Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Welcome Daughter

In this file photo Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after attending a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in central London, on March 11, 2019.  Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced Sunday the birth of their daughter Lilibet Diana, who was born in California after a year of turmoil in Britain’s royal family.

“Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales,” said a statement from the couple.

The child — the couple’s second, who will be eighth in line to the British throne — was born Friday in Santa Barbara and was now out of the hospital and at home.

“She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz. Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home,” the statement said.

The couple, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, live near Los Angeles following their decision to quit frontline royal duties early last year.

The couple sat in March for a bombshell interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, triggering the royal family’s biggest crisis since Harry’s mother died in a car crash in 1997.

During the two-hour sit-down, viewed by more than 17 million people in the US and over 11 million in Britain, Harry and Meghan said racism had played a part in them quitting the UK for North America.

The couple said a senior royal had speculated how dark their child’s skin would be before he was born. Meghan’s mother is Black and her father is white.

Meghan, a former actress, also told Winfrey she was “naively” unprepared for life as a royal and had contemplated suicide while pregnant with her first child Archie.

Harry, 36, and Meghan 39, accused newspapers of racial stereotyping, particularly set against coverage of Harry’s sister-in-law, Kate, who is white.

Prince Harry was said to have a good relationship with his grandparents.

He told talk show host James Corden earlier this year that he had spoken via video call Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip since moving to the United States so they could see their great-grandson Archie.

Harry has spoken to his father multiple times since the Oprah interview came out, notably after Prince Philip’s funeral, according to British media.

In a new documentary series released last month, Harry once again emphasized that his family turned a blind eye to the struggles of his wife, saying he will “never be bullied into silence.”

Buckingham Palace Banned Hiring Ethnic Minorities For Office Roles, Papers Reveal

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II reads the Queen’s Speech on the Sovereign’s Throne in the House of Lords chamber during the State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament in London on May 11, 2021. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP)

 

Senior aides to Queen Elizabeth II barred the hiring of ethnic minorities – coloured immigrants or foreigners –  in office roles at Buckingham Palace until at least the late 1960s, a media report said Thursday.

The Queen and Britain’s royal household also negotiated an exemption from 1970s-era laws on race and sex discrimination that still exists today, The Guardian reported.

Citing historical papers it unearthed at the National Archives, the newspaper said that in 1968, the Queen’s chief financial manager told government officials of the hiring policy towards ethnic minorities.

“It was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners” to clerical and other office posts, one document quoted the royal courtier as having stated.

“Coloured applicants” were considered only for “ordinary domestic posts”, it added.

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It is unclear when the policy ended, but Buckingham Palace has said its records show people from ethnic minority backgrounds being employed in the 1990s, The Guardian noted.

The palace added it did not keep records on the racial backgrounds of employees prior to that, according to the paper.

A palace spokeswoman said in a statement: “Claims based on a second-hand account of conversations from over 50 years ago should not be used to draw or infer conclusions about modern-day events or operations.”

She added the royal household complied with the provisions of the 2010 Equality Act “in principle and in practice”.

“Any complaints that might be raised under the Act follow a formal process that provides a means of hearing and remedying any complaint,” the spokeswoman said.

The revelations are the latest in an ongoing investigation by The Guardian into the royal family’s use of an arcane parliamentary procedure — known as Queen’s consent — to influence British legislation.

The official documents show senior aides to Britain’s longest-serving monarch coordinated with government officials on the wording of new racial and sexual equalities laws in the 1970s.

The exemption secured for the royal household meant a government board, rather than the courts, has since dealt with allegations of discrimination within the royal household.

The disclosures are likely to renew focus on allegations of historical and more recent racism with the British royal family.

In a bombshell interview earlier this year, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle revealed a family member had expressed concern about their expected child’s skin colour.

Shock at the claim prompted Prince William, second-in-line to the throne and Harry’s elder brother, to tell reporters in March that the family was “very much not” racist.

AFP

In New Docuseries, Prince Harry Again Insists His Family Lacks Empathy

 

 

In a new documentary series set for release Friday Prince Harry is once again emphasizing that his family turned a blind eye to the struggles of his wife Meghan Markle, saying he will “never be bullied into silence.”

The series comes out a day after the release of an independent inquiry in Britain that found that a BBC journalist used falsified documents to land a sensational 1995 sit-down with Princess Diana, the mother of Harry and his elder brother William, in which she detailed her troubled marriage to Prince Charles.

