Palace aides scramble to sign off response to Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Oprah revelations

Prince Charles today became the first royal to attend an official engagement following Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview as he refused to comment on the scandal and told a nurse ‘I can imagine how exhausting it is’ as she described her work handing out vaccines. 

The Prince of Wales put on a brave face this morning as he spoke to medics, clerics and patients at Jesus House church near Brent Cross in north London, following a deluge of damaging allegations including personal attacks on senior royals in front of a TV audience of 28million in the UK and US alone. 

One of the most damaging claims has been the allegation that a member of the royal raised concerns baby Archie would be ‘too dark’. Prince Harry – through comments to Oprah – has ruled out the Queen and Prince Philip but left other royals under a cloud of suspicion. 

Charles is said to be ‘deeply’ concerned over the racism claims, with sources telling the Standard today: ‘It goes against everything the Prince of Wales believes in. He believes diversity is the strength of our society.’ 

Today, Charles seemed at ease as he chatted with people waiting for their vaccinations, including one woman who said she was from Nigeria. The prince replied: ‘Oh fantastic, yes, I’ve been there. Lots of different ethnic groups. Do give them my kind regards next time you speak to them.’ 

As Charles left following a visit to a pop-up vaccine clinic in a London church, a reporter asked, ‘Sir, what did you think of the interview?’, and after turning to see who had called out, he chuckled and carried on walking. 

In the Oprah interview, Charles was personally referenced by Prince Harry, who said he had cut off contact with him, while his wife, Camilla, has previously been accused by Meghan of leaking stories about her to the press. 

The Duke of Sussex said he was ‘really let down’ by his father who he accused of refusing to answer his calls during his time in Canada. 

Harry claimed his family had cut him off financially while suggesting the Queen had been badly advised and had cancelled a meeting scheduled at Sandringham. 

Discussing his father, Harry said: ‘I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like. I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. And I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.’ 

A source close to the heir to the throne told the Telegraph Charles will be left ‘absolutely devastated’ by his younger son’s suggestion that he had let him in down in the run up to Megxit in January last year. 

Buckingham Palace was under increasing pressure today to comment on Harry and Meghan’s claims – after the Queen it said to have refused to sign off a statement prepared by aides yesterday. 

Royal aides were paralysed with ‘horror and dismay’ when watching the stream of damaging allegations yesterday as the Duke of Sussex stood accused of ‘blowing up his family’. 

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William were all locked in crisis talks over how to react to a string of incendiary accusations unleashed by Harry and wife Meghan during a two-hour special with Oprah Winfrey on American TV.

With pressure growing for a statement today, Palace insiders described a mood of ‘intense personal shock and sadness’ that the prince had pressed the ‘nuclear button on his own family’. ‘People are just reeling,’ a source said.

The couple’s interview on CBS late on Sunday night sent shock waves around the world yesterday as the couple laid bare the extent of their rift with the Queen and other senior royals.

They accused an unnamed Royal Family member of racism, suggesting the relative had asked ‘how dark’ their baby would be; said they had been driven out of Britain, in part, by racism; and accused the Palace machinery of failing to support a ‘suicidal’ Meghan.

Meghan also accused her sister-in-law Kate of making her cry; suggested senior royals plotted to ensure Archie would never have a title or adequate security; and said officials had failed to stand up for the couple against ‘racist’ commentary, while lying to protect other royals.

A senior Government minister and Boris Johnson ally, Lord [Zac] Goldsmith, echoed the mood of many in royal circles yesterday. Responding to the suggestion that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had ‘loaded up a plane and dropped bomb after heavy bomb on Buckingham Palace’, he tweeted: ‘Not ‘Buckingham Palace’ – Harry’s family. Harry is blowing up his family.’

A statement is understood to have been prepared by Buckingham Palace highlighting the Royal Family’s love for the couple, in an attempt to avoid tensions mounting even further. However the Queen was keen not to rush it out without careful consideration overnight, according to The Times.

As senior officials tried to work out how to respond:

  • Thomas Markle has told of his ‘great respect’ for the royals, adding: ‘I don’t think the British royal family are racist at all’; 
  • Prime Minister’s official spokesman says Boris Johnson watched the interview but would not be commenting on it;
  • The Queen prepares to sign of an official statement in response to his grandson’s Oprah interview, which contained allegation-after-allegation that damages the global standing of the Royal Family;
  • Harry and Meghan interview on ITV attracted a total audience of 11.1 million – on top of 17m in the US;  
  • New clips from the interview included Harry alleging that the Queen had reneged on a promise to allow him to visit her Sandringham home to discuss his plans, leaving him devastated;
  • Harry and Meghan have been urged to name names over which royal relative made comments about how ‘dark’ Archie’s skin would be and the Duchess’ claims he was not made a prince because he is mixed-race. Labour’s Diane Abbott claims Palace aides did not ‘adjust well’ to Harry marrying a ‘mixed race woman’;
  • 11.4 million viewers tuned into ITV’s bombshell Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan last night – fewer than I’m A Celeb final that was network’s most-watched show of 2020;
  • Nearly half of Britons believe Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey was ‘inappropriate’, a snap poll had found;
  • Meghan Markle’s half-sister Samantha slams her Oprah interview, accusing Duchess of using ‘depression as an excuse to treat people like dishrags’.
Prince Charles told a nurse 'I can imagine how exhausting it is' as she told him of the work she was doing to help Britain's vaccination drive during a visit to  Jesus House church near Brent Cross in north London

Prince Charles told a nurse 'I can imagine how exhausting it is' as she told him of the work she was doing to help Britain's vaccination drive during a visit to  Jesus House church near Brent Cross in north London

Prince Charles told a nurse ‘I can imagine how exhausting it is’ as she told him of the work she was doing to help Britain’s vaccination drive during a visit to  Jesus House church near Brent Cross in north London

Charles wore a face mask as he toured Jesus House in Brent Cross, meeting NHS and church staff working on the vaccination pop-up clinic as well as community members due to receive their jab

Charles wore a face mask as he toured Jesus House in Brent Cross, meeting NHS and church staff working on the vaccination pop-up clinic as well as community members due to receive their jab

Charles wore a face mask as he toured Jesus House in Brent Cross, meeting NHS and church staff working on the vaccination pop-up clinic as well as community members due to receive their jab

Charles seemed at ease as he chatted to the workers at the church, which has been leading efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy

Charles seemed at ease as he chatted to the workers at the church, which has been leading efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy

Charles seemed at ease as he chatted to the workers at the church, which has been leading efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy 

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William were all locked in crisis talks over how to react to a string of incendiary accusations unleashed by Harry and wife Meghan during a two-hour special with Oprah Winfrey on American TV (pictured)

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William were all locked in crisis talks over how to react to a string of incendiary accusations unleashed by Harry and wife Meghan during a two-hour special with Oprah Winfrey on American TV (pictured)

The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William were all locked in crisis talks over how to react to a string of incendiary accusations unleashed by Harry and wife Meghan during a two-hour special with Oprah Winfrey on American TV (pictured)

With pressure growing for a statement today, Palace insiders described a mood of 'intense personal shock and sadness' that the prince had pressed the 'nuclear button on his own family'. 'People are just reeling,' a source said

With pressure growing for a statement today, Palace insiders described a mood of 'intense personal shock and sadness' that the prince had pressed the 'nuclear button on his own family'. 'People are just reeling,' a source said

With pressure growing for a statement today, Palace insiders described a mood of ‘intense personal shock and sadness’ that the prince had pressed the ‘nuclear button on his own family’. ‘People are just reeling,’ a source said

Meghan cradles Archie with Harry in snapshot of family bliss released hours after interview with Oprah aired 

A new picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle cradling baby Archie today appeared on social media, hours after the couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in the US.

Misan Harriman - who took the photograph released to announce Meghan's second pregnancy - shared a previously unreleased image of the couple last night

Misan Harriman - who took the photograph released to announce Meghan's second pregnancy - shared a previously unreleased image of the couple last night

Misan Harriman – who took the photograph released to announce Meghan’s second pregnancy – shared a previously unreleased image of the couple last night

Amid the huge fallout from last night’s explosive revelations, the couple’s friend Misan Harriman – who took the photograph used to announce Meghan’s most recent pregnancy – shared a previously unreleased image of the couple.

It shows the Duke of Sussex, 36, cuddling his pregnant wife, 39, as she holds Archie, one, in a lush Los Angeles garden. The toddler’s face is hidden from view behind that of his mother’s. 

Like the previous photograph, both the Duke and Duchess are seen barefoot with the same large tree in the background. However, Meghan is seen wearing a different dress to the previous image. 

Mr Harriman shared the image to mark International Women’s Day, in a post made hours after the couple revealed their second child would be a girl during their Oprah interview.

The photographer, who took Meghan’s pregnancy announcement picture remotely using an iPad, said: ‘What wonderful news to celebrate on International Women’s Day! Congratulations my friends, and welcome to the girldad club H!’

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Buckingham Palace, which was not informed about the couple’s decision to do the interview before it was first announced last month, had been bracing itself for the worst. But aides could not have predicted how devastatingly brutal the couple’s interview – watched by 17million in the US alone but set to air last night to a global audience of many times more, including on ITV in the UK – would be.

The Mail has been told that royal staff stayed up until 3am to watch the interview via video link live from the US with a mounting sense of horror – and sadness.

The Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young and Charles’s private secretary Clive Alderton are both said to have watched the interview from Buckingham Palace. 

Palace IT staff had set up a computer link so they could see it, while other members of staff watched it on their laptops while working from home, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Aides then had to prepare briefings from members of the Royal Family and agreed that any response would have to be co-ordinated between the Queen, Charles and William. 

As morning broke, crisis meetings were called involving senior officials as well as senior royals, in person and on the phone, as well via video call.

The Queen, at Windsor, spoke with her son Charles, who was at Clarence House, his London home, and grandson William, who has also moved back to the capital from Norfolk in preparation for his children to return to school.

Sources told the Mail that household staff, many of whom had supported the couple as best they could during an ‘extremely difficult and trying three years’, felt ‘angry and let down’ but were determined to put a brave face on the situation for the sake of the elderly monarch.

‘Staff are reeling. But there is [also] a strong sense of needing to retain a dignified silence and show kindness and compassion. There’s a lot people want to say but no one wins with a tit-for-tat battle,’ said one. ‘Bridges need to be built after all this is over, after all.’

Most damaging are the couple’s claims that not only were they unsupported by both family members and staff, but they also suffered as a result of an apparent racist agenda against them.

Meghan suggested that race was the heart of every decision made against them. But there was bemusement among royal insiders at her claims that senior royals had tried to prevent their son, Archie, from having a title – or security – because of blatant prejudice.

‘They didn’t want him to be a prince,’ she told Miss Winfrey.

Long-standing rules, laid down by George V, mean that the title of HRH passes only to the children of a sovereign and their grandchildren through the male line, meaning Archie will only be given a title when his grandfather, Prince Charles, accedes to the throne.

