took place. They did not name the member of the family. Did this happen? Who was it? What were the circumstances of it being said if it was?
Meghan claimed she was ignored by palace officials, having made them aware of her declining mental health. Meghan said she had felt suicidal and was left to fend for herself. Again, the palace has yet to answer this.
The PR fightback of the palace, and the mission of the tabloids, seems to be to raise as many clouds of diverting dust as possible—and malign Harry and Meghan into the bargain.
The particular focus of the counter-strike this weekend is Buckingham Palace’s inquiry into the headline-making pre-interview claims that the Duchess of Sussex bullied royal staff. The Sunday Times reports this investigation is to be handed to independent external investigators, a third-party law firm, considerably raising the temperature.
Ahead of the Oprah interview it was leaked that two senior members of staff claimed they were bullied by Meghan. Another former employee said they had been personally “humiliated” and claimed two members of staff had been bullied. Meghan denies the allegations.
The big questions Harry and Meghan raised around a specific incidence of alleged racism, and a lack of care around Meghan’s mental health, remain unanswered, as the palace relies on British public goodwill and business-as-usual to see them through.
A statement from Buckingham Palace on Friday said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.” He was the longest serving consort in British history, and was only months away from his 100th birthday in June.
Sharon Osbourne has left US chat show The Talk following an on-air row over Piers Morgan’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex, CBS said. Osbourne clashed with her co-hosts while defending Morgan, who left his job on Good Morning Britain following his comments about Meghan. The Talk is off air while CBS investigates the incident.
Prince Harry has been given a job by a $1bn Silicon Valley startup which provides professional coaching, mental health advice and “immersive learning” as its chief impact officer. The Duke of Sussex said he hoped to be able to use his own experiences using the “the power of transforming pain into purpose” to help BetterUp’s clients with “proactive coaching” for personal development, as well as achieve “an all-round better life”.
A private investigator employed by the Sun has said he illegally accessed the Duchess of Sussex’s private information shortly after she met Prince Harry. Dan Hanks, who lives in Los Angeles, told the website Byline Investigates that he compiled a 90-page report on the future member of the royal family in October 2016, shortly after the tabloid newspaper first became aware of her relationship with the prince.