“I thought my family would help, but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect,” Harry said concerning his wife’s depression after the birth of their son Archie.

Both Harry and his spouse have already detailed mental struggles, with Meghan saying she had suicidal thoughts in 2019.

 

This undated image released March 7, 2021 courtesy of Harpo Productions shows Britain's Prince Harry (L) and his wife Meghan (C), Duchess of Sussex, in a conversation with US television host Oprah Winfrey. Joe PUGLIESE / HARPO PRODUCTIONS / AFP
This undated image released March 7, 2021 courtesy of Harpo Productions shows Britain’s Prince Harry (L) and his wife Meghan (C), Duchess of Sussex, in a conversation with US television host Oprah Winfrey. Joe PUGLIESE / HARPO PRODUCTIONS / AFP

 

In the Apple+ series entitled “The Me You Can’t See” — which Harry co-produced with Oprah Winfrey — the grandson of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II says he felt ashamed going to his family, because he knew “that I’m not going to get from my family what I need.”

Focused on combatting the stigma surrounding the issue of mental health, the new docuseries doesn’t drop any new bombshells, but it sees the youngest son of Prince Charles and Diana deal a new blow to Windsor Castle.

The couple sat with Oprah at length for a CBS interview broadcast in early March, triggering the royal family’s biggest crisis since Harry’s mother died in a car crash in 1997.

In the new series Harry focuses criticism particularly on his father, who previously has been accused of indifference towards his children.

“My father used to say to me when I was younger, to both William and I: it was like that for me, so it’s going to be like that for you,” the 36-year-old also known as the Duke of Sussex says.

“That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered that doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer,” Harry says.

“In fact quite the opposite. If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever negative experiences that you had, you can make it right for your kids.

 

FILES) In this file photo taken on May 18, 2019 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, leave St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, Windsor, west of London, on May 18, 2019, after the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston.
Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP

 

– Mental health priorities –
Harry has spoken to his father multiple times since the Oprah interview came out, notably after the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, according to British media.

But their relations remain tense.

The majority of Britons hold unfavorable opinions of Harry and Meghan, according to a recent YouGov poll, as Prince Charles’ ratings have jumped.

Some British press accuses the couple of both denouncing media treatment and using coverage to boost their image.

In the series Harry says that as a boy he felt powerless to protect his mother, who was constantly hounded by the press.

On Thursday, journalist Martin Bashir apologized for using fake bank statements to persuade Diana to let him interview her for the BBC.

In the series Harry also details his experience with therapy, saying it has “equipped me to be able to take on anything” and especially helped him cope with the death of his mother when he was 12.

He said being with Meghan helped him realize the importance of mental health: “I knew that if I didn’t do the therapy and fix myself that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with.”

 

An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed as an illustration in London on January 9, 2020, shows front page headlines reporting on the news that Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, plan to step back as “senior” members of the Royal Family. 
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in January 2020 announced they would quit frontline royal duties.

They relocated to California, where Meghan is from.

Harry says in the show his greatest regret is not “making more of a stance earlier in my relationship with my wife and calling out the racism” the former actor faced from British press and social media.

The prince doesn’t direct any accusations of racism towards his family in the documentary, though in March he said a relative was concerned over his son’s skin color before he was born.

That allegation shook Buckingham Palace, with Prince William, Harry’s brother, jumping to defend the institution: “We’re very much not a racist family.”

Prince Harry Gets Standing Ovation At ‘Vax Live’ Concert In Los Angeles

In this image released on May 2, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks onstage during Global Citizen VAX LIVE: The Concert To Reunite The World at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. PHOTO: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX

 

Britain’s Prince Harry joined pop royalty including Jennifer Lopez at a star-studded concert in Los Angeles Sunday to urge faster and more even global vaccinations, as he voiced support for India during its devastating Covid outbreak.

“Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World” featured video messages from the pope and President Joe Biden and in-person appearances from Hollywood stars such as Ben Affleck and Sean Penn.

The show will air on television and YouTube on May 8, after being pre-taped in front of thousands of fully vaccinated spectators at a vast California stadium Sunday.

“Tonight, we stand in solidarity with the millions of families across India, who are battling a devastating second wave,” said Prince Harry, who was greeted with a standing ovation.

“The virus does not respect borders, and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography,” added Harry, making his first in-person appearance at a major public event in California since moving last year to the United States with wife Meghan Markle, who did not appear.

