The Queen is hoping bridges can be rebuilt in the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s seismic interview, with a 60-word statement released from Buckingham Palace on Tuesday that calls Harry, Meghan, and Archie “much-loved family members,” and says that “the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.”
The statement was short but straightforward, and made it clear that the Queen plans to deal with what has become one of the biggest crises of her reign in private, despite an impassioned response that has extended even to some British political leaders.
After nearly 48 hours of meetings, crisis talks, and private family conversations, Buckingham Palace issued a statement on Tuesday evening after the close of business. Sources say the statement is designed to try and put out the flames following the couple’s dynamite interview
The Queen, who has never given a formal media interview, is said to be privately devastated by the shocking revelations and the potential damage to the reputation of the Royal Family. She is also deeply concerned for Prince Philip, who remains in the hospital recovering from a heart producer.
Speaking to Sky News, the Queen’s former press secretary Charles Anson said, “I think these developments are difficult to deal with and she wants to do it in a fair way but in the family circle rather than by public diplomacy.”
It is not known if Her Majesty watched the program, but she was briefed by aides at breakfast on Monday. It is understood the Queen immediately called a meeting with Charles and William to discuss what to do.
Sources say the statement has been agreed by all three households, and that the Queen is eager to bring calm to the situation. According to Dickie Arbiter, who worked as the palace’s press secretary in the 1990s when Princess Diana’s Panorama interview caused a similar splash, a royal crisis management strategy is well underway.
“They’ve taken it in house and they’ll deal with it,” he said. “They won’t shove it under the carpet. These are serious allegations and it will have been all hands on deck. I expect palace aides will have gone over the interview again and discussed it in detail before issuing the statement.”
With the statement issued, he said, the Royal Family will be keen to get back to work: “It will be business as usual. If they cower behind the sofa that would have guilt written all over it. If there is no misdemeanor, you’re out there, facing the public.”
To wit, Prince Charles—who is said to be in “a state of despair” over the interview—visited a pop-up vaccine clinic on Tuesday. When he was asked about the interview by a member of the press, he declined to comment.
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Why Kensington Palace Just Can’t Let Go of Meghan Markle
— On With the Show! See the 2021 Hollywood Portfolio
— In Conversation: Roxane Gay and Monica Lewinsky on Trauma
— Reply All’s Implosion Reveals the Limits of One-Sided Internet Relationships
— Harry and Meghan Have “No Regrets” as Royal Exit Becomes Official
— Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen on Their Friendship’s Origins
— Proust Questionnaire: Watch Michael B. Jordan Answer Personality-Revealing Questions
— Can This Photographer Save Beirut’s Architectural Treasures?
— Seven Fashion Brands to Shop for a Fresh Start This Spring
— From the Archive: How Tobacco Heiress Doris Duke Got Away With Murder
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.