The Queen can issue letters patent to change that on an individual basis but aides for Harry and Meghan briefed journalists at the time of his birth that they were very happy for him to be styled ‘Master Archie’ because they wanted him to have the same kind of freedoms as the prince’s cousins, Zara and Peter Phillips. 

The Prince of Wales arrives for a visit to an NHS vaccine pop-up clinic at Jesus House church, London

The Prince of Wales arrives for a visit to an NHS vaccine pop-up clinic at Jesus House church, London

Charles this morning

Charles this morning

The Prince of Wales arrives for a visit to an NHS vaccine pop-up clinic at Jesus House church, London, as he continued his duties this morning 

Today Charles met with clerics and parishioners at the majority black church - which has overseen a drive to increase the uptake of the Covid vaccine among BAME people

Today Charles met with clerics and parishioners at the majority black church - which has overseen a drive to increase the uptake of the Covid vaccine among BAME people

Today Charles met with clerics and parishioners at the majority black church – which has overseen a drive to increase the uptake of the Covid vaccine among BAME people

The Prince of Wales put on a brave face today as he visited a pop-up vaccination centre at Jesus House church near Brent Cross in north London, as he continued with his public duties amid the continuing fallout

The Prince of Wales put on a brave face today as he visited a pop-up vaccination centre at Jesus House church near Brent Cross in north London, as he continued with his public duties amid the continuing fallout

Charles was personally referenced by Prince Harry, who said he had cut off contact with him, while his wife, Camilla, has previously been accused by Meghan of leaking stories about her to the press

Charles was personally referenced by Prince Harry, who said he had cut off contact with him, while his wife, Camilla, has previously been accused by Meghan of leaking stories about her to the press

The Prince of Wales put on a brave face today as he visited a pop-up vaccination centre at Jesus House church near Brent Cross in north London, as he continued with his public duties amid the continuing fallout

Long-standing rules, laid down by George V, mean that the title of HRH passes only to the children of a sovereign and their grandchildren through the male line, meaning Archie will only be given a title when his grandfather, Prince Charles (pictured with the Queen), accedes to the throne

Long-standing rules, laid down by George V, mean that the title of HRH passes only to the children of a sovereign and their grandchildren through the male line, meaning Archie will only be given a title when his grandfather, Prince Charles (pictured with the Queen), accedes to the throne

Long-standing rules, laid down by George V, mean that the title of HRH passes only to the children of a sovereign and their grandchildren through the male line, meaning Archie will only be given a title when his grandfather, Prince Charles (pictured with the Queen), accedes to the throne

Insiders say there was never any doubt that the Queen’s (pictured) great-grandson would be protected and although the Prince of Wales has made no secret of his desire to have a slimmed-down monarch, Harry and his family were always part of his plan

Insiders say there was never any doubt that the Queen’s (pictured) great-grandson would be protected and although the Prince of Wales has made no secret of his desire to have a slimmed-down monarch, Harry and his family were always part of his plan

Insiders say there was never any doubt that the Queen’s (pictured) great-grandson would be protected and although the Prince of Wales has made no secret of his desire to have a slimmed-down monarch, Harry and his family were always part of his plan

Stony-faced Kate and Camilla break cover day after devastating allegations from Sussexes 

Stony-faced royals yesterday broke cover amid the continuing fallout from an onslaught of damaging allegations from Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, bore grim expressions as they were seen driving through London yesterday afternoon.

The pair have been caught up in the wave of claims aired by the Sussexes, with Meghan earlier this month blaming them for leaking stories about her to the press while she was a senior royal. Meghan has also accused Kate of making her ‘cry’ during a row over bridesmaids dresses.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton bore a grim expression as she was seen driving herself through London yesterday

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton bore a grim expression as she was seen driving herself through London yesterday

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton bore a grim expression as she was seen driving herself through London yesterday

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made no formal response to the interview, instead the only two posts on their official Instagram page today have recognised International Women’s Day, and Commonwealth Day.

Prince Harry yesterday claimed racism drove him and Meghan out of Britain and the Queen was too busy to meet him as he piled on new insults to his family in a series of unseen clips from his bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview.

The Duke of Sussex accused the Queen of snubbing him after she was allegedly overruled by royal aides when she tried to invite him and Meghan on a trip to Sandringham after the couple announced they were stepping down.

Meanwhile, Prince Philip was cleared of making a racist remark about how ‘dark’ Archie’s skin would be, with Oprah saying Harry had confirmed the comment was not made by the Duke of Edinburgh or the Queen.

Asked about the alleged comment at his Covid press conference today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘The best thing I can say is that I’ve always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role she plays.

‘And as for all other matters to do with the royal family I’ve spent a long time now not commenting on royal family matters and I don’t intend to today.’

Harry refused to reveal the person’s identity on Sunday night as did Meghan and claimed they wanted to protect whoever it was – leaving the rest of the family open to suspicion.

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A source close to the Sussexes suggested yesterday the couple were so concerned about Archie’s security because of his mixed race heritage that they wanted him to become a prince so he would be afforded suitable security.

But insiders say there was never any doubt that the Queen’s great-grandson would be protected and although the Prince of Wales has made no secret of his desire to have a slimmed-down monarch, Harry and his family were always part of his plan.

There was no comment, however, on Meghan’s astonishing accusation that Kate had reduced her to tears ahead of the 2018 royal wedding over a bridesmaid dress fitting with her daughter, Princess Charlotte.

She even claimed her future sister-in-law ‘owned’ her mistake, apologised and bought her flowers, contrary to claims that it was she who had made Kate cry with her unrealistic demands.

‘She did what I would do if I hurt someone. Just take accountability for it,’ Meghan said.

The Duchess of Cambridge was yesterday seen driving, stony faced, near Kensington Palace as her office released a video of conducting a call to mark International Women’s Day by speaking to the youngest woman to row solo across an ocean.

The picture of strain was a stark contrast to a new image of Harry and Meghan, pregnant and cuddling Archie, in the garden of their home in California released by her friend, Misan Hariman, to also mark IWD.

The black and white portrait emerged on social media just hours after their interview – in which the couple revealed the second baby they were expecting was a girl – had aired.

A message read: ‘Welcome to the girldad club H!’

The Prime Minister refused yesterday to comment on the details of the Sussexes’ allegations – even when asked whether he believed members of the Royal Family might be racist.

But the White House backed the couple’s decision to speak out, a spokesman saying it took ‘courage’ for Meghan to open up about struggles with mental health problems.

And Labour called on the Palace to launch an investigation into the couple’s claims of racism.

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was ‘really sad to see the family in turmoil like this’ and that the allegations made by the duchess must be taken seriously.

He added: ‘The issues that Meghan has raised of racism and mental health are really serious issues.

‘It is a reminder that too many people experience racism in 21st century Britain.

‘We have to take that very, very seriously.

‘Nobody, but nobody, should be prejudiced (against) because of the colour of their skin or because of their mental health issues.’

Labour education spokesman Kate Green went further, saying the duchess’s claims should be ‘fully investigated’ by the Palace.

But Tory MP Michael Fabricant accused Labour of trying to ‘politicise’ the row.

He told the Mail: ‘Labour are wrong to politicise this. They know full well that there will be inquiries going on.

‘They really do trying to be desperately insert themselves into the story to get attention.’

Mr Fabricant said: ‘Every family is dysfunctional one way or another. 

‘The holder of every high position will have personal little secrets they want hidden. We are all human.’

Just who ARE Harry and Meghan accusing of race slur? It’s not the Queen or Prince Philip… so who in the Royal Family is said by the couple to have queried the colour of their son’s skin?

By Rebecca English for the Daily Mail 

Meghan and Harry sparked an extraordinary guessing game yesterday after accusing an unnamed member of the Royal Family of racism.

In one of the most shocking sections of the Oprah Winfrey interview, the duchess claimed that Harry was asked by a close relative ‘how dark’ their unborn baby would be. 

Meghan and Harry accused an unnamed member of the Royal Family of racism during their interview with Oprah Winfrey 

Former royal security unit chief blasts ‘arrogant’ assumption Harry and Meghan could retain their protection after stepping back 

By Rebecca Camber, Crime and Security Editor for the Daily Mail

The assumption by Harry that tax- payers would fund security after he and Meghan left the UK was branded ‘arrogant’ and ‘unworkable’ yesterday.

Former chief superintendent Dai Davies, who led the Metropolitan Police’s royalty protection unit, said the couple’s plans were ‘utterly unrealistic’ and could have put British police at risk.

UK officers cannot carry guns under US laws or access intelligence about potential threats. 

Donald Trump, who was then president, made it clear the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would have no US-funded Secret Service bodyguards after the couple moved to California from Canada in March 2020.

Harry told Oprah Winfrey they were informed at ‘short notice’ that their Met police security detail would be cut off. 

The prince said, ‘Their justification was a change in status’, adding that he ‘pushed back’. 

Mr Davies said he was ‘gobsmacked’ that the couple expected British taxpayers to pick up the bill – estimated at £4million a year.

He insisted: ‘It shows you their naivety and sense of entitlement.

‘It was utterly unrealistic to think they could continue to have their royal protection team working in America – in fact it would have put their [police] lives at risk.

‘There is a reciprocal agreement in place with the US for occasions like official state visits, but British officers couldn’t just carry on working there, unable to bear firearms and with no access to integrated intelligence from the security services. It was unworkable.’ 

He added: ‘It was simply arrogant to presume they and their baby would get protection.’

Russell Stuart, a former California State Guard officer turned celebrity bodyguard, pointed out that Harry and Meghan had increased their threat level by moving from Vancouver.

He said: ‘This is America. We’re a nation of gun owners, we’ve got a lot of weapons. We’re ten times the population of Canada.

‘California is a much bigger place, it’s more dangerous, you have a lot more potential threats than back in Vancouver.’

Initially when they went to Canada, the couple’s royal protection officers were given assistance by Canadian mounties, but this was only ever intended as an interim measure until other arrangements could be made.

The Canadian Government later confirmed it would stop providing security assistance to the family ‘in keeping with their change in status’.

Aside from the legal and practical difficulties of protecting a royal living abroad, the financial burden would have been astronomical.

The cost of a close protection team and static security at events was estimated at more than £1million a year when officers’ salary, overtime payments, overseas allowance, pensions, flights and accommodation costs were added up.

An armed team made up of at least six people including a principal personal protection officer and back up close protection officers accompanied the family at all times.

They work in pairs and if the couple travelled separately or attended separate engagements it required at least four of them to do the job as they work on relay shift patterns.

Many of the Scotland Yard officers who protected them had families in the UK and it would have been unfair to expect them to travel back and forth.

Such a vast expense would have been untenable at a time when Scotland Yard had already nearly doubled its flight budget to cover the escalating cost of protecting of globe-trotting Royals on official visits and holidays in 2019.

 

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She added that the unnamed Royal had raised ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.

The couple refused to identify the person concerned as it would be ‘too damaging to them’.

Speaking yesterday after the interview had aired in the US, Miss Winfrey revealed that Harry had asked her to make clear it wasn’t the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh – leaving only a handful of people it could be, including the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as the Duchess of Cornwall.