Co-Chair Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks onstage during the taping of the “Vax Live” fundraising concert at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on May 2, 2021. PHOTO: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX

 

The concert organized by Global Citizen, an international advocacy organization, aims to battle vaccine disinformation while calling on world leaders and corporations to take action and make donations.

Thousands of spectators gathered inside Los Angeles’ giant, recently completed SoFi stadium for the first time. Most attendees were frontline medical workers, many dressed in nurse and doctor uniforms.

Selena Gomez hosted proceedings, calling for “doses and dollars” to go to the world’s poorest countries even as California and parts of the West emerge from lengthy lockdowns thanks to massive inoculation progress.

 

– Not ‘out of the woods’ –

A glittering J-Lo told fans she had been forced to spend Christmas without her mother for the first time due to the pandemic — before bringing the Lopez matriarch onto an elaborate meadow-themed stage for a feelgood singalong of “Sweet Caroline.”

The Foo Fighters were joined by surprise guest Brian Johnson of AC/DC for a rendition of “Back in Black.”

“We ain’t out of the woods yet… let’s work as hard as we can to make sure we can do this” every night, said frontman Dave Grohl.

Organizers said the event had surpassed its fundraising goal need to purchase 10 million vaccine doses for low and middle-income countries, drawing more than $53 million in donations from corporations and philanthropists.

In pre-taped messages, President Biden said he was “working with leaders around the world to share more vaccines and boost production” while Pope Francis said: “I beg you not to forget the most vulnerable.”

Other video messages came from Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Prince Harry, who took to the large circular stage in the middle of the arena dressed casually in a blue shirt, described online disinformation about vaccines as a “humanitarian crisis” that is “getting worse.”

The concert will stream on YouTube along with American television networks ABC and CBS on May 8 at 8:00 pm ET (midnight GMT). It will also air internationally on Brazil’s Globo, Colombia’s Caracol, SABC in South Africa and MultiChoice in Africa.

AFP

Harry But No Meghan At Scaled-Down Funeral For Prince Philip

 In this file photo taken on December 25, 2017 (L-R) Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, US actress and fiancee of Britain's Prince Harry Meghan Markle and Britain's Prince Harry (R) arrive to attend the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 25, 2017 (L-R) Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, US actress and fiancee of Britain’s Prince Harry Meghan Markle and Britain’s Prince Harry (R) arrive to attend the Royal Family’s traditional Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, will take place next week, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday, announcing a stripped-back ceremony due to coronavirus restrictions, and a return for exiled royal Prince Harry but not his wife, Meghan.

The announcement came as the couple’s eldest son, heir to the throne Prince Charles, 72, paid a heartfelt tribute to his “dear Papa”, and said he and the royal family missed him “enormously”.

“My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him, and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that,” he added.

“It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.”

The Duke of Edinburgh – the 94-year-old queen’s husband of 73 years — died peacefully on Friday just two months short of his 100th birthday, triggering eight days of national mourning.

Royal officials said his funeral, which will be televised, will take place at 1400 GMT on Saturday, April 17 in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, west of London.

It will be preceded by a national minute’s silence.

Government guidelines restrict mourners to just 30 people and close attention has been paid to the pared-down guest list for the funeral, particularly whether the duke’s grandson Harry would attend.

Palace officials confirmed he would but his American wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, had been advised against travelling from the United States on medical grounds.

The couple, who quit frontline royal duties last year, have launched a series of broadsides against the royals, including accusing them of racism, and of failing to treat Meghan’s mental health.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also not be attending the funeral because of Covid restrictions, Downing Street said.

“The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the Royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday,” a spokesperson said.

Gun salutes

Gun salutes earlier echoed around the United Kingdom on Saturday as the armed forces paid solemn tribute to the duke.

The coordinated 41-round volleys to the former Royal Navy commander were fired at a rate of one per minute from 12:00 (1100 GMT) in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as at naval bases, from warships at sea, and in the British territory Gibraltar.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 09, 2012 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, proceed through the Royal Gallery in the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament, in London on May 9, 2012 during the State Opening of Parliament. (Photo by Leon NEAL / POOL / AFP)

 

Similar salutes — the most according to military protocol — were also held in Canberra and Wellington, as the Queen is head of state in Australia and New Zealand.

At the Tower of London, a crowd of more than 100 onlookers kept a respectful silence as they watched the Honourable Artillery Company fire shots on the banks of the River Thames.

One onlooker, Heather Utteridge, said she had come to show her respects “for a superhuman”.

