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Harry and Meghan drop ‘bombshells’ on royal family

This undated image released March 7, 2021 courtesy of Harpo Productions shows Britain’s Prince Harry (L) and his wife Meghan (C), Duchess of Sussex, in a conversation with US television host Oprah Winfrey. AFP PHOTO

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s explosive tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey went much further than expected and will be hugely damaging to the royal family, British media said Monday.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as they are formally known, delivered “enough bombshells to sink a flotilla”, reported The Daily Telegraph, as the dust settled on the broadcast on Sunday night.

“And possibly, some might fear, do similar damage to the British monarchy,” it added.

“Whatever the royal family was expecting from this interview, this was worse,” another traditionally “establishment” newspaper, The Times, said.

“We were clearly expecting something pretty dramatic. I think it exceeded those expectations,” royal expert Robert Hardman told AFP.

Tabloid newspapers filled their front pages with screaming headlines quoting Meghan: ‘How dark will baby’s skin be?’ wrote The Daily Mail.

The Sun went with: ‘I felt suicidal.’

 

An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed as an illustration in Brighton on March 8, 2021, shows front page headlines reporting on the story of the interview given by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, to Oprah Winfrey, which aired on US broadcaster CBS.

While the CBS interview was not broadcast in the UK, discussion dominated social media from the early hours.

Chris Ship, the royal editor of ITV, which is to air the interview in Britain on Monday night, said he was “momentarily paralysed” by the sheer volume of revelations.

“The couple had effectively loaded up a B-52 bomber, flew it over Buckingham Palace and then unloaded their arsenal right above it, bomb by heavily-loaded bomb,” he added.

Buckingham Palace now faced “two very serious questions” — first, Meghan’s claim of racist comments about her baby’s potential skin colour, and that she received no support while having suicidal thoughts.

 ‘Biggest crisis’

Queen Elizabeth II was the only member of the royal family to “emerge unscathed,” wrote The Daily Telegraph.

Yet Ship said since the couple voice such grave concerns about the family, “surely their severe criticisms of it extend to the Queen herself?”

The interview eclipsed recent royal scandals, journalists and commentators said.

 

In this file photo taken on June 17, 2016 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) arrives in the parade ring for day four at Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London, on June 17, 2016.

 

 

“We have never heard anything like this in any previous royal interview,” Roya Nikkhah, royal correspondent for The Sunday Times, told BBC television.

Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire said it was a “bigger crisis” for a royal family “struggling for relevance” than the divorce of Harry’s mother Diana from Prince Charles, or an affair by Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah.

Harry and Meghan used the show to set out a “new narrative”, The Times reported. Yet there was also criticism of the couple for giving the interview.

 ‘Self-obsessed’

The Daily Mail, which has been highly critical of Meghan, quoted royal expert Robert Jobson as saying that the couple were “self-obsessed”.

And he called their interview at times “terribly self-indulgent”.

Several media outlets questioned the specifics, including Meghan’s suggestion that the royal family changed their rules to refuse their son Archie the title of “prince” because of his skin colour.

“This is a complex area – there are rules laid down that Archie would not be a prince at birth, but would be a prince when Charles (Harry’s father) becomes king,” wrote The Times.

Archie could have taken a title, the Earl of Dumbarton, but his parents chose for him not to use it, said Hardman, a royal reporter for the Daily Mail.

Meanwhile the decision to stop providing security to the couple, one of Harry’s main grievances, “isn’t really a matter for the royal family” but “one for the police,” Hardman said.

Overseas, The Australian newspaper wrote that the royal family’s dispute had “gone nuclear”.

But its Europe correspondent Jacquelin Magnay said the couple were trying to “destroy the institution which provides them with a lucrative platform,” as they have struck deals with streaming giants Netflix and Spotify.

In this file photo (L-R) Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge holding Prince Louis, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain’s Princess Beatrice of York, Britain’s Princess Anne, Princess Royal,, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s Princess Eugenie of York, Britain’s Lady Louise Windsor, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York,, Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex,, Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, James, Viscount Severn and Isla Phillips stand with other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a fly-past of aircraft by the Royal Air Force, in London on June 8, 2019.

 

 

The New York Post called Meghan a “perpetual victim”, accusing her of exaggerating the royals’ hostility to the couple’s relationship.

“The British taxpayers spent millions on Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Prince Charles walked her down the aisle… People were rooting for them,” it said.

The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Australian and the New York Post are all part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp global media empire.

Meghan and Harry have also taken legal action against the publishers of the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Daily Mirror.

Buckingham Palace has not commented — and it is not immediately clear whether they will.

The interview is so damaging that the palace should be “very methodical” in responding to “each and every claim,” said Nikkhah.

The royal family will continue their ordinary routine despite the scandal, said Hardman.

“I think they’ll just get on with it.”

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