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Forget hiding behind the sofa, the Royal family needed a bullet-proof vest as Harry and Meghan let rip

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 08/03/2021 Camilla Tominey
Prince Harry et al. sitting on a bench: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex  - Joe Pugliese/  Harpo Productions © Joe Pugliese/  Harpo Productions Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex  - Joe Pugliese/  Harpo Productions

It was both everything we had come to expect - and not what we were expecting at all. 

We knew it was going to be blockbuster TV. But what we didn’t anticipate about the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ Oprah interview is how unvarnished their “truth” was actually going to be.

From Meghan’s revelation that she was almost driven to suicide by being in the Royal family, to the astonishing claim that Harry was questioned about the potential colour of Archie’s skin, it’s fair to say this two-hour tell-all represented a worst-case scenario for what the couple kept referring to as The Firm. 

Talk of Royals “hiding behind the sofa” ahead of the primetime, no-holds-barred chat appeared to underestimate quite what the couple had in store. 

At first, it seemed as if Meghan casually letting slip that she and Harry were secretly “married” by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their actual wedding day in Windsor in May 2018 would be the biggest marmalade dropper of the morning.

But viewers had only just settled into the cosy tete-a-tete in someone else’s Santa Barbara back yard when the blows quickly started raining down on the Duchess of Cambridge.

Dressed in a black Armani dress with a distinctive white splodge and with her hair tied back in a matronly bun, the pregnant mother-of-one, 39, unleashed on her sister-in-law as the UK entered the second hour of International Women’s Day.

Contrary to reports, which first surfaced in the Daily Telegraph in November 2018, that Meghan had made Kate cry during a bridesmaids’ dress fitting, the former actress insisted it was actually the other way round.

Implying a distinct lack of sisterly support from the mother-of-three, even when “everything was going on with my Dad”, Meghan insisted: “I’m not sharing that in any way to be disparaging about her,” adding: “I would hope that she would want that to be corrected.” 

text, application: Harry and Meghan © Provided by The Telegraph Harry and Meghan

One can only begin to wonder what Carol-with-an-e might make of that suggestion over in Bucklebury - let alone those picking up the pieces at Kensington Palace right now. 

And to think the Duchess reportedly thought there was still hope of reconciliation before CBS went to air at 8pm US time, 1am GMT?

It cannot have been lost on anyone in clan Cambridge that no fault was found in the hospitality offered by those beloved figures of Twitter, Prince Andrew and Fergie.

Those already doubting whether there would ever be any way back into the royal fold for the Montecito Two - also dubbed “Duchess Difficult” and “The Hostage” by palace staff - had their worst suspicions confirmed when Meghan then went on to accuse the Royal family, their staff and the British press of being, well, outright racists.

a group of people walking in the snow: The interview included new pictures of the couple's son, Archie © Provided by The Telegraph The interview included new pictures of the couple's son, Archie

Not only had Archie been denied a title and his own security detail - but an extraordinary conversation had also taken place behind palace gates about how dark his skin might be when he was born.

Harry was later invited to expand on the issue but declined to do so, leaving the viewer guessing as to who the hell came out with this.

Meghan said: “Those were conversations family had with him,” but Harry refused to elaborate. The unfortunate inference was that Prince Philip may have put his foot in his mouth again, while the 99-year-old was in his hospital bed 5,400 miles away.


Video: Harry says he 'feared history repeating itself' in Oprah interview (PA Media)

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Or perhaps it was the wearer of “racist” brooches, Princess Michael of Kent? As we are never likely to know, we may as well consider them all white supremacists along with any journalist who has ever written anything vaguely negative about them.  

If that wasn’t damning enough, Meghan’s tearful admission that she was so unhappy she considered suicide managed to hammer the penultimate nail in the coffin of the Royals’ already well-honed reputation for mismanging family matters. 

You would have had to have a heart of stone not to sympathise and feel real sorrow as she detailed how she “didn’t want to be alive any more” and told Harry before being forced to smile through an engagement at the Royal Albert Hall: “I can’t be left alone.”