“It’s a great loss to not just the Queen, but actually to the country. He represented stability for all of our lives,” the 65-year-old told AFP.

Alexander Beaten, 30, said the royal couple had been an integral part of British identity and culture.

“We can disagree with the government… but the Queen and Prince Philip are just such a constant,” he said.

Sporting events, including Premier League football matches, English county championship cricket, and the Grand National horserace, held silences as part of worldwide tributes to mark the death of the duke, during a period of national mourning.

The death of the duke, the longest serving royal consort in British history, is a profound loss for the Queen, who once described her loyal husband as her “strength and stay” throughout her long reign.

Flags at half-mast

Flags were flying at half-mast on government buildings and will do so until the morning after his funeral.

The well-rehearsed protocol for the duke’s death — codenamed “Forth Bridge” — has been hastily revised because of the coronavirus pandemic, eliminating public events where crowds could gather.

Parliament will be recalled on Monday for lawmakers to pay tribute, but the duke will not lie in state, nor will there will be military processions.

British television stations cleared their schedules for special broadcasts looking back on his life on Friday, although the BBC said it had received complaints about the blanket coverage.

Westminster Abbey, where the couple married in 1947, tolled its tenor bell 99 times on Friday, once for each year of the prince’s life.

‘Deep sorrow’

Philip had been ill for some time, and spent more than a month in hospital from February 16 being treated for a pre-existing heart condition and an infection.

Despite looking frail on his release from hospital on March 16, hopes were raised for his recovery.

But the Queen announced Philip’s death at Windsor Castle “with deep sorrow” on Friday.

‘Farewell, my beloved’

The duke’s death dominated Britain’s newspapers on Saturday. “We’re all weeping with you Ma’am,” The Sun tabloid said on its front page.

The Daily Mail splashed a picture of the Queen looking at her husband along with the headline “Farewell, my beloved” on the front page of its 144-page souvenir edition.

Tributes poured in from home and abroad, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving “thanks, as a nation and a kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip”.

Political and faith leaders in Britain, and from the United States, Europe and Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and Pakistan also paid their respects.

Global royalty also paid their respects, while Pope Francis praised the prince’s “devotion” to his family and marriage, and sent his “heartfelt condolences” to the Queen.

Flowers discouraged due to Covid

Philip retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 96, declaring “I’ve done my bit”.

The couple had been living largely in isolation at Windsor because their age put them at heightened risk from Covid-19.

He was last seen at a staged appearance at a military ceremony at Windsor in July, days after attending the wedding ceremony of his granddaughter Princess Beatrice.

On Saturday members of the public continued to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor, despite royal family requests not to gather at royal residences because of the restrictions.

Hundreds of flowers that had been laid outside the Queen’s official residence in central London on Friday have been moved to Windsor, apparently to discourage further gathering.

An online book of condolences on the royal family’s official website has been put in place rather than conventional public tributes.

 

AFP

Prince Harry Takes Role Fighting ‘Avalanche Of Misinformation’

 

 

Britain’s Prince Harry — who is often at war with the British press — was on Wednesday announced as a commissioner for a US study into misinformation online.

The non-profit Aspen Institute said it was “honored” to have the Duke of Sussex as one of the 18 members of its “Commission on Information Disorder.”

The announcement came a day after Harry became “chief impact officer” at San Francisco life-coaching startup BetterUp as he adds to his growing portfolio of jobs since stepping away from royal duties last year.

As part of the Aspen study, the 36-year-old Harry will help conduct a six-month investigation into misinformation and disinformation in the American digital world that will start in April.

The commission aims to identify the biggest causes of the sharing and spreading of false information and find solutions to help the government, private sector and civil society respond.

“The experience of today’s digital world has us inundated with an avalanche of misinformation, affecting our ability as individuals as well as societies to think clearly and truly understand the world we live in,” Harry said in a statement.

“It’s my belief that this is a humanitarian issue — and as such, it demands a multi-stakeholder response from advocacy voices, members of the media, academic researchers, and both government and civil society leaders,” he added.

The prince is likely to bring his own experiences of media coverage of his life to the commission.

Harry told US talk show host James Corden last month that he left royal life and moved to the United States with wife Meghan Markle because the British press was “destroying his mental health.”

The prince has long had a difficult relationship with Britain’s tabloids, blaming press intrusion for contributing to his mother Princess Diana’s death in a car crash in 1997.

