The Queen is unlikely to watch Oprah Winfrey’s box office interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, but her courtiers have told The Sunday Times that Her Majesty is “pretty cheesed off” with the whole affair.
According to a report from the British newspaper’s royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah and the well-connected Tim Shipman, Queen Elizabeth II will ignore the CBS broadcast (which will be shown in the UK on Monday by ITV), and instead focus on a string of engagements this coming week.
Buckingham Palace aides came out swinging in the Sunday newspaper, branding the interview special a “circus” and claiming that the Queen is focused on the “big issues” facing the country, including children returning to school amid lockdown and the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.
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“The mood in the family is: can everyone just shut the hell up and can we just get on with the day job,” said one source. Other UK newspapers were briefed in a similar way on Sunday, with a source telling the Mail On Sunday: “On Monday most people in Britain will be thinking about schools going back, getting the vaccine and, at the Palace particularly, looking forward to the Duke of Edinburgh coming out of hospital. This is just a sideshow.”
The Sunday Times reported that there has been talk among royal courtiers about stripping Prince Harry and Markle of their Duke and Duchess titles, should the interview end disastrously for the royal family. The Queen would have to approve such a move, however, and a source close to Her Majesty told the newspaper that this nuclear option is “not up for debate.”
It comes as Buckingham Palace took the unprecedented step of launching an investigation into bullying allegations made against Markle in 2018, when she was based at Kensington Palace. The Times Of London obtained an email sent in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, a former communications executive for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in which he claimed that Markle “was able to bully two PAs out of the household.”
A spokeswoman for the Sussex’s told Deadline that they were “saddened” by the accusation, which they put down to a “smear campaign” ahead of the CBS interview being broadcast on Sunday night. In promos for the sit-down, Markle says: “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.”
CBS broadcasts Oprah with Meghan and Harry at 8PM on Sunday. It will be shown on ITV in the UK at 9PM on Monday.