Palace insiders reacted with horror at the accusation last night, saying it was deeply unfair to throw around such a damaging accusation, potentially libelling a number of senior royals who are unable to defend themselves.

It was also pointed out that there was no context to the alleged comment, which might shed more light on why it was said.

And there appeared to be a contradiction about when it was said, with Meghan saying it was while she was pregnant, while Harry said it had happened before their wedding.

The bombshell claim came as the duchess was asked about why she believed the Royal Family were trying to stop her unborn son being made a prince and prevent him from receiving official security.

Miss Winfrey remarked that Meghan and Harry must have had their own ‘suspicions’, asking flatly: ‘Do you think it’s because of his race?’

Meghan said she would answer ‘honestly’, before going on to claim there were ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.

Reacting with exaggerated horror, Miss Winfrey asked who said that. Meghan sighed and said there were ‘several’ conversations about it with Harry.

‘About how dark your baby is going to be?’ asked Miss Winfrey.

Meghan replied: ‘Potentially, and what that would mean or look like.’ When pushed to reveal that person’s identity, Meghan refused. 

Significantly, she revealed that the question was asked during conversations ‘family had with him’.

When Harry joined the conversation, Miss Winfrey quickly took up the issue with him, saying Meghan had revealed there was a ‘conversation about Archie’s skin tone’. 

He nodded, clearly uncomfortable, admitted that it was ‘awkward’ and he was ‘a bit shocked’, but said he did not want to discuss it further.

Miss Winfrey said yesterday she had been ‘shocked’ at the alleged comment regarding Archie’s skin tone, but although she had tried to ask Harry for more information, both on and off-camera, he had refused to divest more.

However, he told her he wanted it made clear that the person concerned was ‘not his grandmother nor his grandfather’.

There was no comment from Buckingham Palace, but Charles’s biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby, told BBC Radio 4 he could not believe it would have been the heir to the throne.

‘He is someone whose professional personal life has been dedicated to bringing people together, not pulling them apart,’ he said. As predicted, race was a defining feature of the interview, threading through much of the interview.

Harry claimed that a ‘large part’ of the reason he and his family quit the UK was down to racism.

In an extra interview clip, posted on Twitter by US broadcaster CBS yesterday, the couple were asked by Miss Winfrey: ‘Did you leave the country because of racism?’

After a pause, Harry admitted it was a ‘large part’ of their reasoning, before launching an attack on the ‘bigoted’ press in the UK.

The duke said it would have made a ‘huge difference’ if the Royal Family had acknowledged the couple’s concerns.

‘There’s a lot of people that have seen it for what it was,’ he said. 

A lot of people. Like, it’s talked about across the world.

‘Yet, the very people that don’t want to see it or can’t see it choose not to see it.’

He said he has tried to ‘help them’ see what was happening to his wife and warned them that it was ‘not going to end well’.

Harry failed to reference his own indiscretions, including dressing up in a Nazi uniform and being filmed as a Sandhurst cadet using offensive and racist language to describe a colleague.

The couple refused to identify the person concerned as it would be 'too damaging to them'. Pictured: Prince Charles poses for an official portrait to mark his 70th birthday in 2018 with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

The couple refused to identify the person concerned as it would be 'too damaging to them'. Pictured: Prince Charles poses for an official portrait to mark his 70th birthday in 2018 with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

The couple refused to identify the person concerned as it would be ‘too damaging to them’. Pictured: Prince Charles poses for an official portrait to mark his 70th birthday in 2018 with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

The claim came as the duchess was asked about why she believed the Royal Family were trying to stop her unborn son being made a prince

The claim came as the duchess was asked about why she believed the Royal Family were trying to stop her unborn son being made a prince

The claim came as the duchess was asked about why she believed the Royal Family were trying to stop her unborn son being made a prince 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex outside Windsor Castle on their wedding day in 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex outside Windsor Castle on their wedding day in 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex outside Windsor Castle on their wedding day in 2018

Instead, he obliquely referred to ‘doing my own learning’, blaming ‘the system of which I was brought up in’ for his ignorance.

He added: ‘One of the most telling parts and the saddest parts, I guess, was over 70 Members of Parliament… came out and called out the colonial undertones of articles and headlines written about Meghan.

‘Yet no one from my family ever said anything over those three years. That hurts.’

The duchess claimed the situation was made worse because royal press teams failed to come to their defence and correct inaccurate reports – as they had done for other family members.

A bonfire of piping hot pique served up by Queen of the sofa: JAN MOIR gives her verdict on the interview the whole world is talking about

By Jan Moir for the Daily Mail 

Whoever thought that royalty would one day deign to sit down with Meghan and Harry? Still, miracles do happen.

On a blameless spring day in California, the queen of the secular confessional dug out the orb of self-absorb along with the interceptor sceptre and sallied forth from her multimillion-dollar Montecito mansion to a friend’s multimillion-dollar Montecito mansion to interview Harry and Meghan, who arrived fresh from their multimillion-dollar Montecito mansion round the corner.

As Queen Oprah settled her guests among the lavender pots and lush greenery of this unnamed private estate, the pillared splendour told its own tale of the kind of sequestered luxury the Sussexes now call home. 

Yet in this sun-dappled paradise, all they wanted to talk about was paradise lost.

‘I’ve lost my father. I lost a baby. I nearly lost my name. I mean, there’s the loss of identity,’ said Meghan. 

This was odd, considering that she has always seemed to quietly revel in her royally bequeathed duchessdom, but let’s not quibble because she is Speaking Her Truth and just trying to live her authentic life.

The Duchess of Sussex said she would answer 'honestly' before going on to claim there were 'concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born'

The Duchess of Sussex said she would answer 'honestly' before going on to claim there were 'concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born'

The Duchess of Sussex said she would answer ‘honestly’ before going on to claim there were ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’

They cut our money – and drove us into the arms of Netflix: A £30m fortune for Harry while Meghan is worth £4m 

By Glen Keogh for the Daily Mail

Prince Harry said he was persuaded to sign multi-million-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify when he was ‘literally cut off financially’ from the Royal Family.

The Duke of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey he stopped receiving income from Buckingham Palace shortly after he and Meghan announced their wish to step back as senior royals and spend time overseas.

Harry added that he would have been unable to pay for security to protect his family if it were not for money left to him by his mother Princess Diana in her will.

The couple raised eyebrows when they announced in September a deal worth an estimated £75million to make programmes for Netflix – despite citing lack of privacy as a reason for quitting the Royal Family.

In December, the couple announced a lucrative deal with audio streaming giant Spotify.

The deal, estimated to be worth around £18million, will see Harry and Meghan make podcasts for Spotify’s 320million monthly users to help listeners ‘connect to one another without distraction.’

Asked about the money-spinning partnerships, Harry told Miss Winfrey they were ‘never part of the plan’ but were suggested by a ‘friend’ when they feared financial issues.

He insisted: ‘My family literally cut me off financially and I had to afford security for us.

‘But I’ve got what my mum left me and, without that, we would not have been able to do this.’ He added of the issues he has faced: ‘I think she saw it coming.’

His claims of financial worries come as Harry faces the prospect of becoming richer than all other members of the Royal Family.

He and Meghan are predicted to become the world’s highest-earning celebrity couple with a fortune potentially stretching to $1billion (£700million) within a decade. That compares to the Queen’s wealth which is estimated at £350million.

As superstars of the international circuit, the couple are expected to command fees of up to £1million for speeches and appearances.

Diana left £21million to her sons William and Harry, to be held in trust until they turned 25.

Estimates now put Harry’s portion at up to £20million as it gained value over time.

The duke also received an estimated £7million from the Queen Mother’s will after she died in 2002. His overall net worth is believed to be £30million while Meghan’s is said to be £4million.

When she starred in US TV drama Suits she was paid £2million over six years. She also raked in six-figure sums for film roles and owns property in Toronto.

Before stepping back from royal duties in December 2019, Harry received the vast majority of his income from the Duchy of Cornwall – a portfolio of property and financial investments managed by Prince Charles.

For the financial year 2018-19, this amounted to more than £5million.

It is believed Charles, who initially continued to fund the couple, withdrew financial support from the duchy last year when it became clear their move to the US was permanent.

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She added that she hoped people would watch the show and realise that, despite everything, ‘life was still worth living’. Good to know!

Oprah’s task was a simple one: to grill the Duke and Duchess on the fractious circumstances behind Megxit. 

I say grill, but the chat show veteran didn’t have to rake over many coals to get to the main beefs.

Indeed, Oprah had barely put a match to their gas-fuelled umbrage before it all went up in a bonfire of piping hot pique. 

Kate made Meghan cry! The Royal Family was racist! No one taught Meghan how to sing the National Anthem and she had to Google it all by herself, Oh My God the suffering, nothing happy and glorious about that, let me tell you.

The entire country of Not-So-Great Britain was put in the dock and found wanting and, even worse, there were money worries when 36-year-old Harry revealed that his family had ‘literally cut me off financially’.

He was left to scrape together a living from only the millions his mother had left him. ‘Without that we would not have been able to do this,’ he said.

Indeed, throughout the broadcast there was so much complaining about who was and who wasn’t going to pay for Harry and Meghan’s security that I felt like offering to pay for it myself, if only to shut them up.

For the first half of the interview, it was just the two women; Oprah in a pink jumper with matching spectacles, sensible flat boots and magnificent hairdo.

Meghan was in Elegant Duchess high heels and black wrap dress, telling her version of events like someone reliving the horrors of the night while relaxing on a sunbed, cocktail to hand.

She was poised, purposeful and delivered a strong performance full of dramatic pauses, deep breaths, Streep-like sideways glances and the occasional trembling lower lip. 

When Harry appeared in the second half, it was interesting that Meghan took on a more supplicant role, gazing at her husband in adoration as he talked emotionally of the ongoing estrangement from his father and his brother.

Yet despite this, she was still in charge; reassuring him, rubbing his arm, nodding in agreement even as the chasm peeled open ever wider between the two families.

Here, too, the nature of their relationship seemed clear; he is the Rodney to her Del Boy, she is the princess to his pea. 

‘No one in my family ever said anything over those three years. And that hurts,’ Harry said, of perceived slights to his wife. 

Yet amid the 50 shades of green in this far-flung Garden of Eden they still had each other and their fingers were entwined like bindweed.

The original interview was three hours and 20 minutes long, edited down to 85 minutes of pure peeve — or ‘setting the record straight’, as Oprah insisted. 

In America it was shown between adverts for loo paper, pistachio nuts, almond milk and car insurance.

There was a product that promised to get rid of sudden overnight wrinkles and I immediately thought of the Queen, who deserves so much more than this life–shortening opera courtesy of her blunderbuss grandson, this farrago of miff and huff.

The Sussexes did take pains to compliment HM, who gave Meghan some pearls, once shared a knee blanket and was kind. 

She was practically the only soul who emerged with a shred of dignity from the entire programme.