Harry and Meghan have filed several lawsuits against newspapers and last April told Britain’s tabloids that they were ending all cooperation with them due to “distorted, false or invasive” stories.

Since leaving their roles as working royals, Harry and Meghan have already signed lucrative digital media deals to capitalize on their celebrity — one to produce content for Netflix, and another to present podcasts for Spotify.

They live in California where they have launched a wide-ranging non-profit organization named Archewell.

An explosive interview they gave to Oprah Winfrey this month — in which they claimed an unnamed royal had asked how dark their baby’s skin would be — plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis since the death of Diana.

Piers Morgan Tears Into Prince Harry, Meghan Expository Interview

 

English broadcaster and journalist, Piers Morgan has waded into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s apparent revelatory interview about the royal family, calling it an “absolutely disgraceful betrayal” and “shameful” act

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex,  in an exclusive interview on Sunday night  with Oprah Winfrey, had accused the monarchy of racism, while Meghan also revealed she contemplated suicide while at the royal residence,

Piers in a series of tweets was quick to defend the British royal family slamming Harry and Meghan’s alleged accusations.

 

“This interview is an absolutely disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family,” the tweet read in the early hours of Monday

“I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle – but for Harry to let her take down his family and the Monarchy like this is shameful”

He went further to add that the Duke was trying to make the rest of the world see the Monarchy in a bad light.

 

 

“Harry wants America and the rest of the world to hate his own family, hate the Monarchy, and hate his country.”

“I suggest everyone waits for the victims of his wife’s rampage to have their say on her outlandish claims before they do so.”

Meghan in the no holds barred interview claimed she was silenced by the Royal family while she was a sturdy proponent for women using their voices

In reaction to these claims, Piers said “I wouldn’t believe Meghan Markle if she gave me a weather report.”

 

“Let’s be clear: Prince Harry and his wife just spent two hours trashing everything the Queen stands for & has worked so hard to maintain, whilst pretending to support her,” he said

“And they did it while her 99yr-old husband Philip is seriously ill in hospital. It’s contemptible.”

Piers’ criticism has seen similar reactions coming from several British media with The Daily Telegraph calling it  “enough bombshells to sink a flotilla”, while The Daily Mail tabloid, which has been highly critical of Meghan, quoted royal expert Robert Jobson as saying that the couple were “self-obsessed”.

 

Meghan Says She Contemplated Suicide After Marrying Harry, Alleges Royal Racism

This undated image released March 7, 2021 courtesy of Harpo Productions shows Britain's Prince Harry (L) and his wife Meghan (C), Duchess of Sussex, in a conversation with US television host Oprah Winfrey.  Joe PUGLIESE / HARPO PRODUCTIONS / AFP
This undated image released March 7, 2021 courtesy of Harpo Productions shows Britain’s Prince Harry (L) and his wife Meghan (C), Duchess of Sussex, in a conversation with US television host Oprah Winfrey. Joe PUGLIESE / HARPO PRODUCTIONS / AFP

 

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan Markle on Sunday said she contemplated taking her own life after joining the royal family, and raised allegations of racism in the monarchy during an explosive television interview.

Explaining the couple’s dramatic exit from royal life, Meghan said she was denied help during her mental health crisis, was targeted by lies, and that there was official concern about the skin color of her unborn son.

Meghan, whose father is white and mother is Black, spoke out in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that immediately became one of the most extraordinary chapters in recent royal history and was set to rock the British institution.

“I… just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought,” she told Winfrey, describing the impact of a torrent of vitriol from hostile tabloids and social media.

Asked if she had had suicidal thoughts while pregnant, Meghan replied “Yes. This was very, very clear.”

Recalling how she felt at the time, she said that “I’m scared, because this is very real.”

Meghan, 39, also told of royal “concerns” about “how dark” her son’s skin would be, saying Harry revealed to her official conversations over Archie’s appearance, as well as the security he would be entitled to, ahead of his birth on May 6, 2019.

‘How dark his skin might be’

“In those months when I was pregnant… we have in tandem the conversation of ‘he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” Meghan said.

“That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations the family had with him,” she said.

After the couple’s surprise decision to move to North America, the former television actress has been portrayed in some British newspapers as headstrong, calculating and spoiled, and the couple reckless and selfish for quitting royal life.

The two-hour interview with the queen of US television was the biggest royal tell-all since Harry’s mother princess Diana detailed her crumbling marriage to his father Prince Charles in 1995.

