The Duke of Sussex has described himself, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge as being ‘trapped’ within the system of the monarchy.
In his bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry sensationally revealed his family ‘literally cut me off financially’ and said he was only able to break away from royal life thanks to his inheritance from his late mother Princess Diana.
He claimed he was ‘trapped’ before he met Meghan as he revealed his father Charles ‘stopped taking my calls’ during the build-up to the announcement that he and Meghan were leaving the royal family.
Discussing his fractured relationship with Prince Charles, Harry said his father stopped taking his calls, adding, ‘There’s a lot to work through there. I feel really let down.’
Asked if he would have left or ever stepped back were it not for Meghan, Harry replied, ‘No.’
In the candid sit-down, Harry added: ‘I wouldn’t have been able to, because I myself was trapped, as well. I didn’t see a way out. You know, I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped.
Prince Harry today said he was ‘hurt’ by the Queen’s decision to remove his royal patronages and honorary titles, but insisted he ‘completely respects’ her decision.
The Duke of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey that he would ‘still love for us to be able to continue to support those associations, albeit without the title or the role’.
The interview was filmed before Buckingham Palace announced on February 19 that Harry and his wife Meghan Markle would lose all their remaining royal titles.
Oprah asked Harry about the decision which was ‘coming up at the end of this month’, and the Duke told her it would be that ‘they will be removing everything’.
The chat show host asked Harry: ‘Are you hurt by that decision?’
Harry replied: ‘I am hurt. But at the same time, I completely respect my grandmother’s decision.
‘I would still love for us to be able to continue to support those associations, albeit without the title or the role.’
Oprah also asked the couple: ‘Could you be as satisfied now, doing this through your own organisation, Archewell?’
And Meghan replied: ‘Well, we… this is what we’re doing, right? We’re still doing it. We’re still going to always do the work.
‘But I also think it’s important for you or everyone to know this decision that was made about patronages and all of that was before anyone knew that we were sitting down with you.’
Oprah added: ‘I heard a story that you’re getting punished now. Those were being taken away because you did sit down with me.’
But Meghan said: ‘Those letters, those conversations, that was finalised before anyone even knew that we were going to sit down. So, that’s just not true.
‘But the moment that I met meg, and then our worlds sort of collided in the most amazing of ways. [I was] Trapped within the system, like the rest of my family are.
‘My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that.’
Discussing their fractured relationship, Harry also revealed he and his father were not on speaking terms after Prince Charles stopped taking his calls.
He added: ‘There’s a lot to work through there. I feel really let down.’
In the most anticipated royal interview in decades, Meghan and Harry also revealed:
- Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, made Meghan cry ahead of the royal wedding – but ‘owned it’ and apologised;
- She described meeting the Queen for the first time and having to learn to curtsy
- Meghan claims she was ‘naive’ when she joined the Royal Family – and never researched what it would be like, or Harry. She said that she was initially welcomed by the royals, but was later ‘silenced’ and felt trapped;
- She described being cradled by Harry after feeling that she no longer wanted to live; Meghan claimed she begged for help from Palace but denied it because she wasn’t a ‘paid employee’;
- The Sussexes choose to reveal the gender of their baby to Oprah;
Asked by Winfrey why they stepped back from the royal family to forge their own family life, Harry blamed a ‘lack of support and lack of understanding’.
Winfrey asked ‘did you blindside the Queen?’ with the announcement they were leaving the family. Harry replied: ‘No, I would never blindside my grandmother, I have too much respect for her.’
Asked where that story came from, Harry said he could ‘hazard a guess’ that it may have come ‘from within the institution’.
Harry said while in Canada he had ‘three conversations with my grandmother and two conversations with my father, before he stopped taking my calls’.
He also revealed Charles had asked for him to put his plan ‘in writing’.
Harry said he had to act for the wellbeing of himself, Meghan and Archie, adding: ‘He asked me to put it in writing, and I put all the specifics in there, even the fact that we were planning on putting the announcement out on the 7th of January.’
Oprah asked: ‘So, you just said that your dad stopped taking your calls. Why did he stop taking your calls?’
Harry replied: ‘Because… by that point, I took matters into my own hands. It was like, I need to do this for my family. This is not a surprise to anybody.
