Insiders Say Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's ITV Interview Could Damage the Royal Family
A royal source calls the explosive interview "a stunning betrayal."
In Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's explosive ITV interview on Sunday night, the couple revealed they are both profoundly unhappy with life in the royal fishbowl. Now, royal experts in Britain are reeling and senior royals—including Queen Elizabeth—are reportedly deeply concerned that the couple's disclosures could be damaging to the monarchy. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have thrown the palace into turmoil. Their complaints about how 'unfair' and unfeeling unnamed persons have been puts the family in a terrible position," said my royal source.
"Nothing like this has happened since the Princess of Wales did her infamous Panorama interview where she told Martin Bashir about all about the problems in her marriage and speculated that Prince Charles did not want to be king," the insider added.
When ITV's Tom Bradby, a longtime friend of Harry's, followed the couple on their official royal tour of Africa for the one-hour documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, the program was supposed to focus on their charitable works, but was instead transformed into an airing of their grievances and revelations about their personal lives.
Meghan made headlines last week when a preview of the interview was released where she thanked Bradby for inquiring about her state of mind saying, "Not many people have asked if I'm OK." The teaser left viewers speculating as to who exactly she was referring to when she made that comment.
"The inference is that senior members of the royal family—Charles, William, Catherine, and Camilla—have been cold and unfeeling to her," said my source. "Who else can she be talking about? She is famously close with a circle of friends and her mother, so she couldn't possibly be talking about them. That leaves the royal family. There are a lot of people this morning who view this as a stunning betrayal."
Harry offered his own bombshell revelation during the ITV interview when he indirectly acknowledged that the rumors of a rift with his brother, Prince William, are true. "Look, we are brothers," he said. "We will always be brothers. We are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him and, as I know, he will always be there for me. We don't see each other as much as we used to because we are so busy, but I love him dearly and the majority of stuff is created out of nothing. As brothers, you have good days, you have bad days."
Meghan also revealed in the ITV interview that her British friends told her not to marry Harry because, they warned, "the British tabloids will destroy your life." She also appeared to reject the very essence of royal life when she told Bradby, "I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried," but, she explained, she believes burying emotions in that way can only lead to "damage."
"I've said for a long time to H–that's what I call him–it is not enough to just survive something. That's not the point of life," she told Bradby. "You've got to thrive and feel happy."
The Daily Mail reported that The Mirror's royal editor, Russell Myers, said the interview could be "the beginning of the end" of Harry and Meghan's relationship with the royal family. Myers also said, "For the best part of a year, palace aides have been at odds to really damp [the rumors of Harry and William's estrangement] down throughout the last few months and now we've got confirmation there has been a falling out."
Another royal insider said, "Meghan is estranged from everyone in her family except her mother, now it seems Harry has set out on a path to do the same. It is such a shocking and sad turn of events because the family has really done everything in its power to make Meghan feel at home. They did not warn the family about their comments. It's history repeating itself. First Diana, now Harry. People are stunned."
Harry and Meghan's ITV interview comes on the heels of a numerous PR blunders during a disastrous summer when the couple was criticized for their privacy demands over their son's birth and christening, their use of private jets, Meghan's Wimbledon appearance where fans were banned from taking photos, and her decision to decline the Queen's invitation to Balmoral opting instead to jet off to New York to watch her friend Serena Williams play in the U.S. Open.
Harry and Meghan were already planning to take a six-week leave from official royal duties starting in mid-November and will spend Thanksgiving with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, in Los Angeles. But my source said it's quite possible the couple won't be representing the monarchy on any official tours in the foreseeable future. "There is no way the royal family can go on business as usual now," said my source. "Harry and Meghan have thrown down the gauntlet. The palace has to make some difficult decisions, but there is no doubt things are about to change in a major way." And for brighter spots in Harry and Meghan's relationship, here are their most adorable couples moments.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.
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