Harry, 36, revealed the deep divisions within his family, saying he felt “really let down” by how his father had handled the situation.

But he also said Charles — the heir to the throne — and Harry’s older brother William were “trapped” by the conventions of the monarchy.

“They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that,” he said.

Winfrey reportedly sold the interview to US broadcaster CBS for $7-9 million, and retained the international rights to the footage, which will feed an appetite of interest about Britain’s centuries-old monarchy — and their troubles — across the globe.

Royal fans were offered a treat when the couple revealed the gender of their second child  — the first senior royal due to be born outside Britain in 100 years.

“It’s a girl!” Harry and Meghan chimed in tandem.

But it was a rare light-hearted moment in the drawn-out interview — and viewers who tuned in to see if the pair had scores to settle with Buckingham Palace were likely left shocked at how far they went.

Knives out

Taking aim squarely at senior royals, Markle flatly denied reports — feasted on by the gossip press — that she made Kate Middleton cry before her wedding to Harry, saying the reality was the opposite.

“Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true,” Meghan told Winfrey.

“The reverse happened,” Meghan added, saying that Kate “was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized.”

“A few days before the wedding, she was upset about something pertaining — yes, the issue was correct — about flower girl dresses, and it made me cry, and it really hurt my feelings.”

Meghan called the claims “the beginning of a real character assassination” and “a turning point” in her relations with the royal family.

“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,” she said.

Ahead of Sunday’s broadcast, revelations emerged Meghan was facing an internal palace investigation into claims that she bullied royal household staff after she and Harry married in a fairytale wedding in 2018.

Further reports the couple are facing a probe into their charitable foundation have been seen as a counter-offensive in a bitter battle for public support.

Last month, when Buckingham Palace confirmed the couple would not return to their senior roles, it said they would not “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”

“I’m sad that what’s happened has happened, but I know… we did everything that we could to make it work,” Harry said as the interview wrapped up.

The Sunday Times said Queen Elizabeth II, 94, would not be watching the couple.

The weekly quoted unnamed courtiers as calling the situation a “circus,” and the palace would “come out swinging” if individuals were attacked.

 

AFP

Harry And Meghan’s Oprah Interview To Define Future Royal Relations

(COMBO) This combination of file pictures created on March 4, 2021 shows
Britain’s Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle at Kensington Palace in west London on November 27, 2017. (Photos by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS and Kena Betancur / AFP)

 

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s potentially bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey this weekend could shape the couple’s future relations with the British royal family, experts say.

The pair’s relationship with the centuries-old institution has turned increasingly acrimonious since they stepped back from the royal frontline last year.

Meghan, 39, is expected to share grievances about her treatment by the monarchy and the media, including allegations of racism, and has accused royals of “perpetuating falsehoods” about her.

The interview was filmed weeks ago but pre-broadcast clips of her comments were made available just hours after the Palace took the unusual step of confirming it would investigate newspaper claims Meghan had bullied royal staff.

The escalating war of words has fuelled fears that already frayed ties could snap completely, with every word, look and gesture likely to be picked over in endless detail.

READ ALSO: Israel, Denmark, Austria Agree Deal For Vaccine Development

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said it was “short-sighted” of Harry and Meghan not to inform the monarchy of the decision to talk to Winfrey.

That left it “blindsided” and “will almost certainly cause the royal family embarrassment”, he told AFP.

“We know the press and probably courtiers are likely to be excoriated.

“However, if they get personal and criticise other members of the royal family, it will define their relationship with them for the foreseeable future.”

– ‘Never complain, never explain’ –

Buckingham Palace announced last month that the couple had permanently ended royal duties, a year after their shock announcement to “step back” from their roles.

Since relocating to the United States — in a move dubbed “Megxit” by the British press — they have embarked on several lucrative commercial ventures alongside continuing charitable work.

The Oprah interview has echoes of the explosive 1995 tell-all by Harry’s late mother princess Diana in which she candidly discussed her failing marriage to Prince Charles and their infidelities.

Publicly discussing private matters jars with Queen Elizabeth II’s purported mantra “never complain, never explain”, to keep the royals’ unique place in British society.

Harry and Meghan are seen as media-savvy and have previously done well-received interviews but Fitzwilliams noted other family members’ rare media sit-downs have been “catastrophes”.

The queen’s second son Prince Andrew resigned from royal duties shortly after he defended his friendship with the late US financier and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in a disastrous 2019 interview.

