News & Opinion

Royal news

Palace fears Meghan and Harry could expose sexism and racism in TV interview

The Daily Beast

January 13, 2020

With Tom Sykes

Plus: How Harry pitched Meghan to Disney, William’s pain at not being able “to put his arm around” Harry, and why Elton John knew more than the Queen, who attended church Sunday.


Harry and Meghan TV interview could expose royal family’s racism and sexism

As the Queen was driven into church at Sandringham this morning, she had much to mull ahead of face-to-face talks tomorrow at her Norfolk country estate.

For when she, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry meet at Sandringham, they do so with Harry and Meghan (who will be reportedly joining by phone from Canada) allegedly holding one lethal bargaining chip.

Palace insiders are worried about Harry and Meghan giving a “a full, no-holds-barred sit down interview,” which could be used to brand the monarchy as racist and sexist.

Tom Bradby, the couple’s friend and de facto spokesperson, raises the possibility in The Sunday Times, with palace courtiers also cited.

Bradby, who conducted last year’s ITV interview in which Harry and Meghan spoke about their unhappiness, and now appears to be a mouthpiece for Harry and Meghan rather than an impartial journalist, effectively warned that failure to keep the pair on side could lead the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give a devastating interview.

In a separate, front page story, The Sunday Times states that, while Bradby does not say so explicitly, “courtiers fear Meghan would brand the royal household racist and sexist.”

Bradby writes: “If their co-operation in the ITV documentary was qualified honesty, what would the real deal look like? I have some idea of what might be aired in a full, no-holds-barred, sit-down interview and I don’t think it would be pretty… the family urgently needs a meaningful peace deal with the young breakaway couple, because a protracted war would be very bloody indeed.”


William: I just want to put my arm around Harry

A reminder in The Sunday Times that, forgetting all the constitutional implications, the abdication of Harry and Meghan is essentially a very sad family fall-out.

“I’ve put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can’t do that any more; we’re separate entities,” William reportedly told a friend, “I’m sad about that. All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we’re all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the team.”


How Harry and Meghan see it

Bradby’s piece gives an interesting account of the crisis from Harry and Meghan’s side, and it appears that, as many of us have suspected, the existential crisis into which Harry and Meghan have plunged the Crown grew out of personal difficulties.

Bradby says that, “the atmosphere soured hard and early” at the time of the wedding in 2018. “Really damaging things were said and done,” Bradby writes, adding that Meghan and Harry “find some other members of the family (with the exception of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh) jealous and, at times, unfriendly… there is no doubt Harry and Meghan feel they have been driven out.”

Bradby also further indicts the family when he writes: “Certainly, when I inquired if Meghan was “OK,” I took her reply—“Thanks for asking, as not many people have”—to refer to the family itself, rather than the public or the media.”

Bradby has some interesting speculation as to how the Sussexes might fund themselves: “I’d say Meghan might take on a few big roles as a brand ambassador and do some work in television as an executive producer, perhaps on programs that promote the causes and charities she has long been interested in (like the series on mental health with Oprah Winfrey on Apple TV that was announced some time ago).”

“I imagine Harry will probably concentrate on the voluntary work he has done over the years—the Invictus Games, Sentebale—and if he were to step into the commercial space, I suspect it would be an area that already interests him, such as eco-tourism.”

The award for understatement of the day goes to Bradby when he writes: “Some other members of the family say Harry and—particularly—his wife come across as extremely difficult.”


“Crappy birthday”

The Harry and Meghan-related tumult that engulfed the royal family also cast a shadow over the 38th birthday celebrations of Kate Middleton on Thursday.

Kate was sighted behind the wheel of a car, looking as neutrally tempered as anyone might do driving (which the newspapers somehow decoded as her looking angry). In fact, given that she was surrounded by photographers, Kate looked quite calm. The Sun still headlined their story, “Crappy Birthday.” If the day itself was slightly overshadowed, one rumor has it that she had a party last weekend—just a few days before everything went haywire.


Royal fashion watch

The Queen’s most famous accessory is her handbag, always in the crook of her arm. But one, even more expressive accessory was on full display this week as she was seen in public for the first time since the hullabaloo over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke so loudly. As she drove to a shoot, the Queen wore one of her tightly bound headscarves. The look, whether intentional or not, makes her look spectacularly mafioso.


Money maker

Is the Royalist alone in thinking the wild estimates that Harry and Meghan could make billions of dollars in some post-royal future rather optimistic? Apparently not: Alexandra Shulman, former editor of British Vogue, sounds a note of caution in the Mail on Sunday, writing: “Unanchored celebrity has a built-in obsolescence… The celebrity circuit is complex and quite brutal. If you become known as an easy gun for hire to the highest bidder, in a short time your currency drops… Right now the Sussexes are hot. Meghan is beautiful and impassioned. Harry is still dashing and a frontline Royal. Things change. In the world of celebrity, you are always having to watch out for the new kid on the block. Fame is a greedy beast that has to be continually fed.”

The only real comparison is the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. After Edward VIII abdicated as King and moved to Paris, they were briefly feted, but, deprived of the patina of royalty, the wider public soon lost interest. They remained objects of fascination, but surprisingly quickly became not very important or influential people.

The Duke was even reduced to hosting a paid-for drinks party in which he commentated on the Queen’s coronation for rich Americans in a desperate attempt to keep himself in footmen.


Disney duchess

Meghan has already got a toe back in the world of work after reportedly signing a voiceover deal with the Walt Disney Company in exchange for a donation to Elephants Without Borders, a wildlife charity that helps to track and protect the animals from poachers.

Video footage has been published today on several newspaper websites including the Mirror of the Prince seemingly trying to persuade Disney boss Bob Iger to give his wife a job at the Lion King premiere in London last July.

In a conversation caught on camera Harry gestures to Meghan and says: “You do know she does voiceovers?”

A stunned Iger, perhaps more used to waiters passing him scripts, replies: “Ah, I did not know that.”

Harry replies: “You seem surprised. She’s really interested.”

Iger gawps a bit then says: “We’d love to try. That’s a great idea.”

Will pitching for jobs at official events be part of Harry and Meghan’s business plan?


Elton knew before the Queen

It has emerged that Elton John, who rewrote Candle in the Wind for Diana’s funeral in 1997, was told about Harry and Meghan’s plans before the Queen.

A source told the Daily Mirror: “Elton speaks to Harry and Meghan every day. He’s an inspiration, an almost ‘motherly’ figure. They made their decision alone, but he’s a shoulder to lean on and listened as they spoke about their plans. He is a constant support, especially to Meghan, and is very protective of them both… He has been their rock. So while he would never tell them what to do he has been a listening ear and support throughout.”


Meghan left royal What’sApp group

It appears no one from the family except Harry is still in contact with Meghan after she hit the “exit group” button on a family What’sApp group six months ago, the Mirror reports. We bet she still steals the odd glance at Harry’s phone.


This week in royal history

Frogmore in Windsor is most familiarly invoked now as Harry and Meghan’s home in England, refurbished with millions of pounds of public money. But it is also the burial place of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, Queen Victoria’s last surviving son, who died on January 16, 1942.