Even still, the show remained a royal spectacle — it was right up there with Prince Edward’s It’s A Knockout fiasco and Prince Andrew’s ceremonial flaying by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis. 

‘What?’ Oprah would cry, saucer-eyed, as the couple dropped another killer zinger and detailed their belief that everyone was out to get them, almost from the start.

The Queen (pictured with Harry and Meghan, next to Prince William and Kate Middleton) 'deserves so much more than this life–shortening opera,' writes JAN MOIR

The Queen (pictured with Harry and Meghan, next to Prince William and Kate Middleton) 'deserves so much more than this life–shortening opera,' writes JAN MOIR

The Queen (pictured with Harry and Meghan, next to Prince William and Kate Middleton) ‘deserves so much more than this life–shortening opera,’ writes JAN MOIR

Rob Lowe’s former home in Montecito goes up for sale next door to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 

By Lauren Fruen for DailyMail.com 

The home next door to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s Montecito mansion has gone up for sale for $22 million.

It’s the former home to actor Rob Lowe, reports local outlet Noozhawk

In a listing for the seven-bedroom estate potential buyers are shown round its 13-bathrooms, pool with a cabana and two separate one-bedroom guesthouses. It also boasts ocean and mountain views and a gym. 

An offer was placed on the 16,668 square feet property on Saturday, The New York Post reports, but backup offers are being considered. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ellen DeGeneres, as well as the couple’s interview host Oprah Winfrey, also live nearby. 

The home – which is just yards from the Duke and Duchesses’ property and sits on 5.56 acres of land – is around a two-hour drive from downtown Los Angeles. It was built in 1999. Actor Rob Lowe was the former owner, Noozhawk reported, though it’s unclear if he’s the immediate past resident.

Harry and Meghan gushed about their new life in Los Angeles in the Oprah interview aired Sunday as they shared candid footage of son Archie playing on a beach and showed off the hens they rescued from a factory farm.  

Meghan told the talk show host, who also happens to be a neighbor, how their move to California was ‘greater than any fairytale you’ve ever read’ after revealing she had been left feeling suicidal while living as a senior royal in the UK.

She claimed she and Harry want to ‘live authentically’ and get back ‘down to basics’ as they offered a glimpse into their life in their $14.5million mansion by showing Oprah around Archie’s chicken coop. 

The couple moved into their sprawling nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion in upscale Montecito for $14.65million in June last year. 

The 14,563-square-foot home, known as ‘The Chateau’, sits on 5.4 acres of land and immaculately clipped hedges border the estate’s stone-pillared entry gates. 

Property listings say the home took nearly five years to build and included a library, office, spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, a gym with a stripper pole, game room, arcade, theater, wine cellar and five-car garage.  

The entrance to the property opens onto a wide lane paved with hand-cut Santa Barbara Stone that leads through a grand archway of trees to the main residence, according to Zillow. 

The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool. 

It also boasts a two-bedroom, two-bath guest house, perfect for Meghan’s mother Doria, who is acting as one-year-old Archie’s nanny     

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As the minutes ticked by, it became obvious that the Sussexes’ revelations were designed to cause maximum damage to the Royal Family.

From the outset, the bomb-bay doors were open wide on this transatlantic revenge flight, the missiles falling like the raindrops Harry recently urged us all to become.

As Oprah nodded in empathy to their litany of woes, Sussex scold followed Sussex grievance followed terrible Sussex allegations about remarks made over their son Archie.

On the screen — but not off it, according to Oprah —the Sussexes stopped short of actually accusing anyone of anything, which was perhaps the worst crime of all. 

For it leaves newspapers, internet chatrooms, social media and uninformed speculation — everything in the world that they profess to hate — to do the dirty work for them. 

Look at them, pretending to hide under the petticoats of discretion in such a disingenuous fashion. 

What a pair of dangerous cowards they are.

In the history of chat shows, has anyone ever used the forum for a more brutal and sustained attack? 

Harry and Meghan clearly have suffered difficulty and pain — how we all wish things had been different on all sides — but was this carpet-bombing really necessary?

As one would expect from a friend, neighbour and wedding guest, Oprah did not probe or question too closely when the couple became vague on details, as they often did. 

They, them, the institution, The Firm? Who were they talking about?

Who said what? How and when? Clarification came there none, as Oprah moved swiftly on to the next unsubstantiated allegation.

Interestingly, there was very little discussion of Thomas Markle — a key figure in the Sussex drama — which makes one suspect that questions about him were discouraged. 

As, indeed, was anything that might have shown the couple in a bad light.

So instead we were treated to some cockle-warming footage of the family playing with Archie on a nearby beach and a rather hilarious interlude at the couple’s own home. 

There, Oprah, Harry and Meghan donned wellies and were filmed chatting in a chicken coop for hens that the couple have recently rescued from a factory farm.

She’s always wanted chickens,’ said Harry.

‘Well, you know, I just love rescuing,’ said Meghan, who perhaps didn’t mean her husband. Or maybe she did, who knows?

So in the end what did we learn? The couple showered lots of calculated praise on the Queen but said nothing about Prince Philip. 

We learnt that Prince Charles stopped taking his son’s calls, Harry is not on speakers with William and so far, so Crown.

Poor old Kate was thrown under the bus and kicked to the kerb by her sister-in-law — and Oprah just sat there and let it all happen.

‘I forgive her,’ said Meghan, after claiming that the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry but refusing to say why.

She sounded more like a Mean Girl than perhaps she intended but we are far from the shallows now, out into the uncharted waters from which there is little hope of a safe return to harbour.

At the root of everything, if you ask me, is a husband who failed to grasp the bigger picture and a wife who confused being royal with being famous — and still can’t tell the difference, even now.

The only winners from this are those who hate the monarchy: By attacking the Royal Family in such an imperious way, Harry and Meghan have come perilously close to obliterating the whole institution…and they must now lose their titles, writes RICHARD KAY

By Richard Kay for the Daily Mail

All in all, it has been the most wonderful 24 hours for the cause of republicanism for decades.

Not even the height of the Charles and Diana wars brought such a glow to the heart of anti-monarchists everywhere as Meghan and Harry’s sensational but utterly self-serving interview with Oprah Winfrey has done.

That such incendiary claims about cruelty, neglect, snobbery and racism existing at the heart of the Royal Family should come from two people who, barely a moment ago, were representing the Queen and the very institution they were so casually disparaging only adds to the enormity of this unfolding crisis.

No doubt the private telephone line at the Sussexes’ California mansion has been ringing non-stop with friends telling Meghan she had been brave, fearless and formidable with the bouquets and plaudits arriving by the truckload.

It was, let’s not forget, a consummate performance, proving that the Duchess is both articulate and ruthless.

In an 85-minute-long interview that was breathtaking in its audacity, she and Harry stripped away what few vestiges of mystery the monarchy had left, reducing it to the dimensions of a tawdry soap opera, while making the Palace and its advisers seem malevolent and destructive.

No sooner had the credits rolled on Oprah’s scoop, than unseen clips from the film in which further damaging assertions about Britain, the media and the Royal Family — including the claim that the Queen received ‘very bad’ advice from courtiers — were being broadcast.

Twenty-six years ago Harry’s mother Princess Diana similarly used a prime-time television interview to make a series of bombshell allegations about the breakdown of her marriage to the Prince of Wales, his and her adultery, and, infamously, spoke of her doubts of Charles’s suitability to be King.

That too caused uproar and was every bit a sensation, but the fallout from her appearance on BBC’s Panorama was confined largely to the domestic wellbeing of the royals and the issue of whether the Prince and Princess of Wales should divorce.

In other words, it was manageable.

No doubt the private telephone line at the Sussexes’ California mansion has been ringing non-stop with friends telling Meghan she had been brave, fearless and formidable with the bouquets and plaudits arriving by the truckload 

Diana’s son and his wife have unleashed forces that are far more serious. The gravity of the situation was made clear when the Prime Minister faced questions about the crisis during what should have been a routine Downing Street briefing about the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a historian, Boris Johnson knows that the monarchy is a major pivot of the British constitutional system and if anything is done or said to weaken the institution — such as accusing one of its senior figures of racism — then it is the duty of the Prime Minister to advise the Queen of the Government’s view.

And it is why this interview has opened up much more than just an irreparable schism with the Royal Family. It presents a clear and present danger for the future of the monarchy.

What concerns those who have the goodwill of the monarchy at heart is how Meghan and Harry have wrought such damage on its image and reputation oversea with their wilful and groundlessly vindictive remarks.

A reputation, remember, cultivated over almost 70 years of tireless service by Harry’s grandmother, the Queen.

How tragic that at almost 95, she should see her life’s work jeopardised by such thoughtlessness. In Britain many with far fewer material advantages than this pampered, privileged pair will not have been bedazzled by their attempt to secure sympathy while at the same time attempting to destroy an institution that has, by and large, served us well for centuries.

In an 85-minute-long interview that was breathtaking in its audacity, she and Harry stripped away what few vestiges of mystery the monarchy had left, reducing it to the dimensions of a tawdry soap opera, while making the Palace and its advisers seem malevolent and destructive 

Pictured: Meghan and Harry holding their son Archie

Pictured: Meghan and Harry holding their son Archie

Pictured: Meghan and Harry holding their son Archie 

For the picture they painted of life inside the House of Windsor is scarcely believable.

But in America, where the issue of social justice has been exploited by the foot soldiers of the Black Lives Matter movement, the couple’s claims that racism existed not just within the Royal Family but also in the fabric of British society were being seized on with alacrity.

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: As the Queen’s Flight is set to be sold off… it’s doors to manual and welcome aboard Heir Force One 

By Richard Littlejohn for the Daily Mail 

As if Her Maj hadn’t got enough to contend with at the moment, the Government has just announced that it is selling off the Queen’s Flight.

Her entire fleet of planes is going under the hammer to save money. For the first time in her 69-year reign, she will have to fly commercial or borrow Boris Johnson‘s official jet.

The Prime Minister’s aircraft was given a controversial £900,000 paint job last year, although that now looks like a bargain alongside Carrie’s extravagant Lulu Lytle-inspired makeover of their flat in No 11 Downing Street.

No such luxury in future for the monarch. The sale of the Queen’s Flight comes after the Royal Yacht was decommissioned in 1997, which famously brought a tear to her eyes.

Still, Her Maj will no doubt handle this latest disappointment with her customary aplomb and stoicism. In fact, she has decided on one last round-the-world trip before the planes are grounded next year.

For this historic farewell tour, the Queen will take the controls herself. This column has been invited to tag along for the ride . . .

As if Her Maj hadn't got enough to contend with at the moment, the Government has just announced that it is selling off the Queen's Flight. For its historic farewell tour, the Queen will take the controls herself. This column has been invited to tag along for the ride . . .

As if Her Maj hadn't got enough to contend with at the moment, the Government has just announced that it is selling off the Queen's Flight. For its historic farewell tour, the Queen will take the controls herself. This column has been invited to tag along for the ride . . .