Harry’s father Prince Charles fared badly in a 1994 tell-all in which he admitted to committing adultery.

In contrast, Diana’s interview — watched by a record 22.8 million people — was widely seen as garnering her public sympathy.

Harry — sixth in line to the throne — and Meghan’s popularity in Britain has fallen steadily over the last three years and remains well below that of the queen, according to polling.

Omid Scobie, co-author of last year’s best-selling biography on the couple, “Finding Freedom”, said it was unlikely confiding in Oprah would change many minds.

Britons “have already picked their camp at this point”, he said.

But he predicted audiences could “at least come out of it a little bit more enlightened” as to why they left.

“This will be a place for them to share their side of the story and given that we… have spent the last three years talking about it, I’d say it’s only fair that they have a couple of hours to do the same,” he added.

– ‘Bad timing’ –

Harry, 36, has blamed press intrusion for contributing to his mother death in 1997 and told Oprah he and Meghan quit Britain in part because he was worried about “history repeating itself”.

But the timing of the broadcast, shot at their sprawling Montecito mansion in California, is awkward.

The prime time outing airs on the same day the queen and other senior royals appear on television as part of Commonwealth Day celebrations.

More problematically, the queen’s 99-year-old husband, Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip, has been in hospital for nearly three weeks and is recovering from a successful heart procedure.

Fitzwilliams said that should have prompted Harry and Meghan to ask Winfrey — a personal friend who attended their wedding — to pressure CBS to delay.

“It would be appropriate, despite the difficulties this would cause, for this interview to be postponed,” he said.

But royal expert Penny Junor told the BBC it was “just bad timing” and that a delay was highly unlikely.

“Is there ever going to be a perfect time to show… a documentary like this?” she asked. “I’m not sure there is.”

AFP

UK News Group Told To Pay £450,000 In Legal Costs To Meghan Markle

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 06, 2020 Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks during a school assembly as part of a visit to Robert Clack School in Essex, on March 6, 2020, in support of International Women’s Day.  (Photo by BEN STANSALL / POOL / AFP)

 

 

The UK newspaper group that published a letter written by Meghan Markle should pay interim legal costs following her high-profile privacy claim victory last month, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Markle, who is formally known as the Duchess of Sussex and is married to Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson Prince Harry, won a comprehensive victory in February against Associated Newspapers after extracts of the 2018 letter were published in 2019.

The letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle was written a few months after she married Harry, and asked him to stop talking to tabloids and making false claims about her in interviews.

At a remote hearing at the High Court in London on Tuesday, judge Mark Warby ordered Associated Newspapers to make an “interim payment” of £450,000 ($627,000, 520,000 euros) to cover legal costs.

But the figure stopped short of the £750,000 requested by Meghan’s lawyer Ian Mill.

Following the ruling, lawyers for the publishers of the Mail On Sunday weekly and MailOnline website indicated they would appeal.

Warby himself said he saw “no real prospect” of the Court of Appeal coming to a different conclusion but said the defendants had a “right to renew this application to a Court of Appeal judge”.

The legal team for the former television actress had called for a front-page apology in the Mail On Sunday to publicise last month’s decision.

Warby made an “order for publication and dissemination” but said it would be “more limited” than what had been asked for.

He also said he would not ask for Associated Newspapers to hand over any copies it had of the private letter at this stage.

Further details are due to be outlined in a later written ruling.

Warby opted to defer hearing arguments until April or early May about damages that should be paid over misuse of private information, copyright infringement and data protection breaches.

Associated Newspapers lawyer Adrian Speck argued “remedies or a judgment” on copyright could not be made before it had been “determined what the copyrights are”.

Issues of whether Jason Knauf, who at the time served as Kensington Palace’s director of communications, co-authored the letter still have to be resolved.

Markle’s lawyers said they would be happy to accept nominal damages for misuse of private information at later hearings if the court ordered the newspaper group to make public its financial gains from the copyright infringement.

Ian Mill said his client was not “looking to punish the defendants” but “intended to ensure that the defendant does not profit” from its conduct.

Meghan and Harry now live in the United States, after stepping down from frontline royal duties last year over what they said was intolerable media pressure.

They have taken legal action against a number of publications since then, alleging invasion of privacy.

An interview the couple gave to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey is due to air on Sunday.

