Royal warfare erupted again last night after Harry and Meghan revealed deeply private family conversations to a journalist friend.
They told Gayle King that the prince had finally spoken to his father and brother following the explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Hours later, Miss King disclosed on American TV that the talks ‘were not productive’. The breakfast show host also suggested that Meghan was unhappy no one in the Royal Family had thought to telephone her.
And, in a thinly-veiled threat, the presenter said the duchess had ‘documents to back up everything she said on Oprah’s interview’.
The fact the Sussexes chose to reveal sensitive discussions between senior members of the Royal Family met with an icy response from Buckingham Palace.
‘None of the households – the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – will be giving a running commentary on private conversations,’ said a senior royal source.
Harry and Meghan have prompted fresh outrage after sharing private conversations with Prince Charles and Prince William with US journalist Gayle King
It was clear, however, that both the Windsors and senior officials see it as a severe betrayal of trust and unhelpful to attempts to rebuild bridges.
Prince William, when he was questioned by a TV reporter on a public engagement last Thursday, said he had not yet spoken to his younger brother, but vowed he would.
He also insisted the Royal Family were not racists after Meghan claimed one member had raised ‘concerns’ about ‘how dark’ her baby’s skin would be, and suggested there was an attempt to deprive Archie of a title and security because he was of mixed race.
The duchess also said she had been given so little support by the Palace that she suffered suicidal thoughts.
Meghan Markle is reportedly unhappy after no one in the Royal Family had thought to telephone her following her bombshell interview, alongside husband Prince Harry, with Oprah Winfrey
Harry said he felt ‘really let down’ by his father, accused him of cutting him off financially and refusing to take his calls, while also revealing the gulf with William.
The Queen responded to the Oprah interview with a deeply personal message saying that while ‘some recollections vary’, the issues raised, particularly that of race, were ‘concerning’ and would be taken seriously.
Significantly, however, she emphasised that from now on the difficulties would be addressed by the family privately.
Prince William is pictured driving outside Kensington Palace in London on Tuesday, after it was revealed he had spoken with Harry over the weekend
The Duke of Cambridge was seen in London on Tuesday afternoon after Gayle King revealed his conversation with Prince Harry
There have been a handful of stories published in the UK media reporting that Charles and William felt hurt by what Harry had said, but with very little detail on what was taking place behind the scenes.
That was turned on its head yesterday when Miss King, who attended Meghan’s baby shower in New York in 2019 and is Miss Winfrey’s closest friend, decided to speak out on her prime-time morning show on CBS, the same channel that broadcast the Oprah interview.
Harry was accused of ’embarrassing’ hypocrisy this week for speaking to CBS, which caused outrage in 2004 by showing a photograph of his mother dying in a 1997 car crash in Paris.
Gayle King revealed Prince Harry had spoken to his father, Prince Charles, and his brother, Prince William, over the weekend, but talks did not help repair a rift within the royal family
HOW GAYLE STIRRED UP A STORM
‘Harry has talked to his brother and he has talked to his father too. The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive but they are glad that they have at least started a conversation.
What is still upsetting to them is that the Palace keeps saying they want to work it out privately, but yet they believe these false stories are coming out that are very disparaging against Meghan still.
No one in the Royal Family has talked to Meghan yet at this particular time.
It’s frustrating for them to see that it’s a racial conversation about the Royal Family when all they wanted all along was for the royals to intervene and tell the Press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant.
They both want to move forward with this and they both want healing in this family. At the end of the day, that is Harry’s family.
Meghan has documents to back up everything that she said on Oprah’s interview. Everything.
Anyone who’s worked with her [Meghan] will tell you exactly who she is, she’s really a sweet caring person.
No one has acknowledged ‘Houston, we have a problem here’. That’s really all they [Harry and Meghan] want. They want a conversation.’
Miss King told viewers she had called Harry and Meghan at their £10million California home ‘over the weekend’ to discuss the fall-out from the interview and revealed they had told her details of their intimate conversations.
She said: ‘Well I’m not trying to break news, but I did actually call them to see how they were feeling, and it’s true, Harry has talked to his brother and he has talked to his father too.
‘The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive. But they are glad that they have at least started a conversation.’
Miss King also claimed the couple were unhappy that ‘the Palace’ had allegedly been leaking what they believed were untrue stories to the media.
She added: ‘And I think what is still upsetting to them is the Palace keep saying they want to work it out privately, but yet, they believe these false stories are coming out that are very disparaging against Meghan, still.’
