She may be nearly 95, but the Queen is no pushover as her wayward grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have discovered.
Her Majesty is not amused at being blindsided by the news that the couple were doing a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey or by their petulant response to hearing they were losing their royal patronages.
While she is “deeply saddened”, she is firmly but graciously standing her ground with Harry and Meghan, who despite having walked away from their senior royal roles still want to carry out selected parts of the job. She has told them no.
Meanwhile, Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have been slammed for their disrespectful behaviour towards the Queen, in particular a churlish statement they released after learning that they would not be allowed to keep patronages and honorary military appointments now that they are no longer fulltime working royals.
The whole sorry saga has unfolded as the Queen is having to deal with the stress of her husband Prince Philip being in hospital. The 99-year-old was admitted to the private King Edward VIII hospital in London for an infection as a “precautionary matter”, according to Buckingham Palace. It is not COVID-related.
The Queen had to put her foot down with Meghan and Harry after it was revealed that the Californian-based Sussexes would be spilling the beans to their friend and neighbour Oprah. The couple, who are expecting their second child, had not told the Queen about the interview, which should have been a common courtesy. Instead, the palace found out after a staffer from US channel CBS, which is producing the exclusive chat, asked British channel ITV for access to Meghan’s 2019 interview with Tom Bradby, in which she talked about how unhappy she was.
When ITV approached Meghan and Harry’s spokesperson for comment, a press release was hurriedly issued by CBS, and the Queen was apparently not impressed when she heard that first Meghan and then Harry would be sharing details of their life with Oprah.
Harry had earlier been in touch with his grandmother, asking for an early decision on matters that were due to be reviewed once their initial 12-month “Megxit” period was up, including whether they would continue to be patrons of several UK organisations. It’s thought he wanted to know where they stood before they recorded the 90-minute interview with the talk-show host. But the interview went ahead before he got an answer, and parts of it have had to be edited and re-recorded because of the change in their status.
A couple of days after the news of the interview broke, Buckingham Palace put out a statement saying the duke and duchess had confirmed that they would not be returning as working members of the royal family.
Following conversations with Harry, the Queen had written to them, letting them know that “in stepping away from the work of the royal family, it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service”.
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