As if Her Maj hadn’t got enough to contend with at the moment, the Government has just announced that it is selling off the Queen’s Flight. For its historic farewell tour, the Queen will take the controls herself. This column has been invited to tag along for the ride . . .

Good morning my lords, ladies and gentlemen and members of the trans and non-binary communities. Welcome aboard the final flight of Heir Force One.

This is your captain — or, more precisely, your Queen — speaking. Fasten your seat belts, there’s no need to stand. I shall be taking personal control of this aircraft today. We can’t all summon up Elton John’s private jet at the drop of a tiara.

Don’t panic, you’re in safe hands. I had a couple of lessons in a Tiger Moth from Amy Johnson when she was stationed near Windsor with the Air Transport Auxiliary. Heir Force One is a fully inclusive service. And when one says ‘service’, one means service in the sense of selfless dedication to duty, such as the stirring examples of courage and commitment shown by those working on the front line during the pandemic.

One does not mean prattling about ‘universal service’, swanning round sunny California delivering fatuous, self-serving lectures on alleged mental health issues and racism, while banking millions of dollars from Netflix.

One didn’t have time for mental health issues when one was driving an ambulance during the war. And this airline has been serving proudly, without fear or favour, a Commonwealth of 2.4 billion people of every creed and colour for the past seven decades.

As we circumnavigate the globe, we shall be paying a brief state visit to a number of these countries, except Australia and New Zealand, which are currently closed to international travellers.

I would remind passengers that this is a Covid-secure flight. Your health and safety is our number-one priority and face masks, visors, plastic aprons and surgical gloves must be worn at all times. This is a no-smoking, no-vaping flight.

And, yes, that does apply to you, too, Camilla.

We will also be observing all social distancing regulations, so anyone intending to join the Mile High Club today should resist the temptation.

Sit down, Andrew. This isn’t the Lolita Express.

Before we push back from the stand, our chief stewardess Mrs Middleton will be passing through the cabin checking temperatures and proof of vaccination.

Passengers must also take a pre-flight Covid test. Anyone requiring the new anal swab from China should report to the rear of the plane and ask for Backstairs Billy.

Please pay close attention to our safety demonstration, since we are going to be flying by the seat of our pants and may experience some turbulence, especially when that Oprah Winfrey interview is broadcast.

Pass the sick bags, Alice.

There is no need to be alarmed, we intend to rise above it. We have, after all, been here before. That Markle woman is a rank amateur compared to Harry’s late mother.

We are delighted to offer a number of in-flight dining options today. Passengers in our Sovereign Class cabin will be able to choose from a selection of main courses from the organic Duchy Originals range, personally selected by the Prince of Wales, and cheeses from the Daylesford farm shop in Westbourne Grove, as recommended by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. You will be required to dress for dinner.

Passengers in our Austerity Class cabin can enjoy a selection of thin-crust pizzas specially prepared by the junior assistant executive sous-chef and chief bottle washer at the Pizza Express, Woking. Our children’s menu consists of tasty and nutritious free school meals, courtesy of Sir Marcus Rashford MBE.

I’m afraid our selection of in-flight entertainment, listed in your seat-back magazine, has been revised in light of recent events.

Episodes of The Crown and Suits are no longer available, and we apologise for the intelligence-insulting trigger warnings we are obliged to screen before Dad’s Army. We trust this will not spoil your enjoyment of today’s flight.

Those of you in window seats may have noticed a number of Hellfire air-to-surface missiles attached to the underside of the wings.

Please be reassured that we will be disposing of these at the earliest opportunity, as soon as we reach our target, a private estate in Santa Barbara, California. As we begin our attack, you should remain fastened in your seats and assume the brace position, just to be on the safe side.

All being well, sometime tomorrow we should arrive back safely at Heathrow, where you will all be required to cough up £1,700 to spend the next ten days quarantining in a three-star airport hotel.

But I am delighted to report that, contrary to recent speculation, this airline is not going out of business any time soon. It’ll take more than some scheming American actress to topple us.

So sit back, relax, I have just been told we are cleared for take off.

Doors to manual, Carole!

And thank you all for choosing to fly Heir Force One.

 

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In many ways, their interview was the video of Finding Freedom, the book in which they first set out their stall of resentment last year.

The barbs and insults aimed with precision at William, Kate, Charles and the Queen are one thing, but their implication that our island nation is a country where racist attitudes flourish is a travesty. All this has been grist to the mill for those republican sympathisers to jump in gleefully and attack the monarchy.

Some revelled in the speculation to suggest that this represented such a significant moment in our royal history that the Queen might be the last monarch.

For such figures there is little chance of them pausing to wonder about the veracity of the Duke and Duchess’s claims, many of which were vague and unsubstantiated, and some downright untrue.

Take the pre-wedding ‘wedding’. Just the three of us, said Meghan — her, Harry and the Archbishop of Canterbury — ‘in our backyard’.But this, according to church sources, was no more than the wedding rehearsal and a blessing.

Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for such an exaggeration. But what about the racism claim? Meghan raised it first. She described how an unnamed royal posited ‘concerns’ about how dark their baby Archie’s ‘skin might be when he’s born’.

When Harry joined the conversation, Oprah Winfrey tackled him about it too. He said it was ‘awkward’ and that it was a ‘conversation I am never going to share’.

Instantly, it allowed those on social media to speculate wildly about which family member might have uttered such a disgracefully insensitive remark.

In an apparent attempt to defuse the growing online anger, Oprah yesterday let it be known that Harry had denied that the words about his son’s skin tone had come from either his grandmother or his grandfather, Prince Philip. But that served only to increase the frenzy at the narrowing pool of suspects.

But this was no offhand comment but rather part of a narrative arc that was designed to show Harry and Meghan as victims of distorted and outdated prejudice. By conflating this example of casual racism together with the extraordinary claim that Archie might be denied a title because of the colour of his skin and then wrapping the whole thing with the suggestion that the royals would not fund his protection, they presented themselves as victims of an arcane and unattractive system.

For those with long memories, listening to Harry preach about racist attitudes will be particularly uncomfortable. Twelve years ago the then army officer found himself condemned for making a racist insult after being caught on camera referring to a fellow soldier of Pakistan heritage as ‘our little Paki friend’.

Even so, his contribution to this most devastating of royal interviews was profound. Where his wife was fluent, Harry seemed at times out of his depth. In her segment, Meghan said claims that she had made Kate cry in the run up to her wedding were ‘the reverse’ of the truth.

Her explanation for dragging all this up again now? ‘I’m not sharing that piece about Kate in any way to be disparaging to her,’ she demurred. ‘I think it’s really important for people to understand the truth.’

Quite how that version of events will go down with ‘not disparaged’ Kate remains to be seen.

Certainly it seemed to be at odds with Harry’s remarks that William and Kate and all the rest of the family had been ‘really welcoming’.

For a pair who have spent most of the last year declaiming with Garboesque regularity that they want to be alone and protect their privacy, their list of vengeful revelations suggest they are actually addicted to attention.

I wonder, if like Diana, they will come to regret this foolish moment?

For the Princess it was a realisation that crept up on her. Buoyed by opinion polls which largely divided on gender grounds – women thought her courageous, men felt she’d shot herself in the foot – she was gratified initially.

But while the criticism of Charles forced the Queen to act and instructed the pair to divorce, it was Prince William’s reaction which hurt her most.

Just 13, he was appalled by her confession of an affair with ex-Cavalry officer James Hewitt, whom he considered a family friend.

Although she never repudiated the interview she bitterly regretted those two elements.

For Harry penitence might come when he reflects on what he said about his father.

He revealed that he had been ‘let down’ by Prince Charles who ‘because he’s been through something similar… knows what pain feels like.’

Is he really equating the misery of the Prince’s marriage break up with his fury because he couldn’t get his own way? How petulant this all feels.

For a time, he said, his father had stopped taking his telephone calls. Since those calls were, I understand, often to demand ever larger sums of money to maintain his lavish royal style, who could blame him?

Then there is his unhelpful claim that as heir and heir in line to the throne, Charles and William are ‘trapped within the system’. This is hardly designed to endear him to a father and brother who have demonstrated that they understand the meaning of royal duty.

But perhaps the parallels with Diana are more important. That, like Harry’s mother, he and Meghan do not want to be ignored and do not crave anonymity.

The trouble is by setting about the Royal Family in such an imperious and high handed way, they have come perilously close to obliterating the very institution that gives them the status they enjoy.

A week ago Buckingham Palace showed that when claims of bullying by Meghan emerged, it was not prepared to brush it under the carpet. It noted the apparent failure of the Palace’s internal human resources systems to deal with the issue and promised to investigate.

How strange that Meghan should refer to that same internal HR department in describing how she tried and failed to cope with her mental anguish. It became so grave, she told Oprah, she thought of suicide.

She was, of course, pregnant at the time but even so going to the personnel department does seem a bizarre course of action to want to take. Harry, after all was not just figure head of a mental health charity at the time, it was also not long after he had revealed how he had sought counselling himself because of years of unprocessed anguish relating to his mother’s death.

Two red light issues, racism and mental health. Both guaranteed to attract huge empathy for the duchess. If that is truly all she wanted, then of course there will be sympathy and understanding for her.

But her lack of emotional intelligence will convince many that Harry and Meghan’s interview was no cri de coeur but a self-centred rush of attention-seeking.

The tragedy is that in doing it they have opened a wound to the heart of the monarchy . The blood is flowing and it is hard to see how it can be staunched.

To survive, and here the Queen (and the Government) will have the overwhelming support of the British people, Harry and Meghan will be need to jettisoned and left without the accoutrements of their royal lives — their HRH titles.

Do nothing and the reputation of our Queen and our monarchy will be fatally impaired. If this means losing support in countries like the U.S. it must be a chance worth taking.

ROBERT HARDMAN: Allegations about Archie’s title, his ‘dark skin’ and royal protection… but there are so many more questions than answers

By Robert Hardman for the Daily Mail 

Of all the so-called ‘bombshells’, this was the big one, the 50-megaton whopper dumped from on high at the 40-minute mark.

No wonder it prompted the usually unflappable Oprah Winfrey to emit a ‘W-haaat?’

Asked to explain the lack of a princely title for her baby son, the Duchess of Sussex replied: ‘I can give you an honest answer.’

Whereupon – kerpow! Cue detonation: ‘We have in tandem the conversation of ‘He won’t be given security/He’s not going to be given a title’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be.’

In this one sentence, the institution of monarchy was simultaneously traduced as spiteful (withholding royal status from the seventh in line to the throne), callous (denying him protection) and, worst of all, racist. If one is seeking the big constitutional question amid the psychodrama, this is it.

To which, I will simply echo the duchess and give an honest answer of my own: I don’t believe it.

The couple, assisted by Oprah Winfrey, went into all these charges at length – as viewers will have seen last night. But, ultimately, their claims fall down on two counts and are, at best, hazy on the third.

Time and again during this show, we heard – rightly – much being made of ‘the truth’ (though Palace staff were, very specifically, accused of telling ‘lies’). So it is only right we should submit this most incendiary of moments to closer scrutiny.