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: The Duchess talked of Prince Harry gripping her hand so tight that he had white knuckles - Paul Grover for the Telegraph © Provided by The Telegraph The Duchess talked of Prince Harry gripping her hand so tight that he had white knuckles - Paul Grover for the Telegraph

Make no mistake, this was a pregnant woman blaming the institution - and those within it - for failing to help her at her lowest ebb. 

The final nail in the unfeeling Windsors’ sarcophagus was driven home by Harry’s revelation that his father had stopped returning his phone calls in the run up to Megxit and had really let him down. Meghan’s own fractured relationship with her father, Thomas Markle Snr, only merited passing mention with the tragic words: “I lost my Dad”.

Ever sacrosanct on the throne, the Queen appeared the only attendee of the so-called "Sandringham Summit" to emerge unscathed. 

The couple were keen to reiterate how much respect they had for the 94-year-old as they trashed her family and everything she has stood for during her 68 years on the throne. 

Insisting that he would “never blindside” Granny, Harry called her entire operation into question as he suggested both she and Prince Charles knew they were dropping their Instagram bombshell on Jan 7. (Actually it was Jan 8, but don't take my word for it - we just make it all up, anyway).

To her credit, and contrary to suggestions she would give them a soft-soaping, Oprah reinforced her credentials as the undisputed chat show Queen of America by asking all the right questions. It was just that the answers were taken as gospel - despite some obvious contradictions.

The couple never read their press and yet were unrelentingly tormented by it.

Meghan went into the Royal family so naively she didn’t realise she had to curtsey to the Queen - yet told ITV’s Tom Bradby in October 2018: “My British friends said to me, I’m sure he’s great, but don’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.”

The Royal family were all very welcoming, until they weren’t. 

The most important title to Meghan is “Mom” and yet she wanted her son to be a prince, despite allowing it to be widely briefed that he’d be called “Master Mountbatten Windsor” so he could live like a “private citizen”. 

Like the Little Mermaid, Meghan "fell in love with a prince and lost her voice” and yet, somehow, her narrative was strangely familiar thanks to not one, but three “unprecedented” statements released by Harry “as a boyfriend, as a husband and as a father”. 

The multimillionaires were forced to sign deals with Netflix and Spotify because they didn’t have any money, even though they had Harry’s inheritance from Princess Diana.

Meghan wasn’t the driving force behind them stepping down as senior Royals, but Harry would never have done it without her. Oh and the Duchess didn’t have access to her own car keys, even though Royals regularly drive themselves about the place. (The less mention of the “holiday parties” at Buckingham Palace that Meghan claimed journalists, excluding this one, were invited to, the better. I went there once, for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, m’lud.)

a group of people sitting on a bench with a dog: Meghan, Oprah and Harry at Archie's chick inn © CBS Meghan, Oprah and Harry at Archie's chick inn

The weighty revelations were intermingled with casual asides as the trio inspected Archie’s Chick Inn  - a hen house in the garden of the Sussexes’ home, which they presumably avoided filming in to avoid accusations of invading their own privacy. (Notwithstanding the gender reveal moment, during which Harry’s gleeful reaction to having a daughter was genuinely touching). 

Meghan managed to squeeze into the pleasantries that she had called the Queen upon news of Philip’s hospitalisation, that she “loves rescuing” and had her first job at 13. 

“I’ve advocated for so long for women to use her voice,” she insisted. 

Yet as Harry made so plain, his Royal relatives are “trapped within the system”. They cannot sit down with Oprah for two hours and give their side of the story. 

Thankfully, for the Sussexes, this fairy tale does have a happy ending, however. As they walk away from the wreckage of their time in the Royal family - and the relatives they have left behind - towards the LA sunset, like the closing scene of a Hollywood movie, they are “not just surviving, but thriving.”

Well, I guess that’s the most important thing, right?

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