They shared one of the most magical love stories in history: a fairytale romance with a dashing prince. But while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have created a happy life for themselves with and their growing family in Montecito, California, no one expected their next chapter would end up like this, “stepping back” from the Royal Family for a more private life. Tonight, Meghan and Harry will tell the world their story, sitting down with Oprah Winfrey, about what led them to start a new life abroad.
ELLE.com understand that the Queen will not watch the interview, which airs between 1 and 3 a.m. London time. Like so many members of the Royal Family, Her Majesty’s focus at the moment is only on duty, not the spectacle that has dominated the front pages of the London papers this last week.
“The whole world is in chaos, not to mention the family with Prince Philip in the hospital, that is solely what the family is focused on,” a Royal source shared with ELLE.com. Prince Philip is going into his third week in a London hospital after undergoing a heart procedure earlier this week. The global pandemic and the family’s concern about Philip’s health remains the overriding priority. ELLE.com understands several other members of the family also will not be tuning in. Instead, much of what they hear will come from aides and what they learn from media reports.
Despite the “disappointment” from inside the Palace that Harry and Meghan have decided to do a sit-down interview and tabloid speculation that the Commonwealth Service would be an opportunity for the Royal Family to settle scores with dueling messages, nothing could have been further from the truth. The Commonwealth service takes place annually.
The Queen spoke poignantly about the “spirit of unity,” “selfless dedication to duty,” “friendship,” and the “testing times” the family had to confront while being separated, as Prince Philip starts his third week in a London Hospital away from the Queen, and Harry and Meghan remain in California with their second child on the way. Queen Elizabeth was dressed in a cornflower blue suit designed by Angela Kelly with a sapphire and diamond chrysanthemum brooch she first wore in her engagement photos with Prince Philip.
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In themes that ran throughout the Commonwealth service, which also seemed to be a subtle reflection and a nod to the Sussexes, Prince Charles spoke eloquently, saying the “essence of the Commonwealth is its remarkable diversity,” and a choir sang the Jamaican icon Bob Marley song “Everything’s Gonna be Alright.”
However, in what appeared to still be a sign of what could come, the war of words escalated with a Sunday Times report that royal courtiers are “prepared to retaliate with fresh disclosures about the couple’s behavior if the monarchy is attacked” in their sit down interview with Oprah.
Earlier this week, the U.K. Times newspaper published a story alleging several members of Meghan’s staff had been mistreated. The timing of the bullying allegations, two years after they were first reported, were certainly considered suspect coming just days before the interview was set to air. Meghan’s lawyers stated it was a “calculated smear campaign” to undermine the Duchess ahead of the couple’s first major interview since relocating to California.
Despite this, Buckingham Palace announced on Wednesday that it would be investigating the bullying claim. “Our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article,” the Palace said in a statement. “Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned. 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.”
As the world tunes in to Meghan and Harry sitting down with Oprah, in what will most definitely be the most watched interview since Princess Diana shocked the world revealing, “there were three of us in this marriage,” the monarchy will again be under scrutiny. The Princess of Wales ultimately regretted her interview. Time will tell if Meghan and Harry’s tell-all is an opportunity for the family to finally move on or reopen old wounds.
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