The Royal Family Is Including Harry in This Major Event This Month
Despite everything that's been said, the Duke of Sussex will be a part of this big program.
This has hardly been a banner year for the Royal Family. Between the sexual assault allegations against Prince Andrew resulting in a lawsuit and the claims of racism and neglect from Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the House of Windsor has been in crisis mode for much of 2021. On top of that, the royals also suffered the devastating loss of the family's patriarch, Prince Philip, who would have celebrated his centennial birthday in June.
While the family rallied to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, including Harry, not everyone was ready to welcome him back into the fold. At the time of Philip's funeral in April—less than two months after the Oprah Winfrey interview where many of Harry and Meghan's allegations came to light—Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, were reportedly cold to Harry, and insiders told Best Life they were not willing to forgive him. Since then, sources say Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has also said she would "never forgive" her stepson and his wife. Soon, however, Harry will be a part of a very special Royal Family event this month, which includes quite a few of those family members who've reportedly iced him out. Read on to find out what it is and who is instead being excluded from the milestone event.
Prince Harry will participate in the upcoming BBC Prince Philip documentary, his first project with the Royal Family since stepping down last year.
More than a dozen members of the Royal Family will pay tribute to Prince Philip in the upcoming BBC documentary Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers, airing on BBC One on Wednesday, Sept. 22. All of Queen Elizabeth and Philip's four children—Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, as well as scandal-plagued Prince Andrew—sat for interviews for the program. (People.com recently reported that Andrew was served papers late last month for the lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, accusing him of sexual assault.)
Philip's grandchildren, including Prince William, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Peter Phillips, and Zara Tindall, will also appear in the hour-long documentary—as well as Prince Harry, to the surprise of some. The tribute film is the first project with the Royal Family that Harry has taken part in after exiting royal life last year. Since then, Harry has frequently and publicly criticized his father and brother, but he has said he remains on good terms with the Queen.
The Duke of Sussex was extremely close to his grandfather for most of his life and developed an even stronger bond with him when he entered the military. In 2017, Philip retired from public life, and after having served as Captain General of the Royal Marines for 64 years, he gave the title to Harry, who retained it until he gave up his military titles after leaving his royal role.
Earlier this year, while Philip remained in the hospital for what turned out to be the final months of his life, Harry did not return to England to visit his grandfather, which angered many members of the family. When Harry flew from his home in California to attend the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April, he reportedly received a frosty reception.
Harry was last in London in July when he and William unveiled the long awaited statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at a ceremony attended by the Spencer family, those who helped create the statue and the surrounding gardens, and a small number of friends.
Meghan and Kate will reportedly not appear in the upcoming Prince Philip BBC documentary.
While Harry will make an appearance in the upcoming BBC documentary about Prince Philip, Meghan and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were reportedly not interviewed for the program and no other royal spouses will appear either.
Royal insiders say that Philip did not have the same relationship with Meghan that he did with other spouses of his children and grandchildren. "The difference is Philip had a good relationship Catherine and Camilla [and] was extremely close to Sophie," one source told Best Life. "He was furious when Harry and Meghan announced they were quitting royal life, so much so that he demanded to be driven out of Sandringham while the Megxit summit was going on."
In the Winfrey interview, Meghan said that an unnamed member of the Royal Family had questioned what color her son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor's, skin would be before he was born, though Winfrey later said Harry had told her it was not his grandmother or grandfather who made the alleged remark. Philip died shortly after the interview aired, but Meghan did not attend the funeral because she didn't receive medical clearance to fly at a late stage of her pregnancy with the Sussexes' second child, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. Instead, Meghan watched the ceremony live on television from the couple's home in California and sent a wreath to be laid in Philip's honor with a handwritten note.
"There are those who feel it would have been inappropriate and distracting to have Meghan included [in the Philip documentary for the BBC] after everything the Sussexes have done since moving to California," the insider told Best Life.
The Queen also does not appear in the film, but she granted the filmmakers special access to personal footage.
While Her Majesty does not appear in the documentary, according to the BBC, the Queen granted the filmmakers behind Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers "special access to her private cine-film collection." The documentary, made by Oxford Films and written by royal biographer Robert Hardman, will feature interviews with those "who knew him best," taped before and after Philip's death. According to the broadcaster, the program offers "a rare glimpse inside Buckingham Palace to meet the Duke's long-serving staff and to capture his study, private office, and library, exactly as they were during his seven decades at the heart of royal life."
A royal source told Best Life, "The Duke of Edinburgh was a fascinating man who lived an incredible life. In many ways, he was the ultimate outsider who not only became the Queen's greatest and most trusted confidante, but the head of the Royal Family, which he presided over with incredible strength and insight. It wasn't until his death that many people learned how multi-faceted his life really was."
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This is the first time the BBC has worked directly with the Royal Family since the ruling about Diana's infamous interview.
The Royal Family's relationship with the BBC has been on shaky ground for much of this year. In May, a formal inquiry into claims that BBC reporter Martin Bashir obtained his 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana under false pretenses determined that he used "deceitful behaviour" to secure the infamous sit-down. The judge, Lord Dyson, ruled Bashir used faked bank statements to convince the paranoid princess to speak with him.
Diana's brother, Charles, Earl Spencer, had been calling for an independent inquiry into the interview's origins for years.
After Lord Dyson's official findings were announced, both William and Harry spoke out about how devastating the interview had been for their mother. William took the unprecedented step of issuing public remarks as he stood in front of Kensington Palace, where Diana lived with her sons until her death in 1997. With barely contained anger, he said, in part, "What saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived." In his statement, Harry said his mother "lost her life" because of the interview.
"There has also been an unwritten understanding between the royals and the corporation that the relationship between the two entities be truthful and mutually helpful," one source told Best Life of the BBC and the royals. "The events of this year have called that into question. Both the BBC and the Royal Family are counting on the [Philip] documentary to help restore some of the luster to both institutions who have suffered major damage this year."