‘It’s really sad that it’s gotten to this point, but I’ve got to do something for my own mental health, my wife’s, and for Archie’s, as well, because I could see where this was headed.’
He added: ‘I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like, (and) Archie’s his grandson.
‘But at the same time – I will always love him – but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened and I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.
‘But they only know what they know, or what they’re told.’
After Harry said his family were scared of the tabloids turning on them, Winfrey said: ‘Turning on them for what? They’re the royal family.’
Harry added: ‘To simplify it, it’s a case of if you as a family member are willing to wine, dine and give full access to these reporters, then you will get better press.’
Winfrey said: ‘Why do you care about better press if you’re royal?’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have insisted their interview with Oprah Winfrey would be the ‘last word’ on them quitting as senior royals
Harry said: ‘I think everyone needs to have some compassion for them in that situation.
‘There is a level of control by fear that has existed for generations.’
Meghan said it was not ‘just catty gossip’, adding: ‘It was bringing out a part of people that was racist and how it was charged.
‘And that changed the threat, that changed the level of death threats, that changed everything.’
Harry and Meghan’s TV interview with Oprah Winfrey has started in the US and began with Meghan Markle showing her growing baby bump.
In the historic interview, the mother-to-be opened up about life in ‘The Firm’ and the struggles she faced adjusting to life in the Royal family.
The Duchess of Sussex has already accused The Firm of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry and said they refused to be ‘silenced’ any more.
But she revealed she was ‘silenced’ by Buckingham Palace officials, who told her to always answer ‘no comment’, adding, ‘because it was also through the lens of ‘And we’ll protect you.’
Meghan added: ‘It was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.’
The Duchess of Sussex also described her ‘pain’ that officials had denied her first born son the title of prince and accused Buckingham Palace of failing to protect Archie by denying him 24/7 security.
A clip released ahead of Harry and Meghan’s interview showed the Duchess of Sussex accusing The Firm of ‘perpetuating falsehoods about us.’
She said: ‘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.’
Oprah asked, ‘Were you silent? Or were you silenced?’
Meghan replied: ‘The latter.’
Oprah said: ‘So, how does that work? Were you told by the comms people or the – I don’t know – the institution, were you told to keep silent? Were you told to say nothing?’
Meghan told her: ‘Everyone from my world was given very clear directive from the moment the world knew Harry and I were dating to always say ‘No comment.’
‘That’s my friends, my mom and dad. And we did. I did anything they told me to do.
‘Of course I did, because it was also through the lens of ‘And we’ll protect you.’
‘So, even as things started to roll out in the media that I didn’t see but my friends would call me and say, ‘meg, this is really bad,’ because I didn’t see it, I’d go, ‘Don’t worry. I’m being protected.
‘I believed that. And I think that was really hard to reconcile because it was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.’
Oprah asked: ‘So, are you saying you did not feel supported by the powers that be, be that the firm, the monarchy, all of them?’
Meghan said: ‘It’s hard for people to distinguish the two because there’s– it’s a family business, right?
‘So, there’s the family, and then there’s the people that are running the institution. Those are two separate things.
‘And it’s important to be able to compartmentalize that, because the Queen, for example, has always been wonderful to me. I mean, we had one of our first joint engagements together.’
But Meghan praised the Queen today, saying she had been ‘wonderful’ to her and had once asked her to share a blanket which sits across her knees for warmth.
Meghan went on her first trip with the Queen on the royal train to Cheshire in June 2018, a month after her wedding, which saw them open a bridge and visit a theatre.
Meghan went on to talk about how Her Majesty took her under her wing and gifted her ‘beautiful’ pearl earrings and a matching necklace on the day, in 2018.
Meghan was also asked whether a trip to watch tennis at Wimbledon with the Duchess of Cambridge was ‘what it looked like … helping you adjust’.
Oprah asked: ‘Did you feel welcomed by everyone? It seemed like you and Kate at the Wimbledon game where you were going to watch a friend play tennis…’
Meghan laughed before Oprah asked, ‘Was it what it looked like? You are two sisters-in-law out there in the world, getting to know each other. Was she helping you, embracing you into the family, helping you adjust?’
But the Duchess replied: ‘My understanding of the past four years is it’s nothing like what it looks like.’