Meghan Markle Wins Privacy Claim Against UK News Group

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 06, 2020 Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks during a school assembly as part of a visit to Robert Clack School in Essex, on March 6, 2020, in support of International Women’s Day.(Photo by BEN STANSALL / POOL / AFP) 

 

 

Meghan Markle on Thursday won her high-profile privacy claim against a British newspaper group for publishing a private letter that she wrote to her estranged father.

The Duchess of Sussex, who is married to Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson Prince Harry, brought the case against Associated Newspapers after extracts of the 2018 letter appeared in 2019.

Judge Mark Warby ruled that Meghan had a “reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private”.

The letter to Thomas Markle was written a few months after Meghan married Harry, and asked her father to stop talking to tabloids and making false claims about her in interviews.

The judge called it “a personal and private letter” about Meghan’s own behaviour, her feelings of anguish about her father’s behaviour — as she saw it — and the resulting rift”.

The newspaper group’s defence team argued the publication was to correct inaccuracies in a previous article in the US magazine People.

But the judge said the extracts published were “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful”.

Meghan, 39, welcomed the ruling, and thanked the court for holding Associated to account for what she said were “illegal and dehumanising practices”.

She accused the Mail on Sunday weekly, its daily sister title the Daily Mail and the MailOnline website of exploiting individuals like “a game”.

“For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep,” she added.

“The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news. What the Mail On Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite.”

– ‘Very big win’ –
Lawyer Mark Stephens, who specialises in reputation management, told AFP that “this is a very big win for the Duchess of Sussex”.

“Essentially she will be able to turn round now and say she’s been vindicated, that the letter was private and should never have been published,” he said.

The amount of damages that Meghan will receive has not been disclosed.

The judge also granted summary judgment in relation to most of a claim by the Duchess over copyright.

But he said the “minor” issue raised by the defence of whether Meghan owned the full copyright of the letter or was a co-author should go to a limited trial, after claims that royal officials helped Meghan to draft it.

Warby said suggestions that she was not the sole author of the letter, and that the Crown could share the copyright, “cannot be described as fanciful”. They warranted further investigation, he said.

It was not immediately clear if that meant Meghan would have to give evidence.

The judge said a March 2 hearing would discuss costs and the remaining copyright issues.

– ‘Self-evidently private’ –
Associated had called for the privacy case to go to a full trial but Meghan’s lawyers argued the claim had no realistic prospect of success.

The news group said it was “very surprised” by the judgment and “disappointed at being denied the chance to have all the evidence heard and tested in open court at a full trial”.

A decision on whether to appeal was being considered, it added.

Mark Stephens told AFP that Associated Newspapers was “almost bound to appeal” against the ruling over the issue of whether the letter was in any way “public-facing”.

If the ruling is overturned, this would lead to a full trial, he said.

The newspaper publishers had argued that witnesses were needed to “shed light” on whether Meghan was planning for the letter to be made public as part of a “media strategy”.

But Meghan’s lawyers described the letter as “self-evidently private” and denied she intended the letter to be made public at any point.

They also denied she collaborated with the authors of a recent biography on her life with Harry, which also contained partial extracts of the letter.

Meghan and Harry quit frontline royal duties in March last year and now live in California.

They have launched a number of legal cases against news outlets alleging invasion of privacy, including over paparazzi shots of their son Archie.

This has attracted criticism from some, as the couple are also launching themselves into the public eye with high-profile projects such as a Spotify podcast in which Archie made a brief appearance.

Prince Harry Settles Libel Claim With UK Tabloid

 

Prince Harry on Monday formally settled a libel claim against the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline website over reports he snubbed soldiers after stepping down as a senior royal.

Harry sued Associated Newspapers over reports published in October that he had “not been in touch” with soldiers since his last appearance as an honorary Marine in March.

But the Mail On Sunday printed an apology in December and made a donation to the prince’s charity after accepting Harry had in fact contacted the Royal Marines.

Harry, who served in the British Army for 10 years, including in Afghanistan, had been “personally affronted” by the articles, said papers he filed to the High Court in London.

The prince “made repeated and concerted efforts to support the Royal Marines and other members of the armed forces and their families in the past year, even though he was required to step back from formal military roles”, said his lawyer Jenny Afia.

Judge Matthew Nicklin heard details of the settlement at a remote hearing on Monday.

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Harry’s wife Meghan is locked in a legal battle with the same publisher for printing a private letter to her estranged father.

The couple quit frontline royal duties early last year and have waged an increasingly bitter war with the media, particularly the tabloid press.

Harry has brought separate claims against two British tabloids related to alleged phone-hacking.