In Run-Up to Oprah’s Interview With Harry and Meghan, Royal Accusations Fly

In Run Up to Oprahs Interview With Harry and Meghan Royal

The massive face-off isn’t till Sunday, however the pregame skirmishes have been raging on each side of the Atlantic for days.

When Prince Harry and his spouse, Meghan, current their aspect of a sensational royal rupture to Oprah Winfrey, it’s positive to be some of the anticipated, and most heavily-spun, tv interviews in latest reminiscence.

In tantalizing excerpts dribbled out by CBS, which is broadcasting the two-hour prime-time program, and in scalding allegations about Meghan leaked to a British newspaper, the British royal household and the self-exiled couple are maneuvering furiously earlier than the interview airs to attempt to form the narrative.

Was Meghan the sufferer of a chilly, unwelcoming household that cruelly remoted her after she married Harry and is now defaming her? Or was she a Hollywood diva who mistreated her workers, throwing the House of Windsor into turmoil and triggering a breach between the household and one in every of its most beloved younger princes?

All of that is enjoying out towards the backdrop of an ailing household patriarch, Prince Philip; a revered however getting old Queen Elizabeth II; and a household that’s rising from a yr of seclusion through the pandemic to discover the injuries nonetheless recent from Harry and Meghan’s abrupt departure for a new life in California.

The newest shot on this public-relations battle was fired on Thursday, when CBS launched a 30-second teaser clip from the interview, by which Ms. Winfrey requested Meghan how she believed Buckingham Palace would react to her opening up about her life after her fairy-tale marriage to Harry in May 2018.

“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that ‘the firm’ is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” stated Meghan, referring to the royal household by a nickname typically used to evoke the much less high-minded qualities of the monarchy.

“If that comes with risk of losing things,” she stated to Ms. Winfrey, “I mean, there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”

The clip appeared calculated to reply to an explosive report within the Times of London on Tuesday {that a} former royal aide to Meghan filed a criticism with the palace in October 2018, accusing her of bullying her workers, lowering some junior aides to tears, and driving two private assistants out of the royal family.

A spokeswoman for the couple known as the allegations an “attack” on the character of the American former actress — all of the extra painful as a result of she “has been the target of bullying herself.”

Buckingham Palace, nevertheless, stated it was “very concerned” concerning the allegations, would look into them and invited former workers members of the couple to participate within the investigation “to see if lessons can be learned.”

The spectacle of the royal household conducting a human-resources investigation of one in every of its most well-known in-laws left longtime observers of the monarchy slack-jawed. They predicted it could lead to additional embarrassing disclosures, for the reason that palace didn’t act on the criticism on the time, and different individuals who labored within the palace would possibly take it as an invite to lodge their very own prices of mistreatment.

“They have opened an unbelievable can of worms,” stated Peter Hunt, a former royal correspondent for the BBC. “Are they really going to find her guilty of bullying? Will it be in the form of a #MeToo investigation? It really feels like the anarchists have taken over the institution.”

To some extent, the costs and countercharges characterize a conflict of cultures: the old school press leaks of the British media — lengthy utilized by members of the royal household or their allies to settle scores — versus the publicity machine of an American tv community and one of many nation’s strongest media personalities.

CBS and Ms. Winfrey’s firm, Harpo Productions, have stoked expectations for the interview, which will likely be broadcast in Britain on Monday by the ITV community, with peekaboo excerpts that present her seated with Harry and Meghan in a relaxed out of doors setting, however provide solely glimpses of what they’re speaking about.

“Were you silent or were you silenced?” Ms. Winfrey asks at one level, as Meghan seems at her however says nothing. “You’ve said some pretty shocking things here,” she says at one other, as dramatic music wells up.

Harry, who will be part of Meghan for the second half of the interview, seems briefly in an excerpt to say, “My biggest concern was history repeating itself.” That is an obvious reference to the destiny of his mom, Princess Diana, who was killed in a automobile accident in Paris in 1997 after a high-speed pursuit involving photographers.

That expertise left Harry with an abiding animus towards the British press. He and Meghan have each filed privateness lawsuits towards the tabloids, and in a latest interview with the late-night talk-show host James Corden, Harry cited the relentless intrusiveness of the press as a significant motive for the couple’s resolution to relocate to Montecito, Calif.

Ms. Winfrey, nevertheless, is promising greater than a mere recitation of the couple’s acquainted press grievances. She is promising filth.

“I just want to make it clear to everybody that there is no subject that is off limits,” she stated. Her pal, Gayle King, a number of “CBS This Morning,” stated this week, “I’ve heard from reliable sources, this is Oprah talking, that it’s the best interview she’s ever done.”

George F. Schweitzer, a former head of CBS Marketing, stated he anticipated the community would spare little to promote the interview, given its mixture of “three magic words: ‘Oprah. Harry. Meghan.’”

The timing of the interview, following the flagship CBS News program “60 Minutes,” would enhance its rankings, he stated, as will the theme, which can enchantment to viewers craving for an escape after a yr of residing with the coronavirus.

With that sort of advance hype, Buckingham Palace is steeling itself for a tough night. The royal household has an extended historical past of warts-and-all interviews which have reverberated for years afterward.

In 1994, Prince Charles confessed he had cheated on Diana. A yr later, Diana advised an interviewer, “there were three of us in this marriage.” In 2019, Prince Andrew’s ham-handed protection of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sexual predator, helped ship Andrew into exile from public life.

This time, nevertheless, Meghan’s repute in Britain has suffered even earlier than she has uttered a phrase. The prospect of the interview with Ms. Winfrey, which might cement a story about her struggling by the hands of the royal household, prompted former members of her workers to converse to the Times of London about their remedy whereas working for the couple, in accordance to two folks with information of the scenario.

In October 2018, their communications secretary, Jason Knauf, notified the non-public secretary of Prince William, Harry’s brother, about incidents by which he stated the duchess had manipulated and humiliated workers members, the Times of London stated. The non-public secretary, Simon Case, is now the cupboard secretary, some of the highly effective posts within the British authorities.

Staff members have been additionally dismayed, the newspaper stated, when Meghan wore a pair of earrings to a proper dinner in Fiji that had been given to her as a marriage present by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, three weeks after the killing of the dissident Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. An American intelligence report launched this week concluded that the prince had permitted the assassination.

A spokeswoman for the couple stated Meghan was “deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.” She didn’t deal with questions concerning the earrings.

In its assertion on the bullying claims, Buckingham Palace stated, “The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not, and will not, tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace.”

For Buckingham Palace to be dragged right into a dispute like that is exceedingly awkward. That has sown doubts that the queen or Prince Charles are behind efforts to discredit Meghan. They are extra doubtless to be preoccupied by Prince Philip, 99, who’s recovering from a coronary heart process in a London hospital.

But relations between William and Harry proceed to be deeply strained, in accordance to folks with ties to the palace. Longtime observers of the royal household stated that when disputes like this erupt into the open, it often suggests that somebody — both senior palace officers or a member of the family — did nothing to cease it.

“This tap could be turned off,” Mr. Hunt stated. “The Buckingham Palace bit of it could be turned off in a nanosecond.”


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