Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will sit down for a two-hour, tell-all interview with Winfrey where they will finally share their side of the story behind their departure from duties as senior members of the royal family.
Although the couple is expected to air some grievances about their time as royals, a report from The Sunday Times notes that the queen and the rest of the royal family are hoping to distance themselves from the increasingly toxic PR battle with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by focusing on larger issues. As a result, the queen is reportedly unlikely to even watch the interview Sunday.
The queen will reportedly fill her schedule this coming week with engagements designed to show that both her and the family’s focus is on the coronavirus pandemic and getting the country back on its feet as vaccines roll out, not potential fallout from the TV interview.
A senior source told the outlet, “the mood in the family is: can everyone just shut the hell up and can we just get on with the day job?”
Another source close to the queen added: “I don’t think anyone should expect Her Majesty to stay up and watch the interview. She won’t. What should Monday really be about? Children going back to school, the effectiveness of the vaccine programme. These are the big issues the royal family wants to focus on, not news about the circus that is Oprah and all things Sussex.”
Although the queen is publicly ignoring the interview, it’s still a potentially consequential event for the royals.
One source told The Sunday Times that the queen is “cheesed off” by the broadcast and is open to exploring countermeasures such as stripping Prince Harry and Markle of their titles. However, although they’ve been stripped of a handful of royal patronages, the source noted that the stripping of titles would be a particularly drastic step for the monarch to take.
Relations between the couple and the palace have become increasingly strained as the broadcast approaches. On Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation into accusations that Markle bullied her staff in 2018.
The sit-down with America’s queen of celebrity interviews is a chance for the couple to explain what led them to quit royal life, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. A book about their departure, “Finding Freedom,” also alleges that senior royals had little respect for Meghan, a biracial former actor and that courtiers treated her badly.
Pre-released clips have already shown Prince Harry talking about his fears that history would repeat itself after his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash while pursued by paparazzi. In another clip from the interview, Winfrey asks Markle how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?”
“I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” the duchess replies.
“The firm” is a nickname for the royal family, sometimes used with affection and sometimes with a note of criticism.
In another pre-released clip, Markle told Winfrey how “liberating” it was to have a conversation with the television host without the input of royal minders.
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto and The Associated Press contributed to this report.