At the time of their son’s birth, it was made very clear – by the couple’s own staff, no less – that the Sussexes did not want a title for Archie.

There was much obfuscation on other matters, you may recall, not least when the Sussexes’ staff announced that the duchess was going into labour – eight hours after she had already given birth. However, on the title, things were crystal clear: No handle, thanks. 

Asked to explain the lack of a princely title for her baby son, the Duchess of Sussex replied: ‘I can give you an honest answer'

Asked to explain the lack of a princely title for her baby son, the Duchess of Sussex replied: ‘I can give you an honest answer'

Asked to explain the lack of a princely title for her baby son, the Duchess of Sussex replied: ‘I can give you an honest answer’

Robert Hardman: Of all the so-called ‘bombshells’, this was the big one, the 50-megaton whopper dumped from on high at the 40-minute mark. No wonder it prompted the usually unflappable Oprah Winfrey (pictured) to emit a ‘W-haaat?’

Robert Hardman: Of all the so-called ‘bombshells’, this was the big one, the 50-megaton whopper dumped from on high at the 40-minute mark. No wonder it prompted the usually unflappable Oprah Winfrey (pictured) to emit a ‘W-haaat?’

Robert Hardman: Of all the so-called ‘bombshells’, this was the big one, the 50-megaton whopper dumped from on high at the 40-minute mark. No wonder it prompted the usually unflappable Oprah Winfrey (pictured) to emit a ‘W-haaat?’

'At the time of their son’s birth, it was made very clear – by the couple’s own staff, no less – that the Sussexes did not want a title for Archie,' Robert Hardman said

'At the time of their son’s birth, it was made very clear – by the couple’s own staff, no less – that the Sussexes did not want a title for Archie,' Robert Hardman said

‘At the time of their son’s birth, it was made very clear – by the couple’s own staff, no less – that the Sussexes did not want a title for Archie,’ Robert Hardman said

Archie actually had a choice of titles. He was (and, in theory, still is) the Earl of Dumbarton, the courtesy title for the eldest son of the Duke of Sussex.

Having decided that Archie’s earldom was too grand, the couple could have styled him ‘Lord Archie’, according to established form for the son of a duke.

Meghan Markle’s half-sister Samantha SLAMS her Oprah interview, 

By DailyMail.com reporters 

Meghan Markle’s half-sister Samantha has slammed the royal’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, saying ‘the truth was totally ignored and omitted’ while providing photos and documents to disprove the Duchess of Sussex’s claims. 

The 56-year-old also admitted that she has no sympathy for Meghan, 39, in the wake of the Duchess revealing that she had battled suicidal thoughts – instead accusing her of using her ‘depression as an excuse for treating people like dishrags’.  

In newly-released footage from Prince Harry and Meghan’s explosive CBS interview, the pregnant Duchess of Sussex told Oprah, 67, that Samantha ‘doesn’t know’ her, claiming she was raised as ‘an only child’ – but her half-sister insisted that couldn’t be further from the truth.  

‘I don’t know how she can say I don’t know her and she was an only child. We’ve got photographs over a lifespan of us together. So how can she not know me?’ she told Inside Edition

When Oprah had asked Meghan about Samantha’s tell-all book The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister, the Duchess retorted: ‘I think it would be very hard to tell all when you don’t know me.’

The expectant mom said that she had grown up ‘an only child’ and claimed she hadn’t seen her half-sister in nearly two decades. 

However, Samantha provided photos that show them together throughout the years, including one of them at her college graduation in 2008. 

The Duchess also claimed that Samantha only changed her surname back to Markle after Meghan struck up a romance with Harry – suggesting that her half-sister was trying to capitalize on the public interest in her name. 

‘She changed her last name back to Markle… only when I started dating Harry. So I think that says enough,’ she said. 

But Samantha insisted that this claim was wholly inaccurate, and shared further evidence to refute it. 

‘I was a Markle before she was,’ she said. ‘I though that was kind of weird that she would say I only changed my name back when she met Harry. Markle has always been my name.’ 

Samantha then showed Inside Edition her petition to change her name that was dated back to December 1997 and her college diploma, which says Samantha M. Markle. 

She also didn’t have any sympathy for Meghan being suicidal   

‘Depression is not an excuse for treating people like dishrags and disposing of them,’ she said.   

The clip from Meghan’s interview also saw her talk about her father Thomas, who is also Samantha’s father. 

She said she cannot fathom hurting her son Archie the way her own father ‘betrayed’ her before the royal wedding, admitting she ‘found it hard to reconcile’ with Thomas after he insisted that he had not been speaking to the media.

‘I look at Archie, I think about this child, and I genuinely can’t imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child,’ she said. 

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But, no, the couple wanted none of it. He would be plain Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

As Omid Scobie, the couple’s biographer and favourite journalist, tweeted approvingly: ‘All part of giving him as normal a life as possible.’ Except we are now told that this was all ‘untrue’. Meghan and Harry really did want him to be a prince, after all. It was the Royal Family and/or the courtiers (we never know for sure) who refused. ‘It was a decision that they felt was appropriate,’ said Meghan. ‘There’s no explanation,’ she added.

No explanation was needed, however. The rules were laid down by George V in letters patent on November 30, 1917.

These state that the children of the monarch, the children of the sons of the monarch and the eldest grandson of the Prince of Wales all qualify as a prince or princess with the style of HRH. In other words, when the Prince of Wales becomes king, Archie will become a prince anyway. And since those are the rules, no ‘decision’ had to be taken.

No doubt the Sussexes may feel irked that the Queen has amended George V’s rules in favour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

That has nothing whatsoever to do with snubbing Archie or his parents, though. It actually happened in 2012, well before the Cambridges even had children. The 1917 rules were simply changed to prevent sex discrimination.

As things stood under the old rules, if the Cambridges’ eldest child had been a daughter she would not have been royal whereas a subsequent younger brother would have been HRH Prince ‘X’. (In the end, they had Prince George first and the move was redundant.)

The duchess went on to suggest that, even when Archie does get his ‘HRH’ status, there is some secret plan at work to remove it.

Instead of seeking out future hypothetical slights, the couple could always look to the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Both their children were born princely – with ‘HRH’ – but their parents have chosen not to use either.

So, did Archie’s lack of princely status deny him ‘security’ – whether on racial grounds or any other?

If it did, it has nothing to do with the Royal Family. That is a question for the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who decides police matters. She may not take too kindly to being accused of racial discrimination against a babe in arms. And then we come to the nuclear nub of this issue. Meghan said all this viperous pettiness and those ‘conversations’ (plural) about her child’s complexion – which, she admitted, she did not witness – were swirling around during her pregnancy.

Yet, an hour later, after Harry was finally invited on to the sofa, he hadn’t been following the script. Because he drove what lawyers might call a coach and horses through his wife’s testimony.

Referring to ‘that conversation’ (singular), he said it took place ‘right at the beginning’, adding: ‘Like, there was some real obvious signs before we even got married that this was going to be really hard.’

I am not saying this conversation (or even conversations) did not happen. But we are offered no context. What we are being given are loose, conflicting allegations of a racially driven ‘decision’ to block a title that did not yet exist and a royal usurpation of police powers which hasn’t happened.

That does not strike me as sufficient grounds to trash the monarchy, let alone to summon the tumbrils.

But, ultimately, feelings towards the monarchy are more about emotion than facts. The Duke of Sussex has said he had no choice but to sign up to media deals because his ‘family literally cut me off financially’ last year.

Some will see this as a laudable quest for financial independence. Others will point out that his father was paying the couple’s bills the year before while they were busy registering trademark applications for ‘SussexRoyal’ events, books, stationery, socks and pyjamas.

The duchess said that she was a virtual prisoner of Palace control freaks who took control of her passport, keys and even her lunch plans. Yet, later, she said that the Palace took no interest at all. ‘There was no guidance,’ she said. ‘There’s none of that training that might exist for other members of the family. That was not something that was offered to me.’ Which one was it?

This is an exercise which has raised more questions than it has answered. Clearly, there is an element of fault and regret on both sides. Clearly, the Sussexes feel a lot happier in their new life and, as such, may feel vindicated in doing what they have done.

However, they have done more to entrench positions than to shift them, and at great personal cost all round.

So let’s have one more ‘honest answer’ to one more question: Was it really worth it?

DOMINIQUE SAMUELS: This clash of the Royals was about culture… NOT colour

By Dominique Samuels for the Daily Mail 

Who can forget the goodwill that gripped this country in the run-up to the wedding of Prince Harry and his bride-to-be?

Among BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) Britons like myself, these feelings were all the stronger.

Many of my younger friends, who perhaps had had little interest in the Royal Family, were overjoyed to see the charismatic, mixed-race Meghan – a thirty-something divorcee with an established career – bringing a new dynamic to the monarchy, one far more reflective of the wider world.

I saw her as a force for good: a catalyst for modernising the Royal Family and a potent symbol of 21st-century change.

The Queen with Meghan Markle at the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire in 2019

The Queen with Meghan Markle at the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire in 2019

The Queen with Meghan Markle at the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire in 2019

What a shame that that early optimism now lies in tatters.

Today, less than three years after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex walked down the aisle, those hopes have been dashed amid explosive accusations of racism within and without the monarchy – racism apparently so entrenched that it became one of the driving factors behind the decision for the couple to abandon the House of Windsor and the UK.

The shocking claims made to Oprah Winfrey have found support among members of the black community on both sides of the Atlantic, with some well known black British figures saying they feel horrified by the Sussexes’ claims and endorsing the Duchess’s sensational allegations of racism towards her and Archie.

Yet despite being mixed-race myself, I cannot join in this chorus of outrage and finger-pointing. For a start, there are the internal inconsistencies.  

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who is joined by her mother Doria Ragland, show their new son Archie to the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who is joined by her mother Doria Ragland, show their new son Archie to the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who is joined by her mother Doria Ragland, show their new son Archie to the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle

Whatever Meghan's aspirations, she was always going to find herself just one cog in a much bigger and more important machine

Whatever Meghan's aspirations, she was always going to find herself just one cog in a much bigger and more important machine

Whatever Meghan’s aspirations, she was always going to find herself just one cog in a much bigger and more important machine

Thomas Markle is set to appear on GMB after Meghan accused him of ‘betraying’ her in bombshell Oprah interview 

Meghan Markle’s estranged father is to appear on Good Morning Britain after his daughter accused him of ‘betraying’ her in a bombshell Oprah interview.

Thomas Markle is set to speak out on the ITV breakfast show tomorrow morning.

It comes after claims were made about him by the Duchess of Sussex in unaired footage from the explosive CBS interview, released to American viewers on Sunday night.

Announcing the exclusive interview, GMB host, Piers Morgan, said on Twitter: ‘Meghan Markle trashed her dad on US TV today.

‘On tomorrow’s Good Morning Britain, Thomas Markle will give his first exclusive interview in response.’ 

It comes after the Duchess told Oprah Winfrey that she could not fathom hurting her son Archie the way her own father ‘betrayed’ her before the royal wedding

Meghan said she has ‘found it hard to reconcile’ with her father for insisting he had not been speaking to the media.