She made clear that the duchess was unhappy that no one in the family had called her. ‘No one in the Royal Family has talked to Meghan yet, at this particular time,’ she said.
The Sussexes effectively accused the Royal Family and Buckingham Palace of institutional racism in their interview with Miss Winfrey.
But Miss King claimed they felt ‘frustrated’ that much of the coverage had focused on this – when they had apparently wanted only to provoke the monarchy into taking action against the media, which they believe has a racist agenda against Meghan.
‘It’s frustrating for them to see that it’s a racial conversation about the Royal Family when all they wanted all along was for the royals to intervene and tell the Press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant,’ Miss King said.
‘And until you can acknowledge that, I think it’s going to be hard to move forward.’
She also raised the issue of the investigation launched earlier this month by Buckingham Palace into how claims of bullying against Meghan lodged by a senior member of staff were handled.
She said: ‘Anyone who has worked with her will tell you exactly who she is. You know, she’s really a very sweet, caring person.’
There was no immediate indication from the couple’s team of PR representatives – either in London or California – as to whether Miss King was speaking at their request.
How on earth will lobbing yet more grenades help heal the rift?
COMMENT BY STEPHEN GLOVER
Only nine days ago, Meghan and Harry launched several bazookas in the direction of the Royal Family with the assiduous assistance of Oprah Winfrey, firstly on CBS in America and then on ITV.
Tens of millions of people watched as Meghan alleged that an unidentified member of the Royal Family was racist, while Harry accused his father both of financial meanness and refusing to take his calls. Poor Prince William was said by Harry to be ‘trapped’.
As family spats go, this was a humdinger. Many people on the receiving end of such public insults from close relatives might prefer not to talk to them for a fair while.
Speaking on CBS This Morning, Gayle King said: ‘Meghan has documents to back up everything that she said on Oprah’s interview. Everything’
How Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview has caused a royal crisis
- February 15 – It is confirmed Harry and Meghan will be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on CBS in March, in which they will discuss Megxit and other issues.
- February 16 – Harry’s grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh is admitted to hospital in London
- February 19 – Harry and Meghan are stripped of their prestigious patronages as the couple confirmed Megxit has become permanent.
- February 26 – Harry says the ‘toxic’ atmosphere created by the British press forced him and his family to leave the UK, in an interview with James Corden
- March 1 – A preview clip of the Oprah interview shows Harry saying his biggest fear is that ‘history would repeat itself’ in a reference to his mother’s death, while the host is also seen asking Meghan if she was ‘silent or silenced’, but her answer is not revealed.
- March 3 – A spokesman for Meghan says she is ‘saddened’ by a report in The Times that she faced a bullying complaint while at Kensington Palace.
- March 7 – Meghan and Harry’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey airs in the US. The Sussexes laid bare their brief lives as a working royal couple, alleging a member of the family made a racist comment about their son, and how the duchess had suicidal thoughts but her approaches to the monarchy for help were turned down.
- March 8 – The fallout from the interview continues and the couple’s chat with Oprah airs in the UK on ITV.
- March 9 – Buckingham Palace issues a statement, saying the Queen is ‘saddened’ to hear the full extent of the challenges faced by the Sussexes and the issues raised around race are ‘concerning’.
- March 11 – Prince William insists the royal family are ‘not a racist family’ while visiting a school in London.
- March 16 – Gayle King reveals Harry has spoken to his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles.
But, to their credit, Prince Charles and Prince William did not sit roasting. They appear to have picked up the telephone over the weekend to speak with hot-headed Harry. It seems they both love and care for him.
And what was their reward? CBS presenter Gayle King – a close friend of Meghan, as well as of Oprah Winfrey – informed the world yesterday that Harry had spoken on the phone with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge, jeopardising the peace process as she spilled the beans.
Ms King boasted she had talked to the Sussexes, and got from them the ‘word that these conversations were not productive’.
According to her, it was ‘frustrating’ for Meghan and Harry that everyone was talking about the charge of royal racism.
All they had ever wanted was for the ‘royals to intervene and tell the Press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant’. It appears that neither Charles nor William was keen to take up the cudgels on their behalf.
I suppose we should consider the possibility that Gayle King is an out-and-out fantasist who imagines the thoughts whirling through Meghan’s mind.
But it seems most unlikely. Apart from anything else, the Sussexes have not contradicted her account.
No, she was speaking as Meghan’s spokeswoman – and Harry’s too, I fear – in what almost amounts to an infringement of privacy by a couple who are forever complaining about media intrusion.
