The two-hour special airs in the U.S. at 8 p.m. ET, which is 1 a.m. on Monday in London. The British royal, 94, will be advised of the highlights later on Monday, an insider said.
“There is no way the queen will watch the interview tonight. She has a briefing early Monday morning,” the source told Us, noting that Queen Elizabeth II “will be focusing on the ongoings in her own country.”
Hours before Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, sat down with CBS primetime to share previously unheard details about their marriage, their growing family and life before and after they stepped down from their senior royal duties in 2020, the queen delivered a speech in honor of Commonwealth Day.
In it, she praised people across the nation for coming together amid the coronavirus pandemic and called for continued unity.
“Over the coming week, as we celebrate the friendship, spirit of unity and achievements of the Commonwealth, we have an opportunity to reflect on a time like no other,” she said in her pre-recorded speech. “Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the Commonwealth, stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory, notably by those working on the frontline who have been delivering healthcare and other public services.”
The queen noted the many challenges the Commonwealth has faced since last year, but said that it’s been encouraging to witness people supporting one another amid the crisis.
“We have also taken encouragement from remarkable advances in developing new vaccines and treatments,” she told viewers. “The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy being connected to others. The need to maintain greater physical distance, or to live and work largely in isolation, has, for many people across the Commonwealth, been an unusual experience.”
The monarch was joined by Prince Charles, his wife Duchess Camilla, Prince William, Duchess Kate and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex. Harry and Meghan were not included in the telecast, which last year marked their final engagement as senior members of the royal family. The queen’s husband, Prince Philip, remains hospitalized after undergoing surgery on his heart earlier this week.
Although the tell-all interview threatens to further strain Meghan and Harry’s relationship with his family, royal correspondent Omid Scobie told Entertainment Tonight on Friday, March 5, the Royal Air Force veteran and Suits alum remain close with Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.
“It’s a tough one for Harry and Meghan,” Scobie explained. “They planned this interview before Prince Philip was admitted to the hospital, and, unfortunately, here we are facing the third weekend of him still in the care of the hospital here in London. But for Harry and Meghan, they have kept a great relationship with Philip and the queen.”
The Finding Freedom coauthor remained hopeful that Harry and Meghan will paint the royals in a positive light during their interview on Sunday. “We heard Harry talking very warmly about his grandfather on James Corden‘s show not so long ago, and I think we’ll hear more of that [during their CBS primetime tell-all].”
Scobie added, “This idea that people have that they may be throwing the queen under the bus on national television … is far from the truth.”
Previews for the sit-down teased some topics, including Meghan’s belief that the royals played a role in spreading false stories about her and her husband. “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,” she said in the clip, released on Wednesday, March 3.
One day earlier, The Times published a report containing allegations that the California native bullied her advisers before stepping down from her duties last year. Her rep denied the claims in a statement to Us, saying, “The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.”