She said: ‘I look at Archie, I think about this child, and I genuinely can’t imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child.’

Meghan drew a contrast with her mother Doria Ragland, who she praised for remaining ‘in silent dignity for four years’.

The clip also saw Meghan distance herself from her half-sister Samantha, who has released a ‘tell-all’ book about their relationship.

The Duchess retorted: ‘I think it would be very hard to tell all when you don’t know me.’

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Meghan admits she was accepted with open arms by the Queen, who breakfasted with her, gave her pearl earrings and a matching necklace, and even shared a blanket with her to keep warm during a drive.

You cannot offer warm words for the Queen, yet in the same breath claim the institution she heads is racist. 

Meanwhile, though there were some questionable headlines, the media – as newspaper archives attest – was largely welcoming when Meghan arrived on the scene.

Sure, some eyebrows were raised about her more eccentric family members. But her mother, Doria Ragland, a model of grace and dignity, has been widely admired.

There is no doubt that Meghan received some racial abuse from the nastier corners of social media. I was horrified by it myself and felt nothing but sympathy for her.

Yet everything I have seen suggests that the problem behind the collapsing relations between her and the monarchy lay not with her skin colour but more who she is: an ambitious, proudly independent Californian with very different values from the conservative and often stuffy institution that she found herself in.

However much the deeply protective Harry had sought to prepare her, what a shock it must have been for this actress and yoga-loving blogger – steeped in the wellness culture of LA and loud about her unbendingly ‘woke’ views – to find herself in an environment governed not by the cult of the individual but by tradition, service and duty.

Whatever Meghan’s aspirations, she was always going to find herself just one cog in a much bigger and more important machine. 

That cannot have been easy for her – and it seems that it became harder to bear over time.

Finally, in her determination to have her voice heard – and as a woman with an acute political compass – Meghan surely knew that throwing race and racism into the equation this week would spark particularly powerful emotions and inflict maximum damage.

Harry, too, could not have been unaware how explosive a claim of racism against the Royal Family would be, and how badly it would wound the institution and family he had rejected.

All BAME people in multi-cultural Britain have experienced both casual and overt racism.

But the vast majority of this country welcomed Meghan with open arms. 

The clash between this Hollywood princess and real royalty was one not of colour – but of culture. Now the reverberations from that clash are echoing around the world.

LINDSAY NICHOLSON: In allowing the Harry and Meghan situation to come to this, the Royals have let an impressive woman slip through their fingers

By Lindsay Nicholson for the Daily Mail

Usually it’s not difficult to spot a Royal bride on a visit to an urban community centre.

She might not be wearing a tiara, but there could well be a hat and clutch, even gloves, and flunkies whose job it is to make sure only a favoured few get close to the woman who would soon be referred to as Her Royal Highness.

When Meghan visited the kitchen of the Al-Manaar mosque in West London, there was no formality, no protocol, certainly no hierarchy, just a woman in jeans with her sleeves rolled up helping out, Lindsay Nicholson recalls [File photo]

When Meghan visited the kitchen of the Al-Manaar mosque in West London, there was no formality, no protocol, certainly no hierarchy, just a woman in jeans with her sleeves rolled up helping out, Lindsay Nicholson recalls [File photo]

When Meghan visited the kitchen of the Al-Manaar mosque in West London, there was no formality, no protocol, certainly no hierarchy, just a woman in jeans with her sleeves rolled up helping out, Lindsay Nicholson recalls [File photo]

But this wasn’t happening when I arrived at the Al-Manaar mosque in West London one morning in spring 2018. To be sure, there were a couple of dark-suited men with earpieces, suggesting that one of the most talked-about women in the Western world had got there ahead of me.

But there was no formality, no protocol, certainly no hierarchy.

In a room of women of all ages and sizes, representing 15 different cultural heritages, speaking a dozen languages, all working to feed the hundreds made homeless after the Grenfell fire, it took me a while to find the Royal bride.

Until, that is, I spotted a woman wearing jeans, her sleeves rolled up, elbow-deep in scrubbing pans at the sink. There was no standing on ceremony and definitely nothing to indicate that in a few days’ time this particular washer-upper would discard her apron and walk down the aisle of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, to marry Prince Harry. There was laughter, jokes and kissing instead of handshakes.

Three years on, as I watch the international furore grow around the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, I can only wonder why no-one seems to see the Meghan that I, and the women of the community kitchen, got to know that day.

I wonder where that valuable asset to the Royal family, who seemed to fit in so effortlessly, whose future seemed so bright and assured, has gone. I can’t believe it has come to this . . .

Meghan was still living in Canada in 2017 when the devastating fire ripped through the London Tower block killing 72, making it the worst peacetime disaster in the capital since the World War II.

But as soon as she moved to London to be with Prince Harry, realising Grenfell was on her doorstep at Kensington Palace, she began making secret visits, in particular helping the women of the nearby mosque who had begun cooking meals to feed the displaced.

The kitchen was only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and when she asked why, she discovered that the problem was funding.

It was her idea to raise the money to expand the kitchen by collecting the family recipes of the women into a cookbook, on which I, as former editor of Good Housekeeping, was happy to help out.

The food on offer was extraordinary, world-class cuisine from around the world — all coming out of this ramshackle kitchen.

Meghan thought so too and we collaborated on what became Together: Our Community Cookbook published in September of that year.

It meant Meghan was popping along to the mosque, in an unmarked car, right up until a couple of days before the wedding and was back again and helping with the book edits not long after.

Even with her new title, a Royal Highness now, there was no difference to the person we had come to know. She even brought with her food she had made in the kitchens at the Palace to share at lunch.

Women were preparing food at the mosque for those left homeless by Grenfell but could only afford to do so twice a week. It was Meghan's idea to raise the money to expand the kitchen by collecting the family recipes of the women into a cookbook. Pictured: Meghan (centre) at the mosque

Women were preparing food at the mosque for those left homeless by Grenfell but could only afford to do so twice a week. It was Meghan's idea to raise the money to expand the kitchen by collecting the family recipes of the women into a cookbook. Pictured: Meghan (centre) at the mosque

Women were preparing food at the mosque for those left homeless by Grenfell but could only afford to do so twice a week. It was Meghan’s idea to raise the money to expand the kitchen by collecting the family recipes of the women into a cookbook. Pictured: Meghan (centre) at the mosque

Chatting once everyone had been fed, I remember asking Meghan if she and Harry had managed to fit in a honeymoon. She just gave me that cheeky smile that she uses when she doesn’t want to answer, and changed the subject.

It was deftly done, more in common with how an accomplished celebrity handles things. No offence was taken. But if she set boundaries with me — a journalist, after all — there was no hint of frostiness with the women in the kitchen, allowing herself to be the butt of their jokes, having her cooking skills criticised and enjoying their laughter.

Above all, though, I think they recognised her as a fellow grafter, someone who did the work behind the scenes, not just when there were cameras around.

If she was privately suffering at this stage, as she has suggested in interview, there was no sign of it. Of course, one never knows what goes on behind a smile, but the person I saw that day was impressive.

The star quality of Diana, but at the same time relatable and accomplished. It’s the Royal family’s loss that she has slipped through its fingers, never to return.

But there are many people in this country who don’t really feel the Royal Family has much to say for itself. Perhaps if things had been handled a little better, Meghan could have been the bridge between the disaffected and the traditionalists.

Who knows? But what is certain is that there is a lot to be admired about a Duchess in jeans doing the washing up. I just wish she’d stayed longer, to do more.

Meghan the mermaid and a fairy tale with a fishy ending: As the Duchess claims she’s like a cursed Disney character, SARAH VINE asks does her story really hold water?

By Sarah Vine for the Daily Mail

Fair to say, I think, that the Meghan and Harry interview with Oprah Winfrey raises so many more questions than it answers.

Which member of the Royal Family was it who allegedly expressed ‘concerns’ about Archie’s skin colour? Which sister-in-law actually made the other one cry? And did Prince Charles really stop returning his son’s calls?

The truth about all these, and many other allegations made by the couple, may never be known.

However, there is one thing that emerges quite clearly: the Duke and Duchess are plainly caught up in their very own Disney fairy tale fantasy.

It’s not just the general soapiness of their demeanour towards each other, present in every look and every gesture throughout the two-hour long confessional. It’s the fact that she even says it, in so many words.

Why are Harry and Meghan so defensively in love with their own love story? Why are they seemingly so determined to cast themselves as heroes of their own Disney romance? And why do they seem to think their love for each other gives them a right to ride roughshod over everyone else in their lives?

Why are Harry and Meghan so defensively in love with their own love story? Why are they seemingly so determined to cast themselves as heroes of their own Disney romance? And why do they seem to think their love for each other gives them a right to ride roughshod over everyone else in their lives?

Why are Harry and Meghan so defensively in love with their own love story? Why are they seemingly so determined to cast themselves as heroes of their own Disney romance? And why do they seem to think their love for each other gives them a right to ride roughshod over everyone else in their lives?

Towards the end of their audience with Oprah, Meghan recalls sitting with Harry in their cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace when Disney animated film The Little Mermaid came on the TV.

MICHAEL RIEDEL: Britons think Harry and Meghan are brats. But we Americans adore them 

By Michael Riedel for the Daily Mail 

To my friends in Britain: It may rankle that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have turned their back on you, opting for the blue skies of California over the grey skies at Frogmore Cottage.

But you’re not their audience anymore. Harry and Meghan are playing to America now and, on that score, they’re like a popular West End musical that only becomes a smash when it plays Broadway.

To begin with, they have the seal of approval from Oprah Winfrey, whose interview with them on Sunday reached over 17million viewers. Oprah is a beloved figure in this country. Think Michael Parkinson or Terry Wogan but many, many times over.

She pressed Harry and Meghan on a few tough questions – but you knew she was in their corner from the moment she joined them in feeding their rescue chickens.

I can understand that to many Britons, the couple came off as entitled, spotlight-loving brats who discovered that, at the end of the day, they’d never be more than second fiddles to William and Kate.

But to Americans, they appeared as an adorable, accessible couple whose charisma was so dangerous that it had to be stifled by ‘The Firm’. It may be an act – it probably is – but they pulled it off brilliantly.

America, as you know, does not have a monarchy. In fact, we threw you guys off our back in 1776 and for the next 200 years or so, we paid scant attention to the Crown.

But then in 1981, Diana Spencer came along and captured our imagination. She was a fairy tale princess straight out of Disney World. She even managed to make starchy Charles seem somewhat human.

But then The Firm turned on Diana. When she fought back, we were in her corner.

She was human. The monarchy was imperious, remote and cruel.

The Queen regained some of our respect when she bent her head before Diana’s coffin but we could never forgive Charles for cheating on the radiant Diana with Camilla. There was, however, Harry – the little boy who walked behind his mother’s coffin. To us, he seemed more American than British – open, fun-loving, misbehaving as a teenager but on the whole a very likeable guy.