Yet once again they have spoon-fed an American broadcaster.
Appearances can be deceptive, but if Prince William’s glum face yesterday was any guide, he was seriously cheesed off by the Sussexes’ breach of confidentiality. One can understand his feelings.
Why has Meghan, with Harry presumably at her side, chosen to lob another grenade at the Royal Family just as Charles and William were recovering from the last assault?
For her calculated intervention will surely make the resumption of peace talks between the two sides more difficult. It could widen the gulf, and increase a justifiable sense of betrayal in royal circles.
Meghan is evidently an intelligent woman, who is well aware of the likely consequences of Ms King acting as her mouthpiece.
If she is prepared to risk the further souring of relations with the Royal Family, one can only assume it is because she has another motive.
Basking in the approval of millions of Americans after her Oprah Winfrey interview, and now an international celebrity in her own right, she is evidently prepared to go on undermining the Royal Family until or unless it comes to heel.
Her request for its help in her self-serving war against the Press is manifestly absurd.
She – I should say Gayle King – accuses the Press of still running ‘unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant’ without (as usual) citing a single instance.
The truth is that in Meghan’s view any criticism of her must be racist.
This is a wild and ridiculous assertion – which does not prevent it from being shared by her uncritical admirers.
Gayle King ‘was speaking as Meghan’s spokeswoman – and Harry’s too, I fear,’ writes STEPHEN GLOVER
How will this end? It seems increasingly unlikely that the wounds Meghan has caused, and continues to cause, will easily be healed.
She gives no indication that she wants to heal them.
From her spokeswoman Gayle King she received this implausible encomium.
‘You know, she’s really a very sweet, caring person. And, as I say, Meghan has documents to back up everything that she said on Oprah’s interview. Everything.’
That is certainly good to know.
We await proof of her contention that she was married in secret three days before their wedding in Windsor.
Documents confirming ‘several conversations’ when she was pregnant about ‘how dark [her baby’s] skin will be when he’s born’ will also be fascinating.
There is, of course, one person who can help restore Meghan’s sense of proportion, tighten her grip on reality, and rebuild bridges with the Royal Family. And that is her husband.
Harry can’t want this increasingly messy and unpleasant estrangement from those he still loves.
I don’t believe he can look forward to living as a celebrity, albeit one junior to his wife, in a foreign country, forsaken by his family.
There were wise words yesterday from former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
She spoke of the importance of public service, and insisted that ‘there’s nothing more important than family’.
Yes, wise words. But will Meghan – and Harry in particular – listen? I fear this story may have the unstoppable momentum of tragedy. Prince Charles and Prince William were right to pick up the phone. If they get the same treatment again, next time could be the last time.
‘Public service is not about us… it’s about the people we serve’: Michelle Obama takes thinly veiled swipe at Meghan’s interview but adds she was ‘NOT surprised’ by claims of Royal Family racism
Michelle Obama told NBC that racism claims didn’t shock her
Michelle Obama reacted to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Oprah Winfrey interview this morning by saying that she personally chose to focus on the people she ‘serves’ rather than herself while in public service in what appeared to be a thinly veiled swipe at the couple.
Mrs Obama was asked by Jenna Bush Hager what she thought of Meghan’s comments in a segment that aired on NBC today. ‘When you watched Meghan Markle speak out, what went through your mind?’ Ms Bush Hager asked.
Mrs Obama replied: ‘Public service it’s a bright, sharp, hot spotlight and most people don’t understand it nor should they. The thing that I always keep in mind is that none of this is about us, in public service, it’s about the people that we serve.
‘I always try to push the light back out and focus it on the folks that we’re actually here to serve.’
Ms Bush Hager then said: ‘But what about when she talked about the fact that she experienced racism? I mean I feel like that was heartbreaking to hear that she felt like she was in her own family, her own family, thought differently of her.’
Mrs Obama, who met most of the Royal Family when serving as First Lady, replied: ‘Race isn’t a new construct in this world, for people of color. So it wasn’t a complete surprise to, sort of, hear her feelings and have them articulated.
She went on: ‘The thing that hope for and the thing that I think about is that this first and foremost is a family and I pray for forgiveness and healing for them so they can use his as a teachable moment for them all.’
Mrs Obama’s choice of words refers back to the war of words between Harry and Meghan and Buckingham Palace in February when the Palace said the pair were permanently stepping back from a life of ‘public service’ and not returning to work.
The couple responded with their own statement saying: ‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’