It’s been a headline-grabbing few weeks for the royal family in the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Following the release of the interview in the United Kingdom, Buckingham Palace issued a short statement which did not give any detail on the royals’ reaction to some of the more shocking claims made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Now, royal expert Katie Nicholl tells ET that there was one member of the family — Prince Charles — who initially wanted to break down the couple’s quotes point by point.
Harry made several claims against his father in the interview, at one point saying Charles stopped taking his calls for a time after “I took matters into my own hands” regarding his family’s exit from working royal life. Meghan and Harry also alleged that a member of the royal family was wondering about the color of their son, Archie’s, skin before he was born.
“My understanding is that Prince Charles did want to issue a more detailed statement [in response] to the Oprah interview and possibly address some of those issues point by point. But there was an evening to think about things and in the end, it was decided that a shorter statement would be better, [and] that going at things point by point could be potentially more damaging and give more ammunition for the row to continue,” Nicholl explains. “I think Prince Charles and Prince William were keen to correct some of the things that the couple had said.”
Harry also claimed in the Winfrey interview that Charles cut him and his family off financially after he and Meghan stepped down as senior members of the royal family in March 2020.
“Prince Charles was particularly frustrated by the suggestion that financially he just cut the couple off, when if you speak to sources in Charles’ camp, that wasn’t the case. He did continue funding them for quite some time after they moved first to Canada and then to America,” Nicholl notes. “So yes, I think there was at one point the feeling that they did want to address more than just the issue of race.”
Following the interview, the royal family released an official statement, saying, “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
As for the rumors of rifts from within the family, Nicholl notes that the royals have been more united this past year as they seek to serve amid the coronavirus pandemic and following Meghan and Harry’s exit.
“I’m not sure there’s truth to the queen being frustrated with Prince Charles,” Nicholl says. “I think in all of this, certainly over the past year, both as a result of the pandemic and as a result of Megxit, I think what you’re seeing is a very closely aligned, top tier royals, the queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William, really working as a unit together. I think there isn’t discord there. I think they’re coming at this from the same place and working together as a team.”
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