When he got caught living it up in Las Vegas, I’m sure much of Britain was appalled. Americans thought: ‘What a great night on the town! Wish I’d been there!’

His wedding to Meghan – who is one of us – was a big hit over here, bigger even than William and Kate’s. Theirs was an official pageant. We sensed Harry and Meghan’s reception was a lot looser and more fun.

But The Firm has squashed the fun out of them. In so doing, it’s behaving exactly as it does in Netflix’s The Crown, which is enormously popular here. Harry and Meghan skilfully portrayed it that way the other night. Meghan’s trump card was the race card. When she said one member of the Royal Family worried about how ‘dark’ her baby might be, much of America – caught up in our own reckoning about racial injustice – gasped along with Oprah.

Harry and Meghan shrewdly distanced the Queen from their criticisms. Americans adore the Queen but that affection will never accrue to Charles or William. They’re too stiff, too formal, too boring.

I have no idea what Harry and Meghan’s masterplan is. But should they want to establish an alternative court in America – the Windsors of the West, if you will – they laid the foundations for it on Sunday night.

Michael Riedel is a columnist for the New York Post

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‘And I went, ‘Oh, my God, she falls in love with the prince’,’ she says. ‘And because of that, she has to lose her voice. But by the end, she gets back her voice’.’

Oh my God indeed, what wonderful serendipity. ‘Silence — or silenced.’ Geddit? Almost as though someone had scripted it. Indeed, Peter Morgan (writer of The Crown) could not have put it better himself.

For those readers unfamiliar with the canon, The Little Mermaid tells the story of beautiful Princess Ariel, daughter of Triton, who falls in love with a human prince, somewhat implausibly called Eric, after she saves him from a shipwreck.

In order to win his heart, she makes a deal with the evil sea-witch Ursula: in return for the beautiful mermaid’s voice, Ursula will give her legs so she can do dancing and go to balls and do other princess stuff.

Much drama ensues, a lot of it involving crustaceans; but in the end true love triumphs, Ariel gets her voice back — and the pair live happily ever after.

I must admit it’s a long time since I saw the 1989 film, so perhaps I missed the part where she and Eric trash his entire family’s reputation before selling off his crown jewels to Netflix, but you get the drift.

And in many ways it’s a useful comparison because it speaks volumes about how Harry and Meghan see themselves, and probably explains far more about the couple’s behaviour than any of the rather vague accusations of maltreatment by ‘The Firm’.

So much of their anger and resentment seems to be directed towards those people — from Prince William, who famously questioned the speed of their romance, to the courtiers and Palace advisers who fell foul of them — who dared introduce the tiniest element of reality into their perfect fantasy.

A fantasy scripted as follows. Harry, the handsome, tortured Prince searching for that one true love; Meghan the wide-eyed innocent, noble not by birth but in spirit.

He, her protector, determined to shield her from the casual snobbery of his stuffy family — even at the cost of his own crown; she his emotional saviour, his one true path, cruelly traduced by the savage forces of convention but determined, through her diamond tears, to free him from the straitjacket of the past.

Everything they do — from the studious black and white shots of them cradling each other in an assortment of bucolic settings, to the homilies they post on social media — is intended to perpetrate this notion of theirs as The Greatest Love Story Of All Time, a triumph of good over evil, a stirring, heartwarming tale of love against the odds.

The image they seek to project is so aggressively perfect it’s actually a little bit scary.

And anyone who doesn’t buy into their ‘story’, or who dares question that precise narrative is, basically, a cartoon villain.

The Duchess of Cambridge is cast as one of the Ugly Sisters for making poor Cinders cry over the bridesmaids’ dresses.

Mean old father-in-law Charles cuts off his son and leaves them barely able to scrape together the millions to buy their Santa Barbara mansion.

The British newspapers are beastly because they don’t think it’s a terribly clever idea to pontificate about climate change and then fly half way around the world for a baby shower. And so on.

So why are Harry and Meghan so defensively in love with their own love story?

Why are they seemingly so determined to cast themselves as heroes of their own Disney romance? And why do they seem to think their love for each other gives them a right to ride roughshod over everyone else in their lives?

In Harry’s case, it seems abundantly clear. His mother was a romantic whose dreams of being the perfect princess were cruelly dashed by the bitter realities of her marriage to Prince Charles.

He sees his father in large part as the architect of her agonies, and is determined not to let the same things happen to the woman he clearly adores.

Meghan is perhaps a little different. Like most little girls, she harboured dreams of princessdom. But hers went a little further than most.

The mother of one of Meghan’s closest childhood friends from school, Sonia Ardakani, once revealed that her daughter and Meghan were captivated by the life of Harry’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and used to watch a video of her wedding to Prince Charles over and over.

In Sunday's interview, Meghan compared herself to Disney's The Little Mermaid (pictured) - who falls in love with a prince and loses her voice

In Sunday's interview, Meghan compared herself to Disney's The Little Mermaid (pictured) - who falls in love with a prince and loses her voice

In Sunday’s interview, Meghan compared herself to Disney’s The Little Mermaid (pictured) – who falls in love with a prince and loses her voice 

On a trip to London in 1996, the then 15-year-old Meghan was photographed smiling excitedly with a friend in front of Buckingham Palace — just as hundreds of tourists do every day because this is where the Queen lives.

And yet this contrasts with her assertion, in this interview, that she wasn’t much interested in the whole royal circus when she first met Harry.

‘I went into it naively,’ she says, ‘because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the Royal Family. It wasn’t something that was part of conversation at home. It wasn’t something that we followed.’

One final thought. In a now long-deleted post from her blog, The Tig, Meghan wrote: ‘Little girls dream of being princesses — and grown women seem to retain this childhood fantasy . . . just look at the pomp and circumstance surrounding the royal wedding and endless conversation about [sic] Princess Kate.’

Just look indeed. 

BEL MOONEY: My pity for these sad, naive, damaged souls 

By Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail 

Somebody told me that there is a ‘Team Meghan’ and a ‘Team Queen’ and you have to pick your side.

I thought it was true — and certainly knew where I stood. As the ‘sides’ lined up on social media, ready to watch the Oprah Winfrey interview, this passionate monarchist — devoted to the Queen and the Prince of Wales — felt nothing but acute hostility towards Meghan and her hapless husband.

Now, having watched the (seemingly endless) programme, I feel a sympathy that has surprised me.

In spite of all I know of their privileged lifestyle, somewhat-hypocritical ‘woke’ pretensions and all that’s irritating in their self-indulgent California-speak, watching the Sussexes parade their feelings to the U.S.’s Queen of TV left me feeling very sad.

It was tragic to watch Prince Harry patronise his father and brother by expressing ‘compassion’ for them, pour salt into existing wounds and then state so glibly that ‘time heals’. Because it doesn’t — or at least, not always.

Yes, time can slowly restore and people can forgive, but only when they stay calm, gradually forget harsh words and mistaken actions and move quietly and deliberately towards reconciliation.

How can that happen when you have just chosen to wash your monogrammed family linen in front of millions of people?

I kept wondering how I’d feel if these were two ‘ordinary’ people writing to my Saturday advice column about the stress of marrying someone very different, or the rising panic when you don’t fit in, or the loneliness of feeling misunderstood by everybody, or hating your life so much you think you might be happier if you were dead.

The world is full of confused people who get things very wrong in their lives and usually blame others. Advice columns like mine are inundated with toxic family problems — to the point where I often despair and wonder if anybody ever communicates properly or thinks twice before an angry rant.

Why should the rich and famous be different? Why are they any less deserving of understanding — even compassion — for their shocking mistakes?

Watching Oprah’s interview, I tried to feel furious with those hugely rich, pampered people, living in a gated paradise while whinging about how badly they have been treated.

But I’m afraid I couldn’t help but pity the couple as two surprisingly naïve, youngish souls who know astonishingly little about real life — and have instead revealed just how damaged they both are.

Was the decision to spill the beans to Oprah part of a strategy to promote their lucrative brand — or yet another yelp in one long cry for help?

This isn’t so much a case of ‘their own truth’ (as Winfrey would put it, in that wince-inducing phrase) as a painful revelation of how little they understand of what they are really saying.

They present themselves as truth-tellers, more sinned against than sinning. Yet they seem ignorant of the fact that ‘truth’ is a double-edged sword, and that by stating one thing you can reveal something quite different.

How extraordinary, for example, that Meghan — the allegedly free spirit — should prove to be so obsessed with titles. It came up again and again, especially when talking about their baby son.

Meghan wanted him to be called Prince Archie, even though he has no claim to the title yet. What’s more, since all titles are in the Queen’s gift, this was in fact a complaint against the grandmother-in-law who, she also said, had been ‘wonderful’ to her.

The Duchess seems unaware of the contradictions between pretending to know nothing of the monarchy (really?), then feeling trapped and frustrated by its protocols and complaining because of this perceived slight to her son.

To me it revealed an almost pathetic neediness for status.

The institution of the monarchy is indeed a stuffy, hidebound thing. If it was tough for Diana, born into the English aristocracy, how strange must it have seemed to this American actress who accepted her Prince after a whirlwind courtship in which both were blinded by the stars in their eyes.

Did they really ask for help which was refused? Did they not have good, wise friends outside?

Yes, it seems curious for Meghan to moan that she wasn’t reminded or helped to learn the National Anthem (come on, lass, actresses have to learn their lines), but there’s undoubtedly a rigidity to royal protocol which must chafe.

It must have felt entrapping to both the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who nevertheless resolutely do their duty.

I don’t believe anybody has the right to say Meghan is exaggerating the loneliness and despair that led her to think it would be better if she were no longer alive. I feel compassion for somebody so out of their depth in a foreign country. The trouble with her revelation is that she seemed to forget her responsibility towards those watching.

It is extremely unwise to parade your suicidal thoughts when you have a professed interest in mental health and are followed by millions of young people who, in the stress of lockdown, may be adversely influenced by your words.

Ah, but there was little of mature wisdom in this interview. Sadly, I was reminded of children caught in wrongdoing who brightly spin a yarn to get themselves off the hook.

There was so much that should have been kept strictly private. I wish for her own sake that she had understood there are times when ‘your own truth’ can do untold damage. I also wish she could have shown her love for her (clearly much weaker) husband by protecting him from his own version of the ‘truth’ about his family, too.

The horrible story of questions over the colour of a baby’s skin is left hanging — and therefore, by implication, trashes the whole family. Was this deliberate?

Anybody who reveres the lifelong service of the Queen and Prince Charles and respects their love of the Commonwealth will know the suggestion of racism is outrageous.

It reveals a terrible lack of emotional intelligence in Harry and Meghan not to realise how cruel is the hurt they are dishing out.

For all the glitz, glamour and big bucks, they are a sad couple.

Is there anybody to give them wise advice? Would they listen if somebody like me — who so adored our soldier prince and celebrated his wonderful wedding to a stunning, ‘ordinary’ woman — begged them now to embrace the privacy they have so shockingly breached and focus on their babies?

Because if they don’t, they are storing up greater unhappiness in the future. If things go wrong you will find, Sir, you need your family.

 

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