The Queen responds to Meghan and Harry interview

 

Buckingham Palace has released a brief statement from the Queen addressing Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey.   

"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," the statement said.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

Read on for all the latest news on the fallout from the Sussexes' interview.

Queen issues statement responding to the interview


Buckingham Palace has released a brief statement from the Queen addressing Harry and Meghan's interview.

"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan," she says.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

That's the whole thing.

Piers Morgan leaving ITV after blow-up

British TV host Piers Morgan is leaving his role on the ITV show Good Morning Britain following the backlash against his vociferous criticism of Meghan Markle.

"Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain," the network said in a curt statement.

"ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."

Morgan has been critical of the Sussexes for years at this point, but his response to their interview with Oprah was particularly scathing.

"I don't believe a word she says," he said of Meghan after the interview aired.

He later stormed off set as one of his co-presenters, Alex Beresford, accused him of "trashing" Meghan because she "cut him off".

Earlier today, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall stressed that she "completely believes" what Meghan said about her mental health. She said the network was "totally committed" to supporting people speaking out about the issue.

Ms McCall said another network executive, Kevin Lygo, was speaking to Morgan "on a regular basis" and "has done so the last couple of days".


Key thing missing from the Queen's response

Something missing from that statement: any mention of Harry and Meghan's claims that they sought treatment for her mental health struggles and got rebuffed by palace staff.

"I went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said that I'd never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn't, that it wouldn't be good for the institution," the Duchess said in the interview.

Oprah sought more detail on who, exactly, Meghan had gone to.

"So, the institution is never a person. Or is it a series of people?" she asked.

"No, it's a person. It's several people, but I went to one of the most senior people to get help," Meghan responded.

"So I went to human resources. And I said, 'I just really need help.' Because in my old job there was a union, and they'd protect me. And I remember this conversation like it was yesterday, because they said, 'My heart goes out to you, because I see how bad it is. But there's nothing we can do to protect you, because you're not a paid employee of the institution.'

"This wasn't a choice. This was emails, and begging for help, saying very specifically, 'I am concerned for my mental welfare.' And people going, 'Oh yes, yes, it's disproportionately terrible, we see out there, compared to anyone else.'

"But nothing was ever done. So we had to find a solution."

As we noted yesterday, the palace could choose to investigate these claims, much as it is already investigating the allegations that Meghan bullied her household staff.

Apparently that isn't going to happen.

'It's incredibly sad for Her Majesty'

Here we have some comments from the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster, and her deputy Michelle O'Neill.

"Well I didn't watch the interview last night. I have no intention of watching the interview," said Ms Foster.

"I think it's incredibly sad for Her Majesty the Queen to have had to listen to all of that. And I mean, as I say, I didn't watch the interview, so I really don't have any comment to make."

Ms O'Neill said she watched "part of it" before she fell asleep. Some British media is interpreting this as Ms O'Neill saying she fell asleep while watching it, though I suspect she just meant she caught some of it before going to bed.

"It's not for me to comment," she said.

"I think that some of the commentary around racism - racism should be called out in any form, wherever it's seen. So that's the only thing I would say."


Almost two hours of unseen footage remains

Hello, Sam here, I'm going to run this thing for the next few hours. You're most welcome to come along for the ride.

First up, an interesting titbit from The Sun, which reports Meghan and Harry spoke with Oprah Winfrey for a total of three hours and 20 minutes.

The CBS broadcast was two hours long including ad breaks, so only an hour and a half or so of footage actually aired. The network has since released a handful of snippets that didn't make the cut, each a couple of minutes long.

That still leaves plenty of unseen footage - almost two hours, if The Sun's information is correct.


Why Piers Morgan really hates Meghan

Why does Piers Morgan hate Meghan so much?

Setting aside accusations that he is simply racist and a misogynist, the pair do have history. They began talking in September 2015 when Morgan followed the actor on Twitter and she sent him a direct message that read: "Well hello there - thanks for the follow. Big fan of yours!"

The pair apparently exchanged messages and emails over the next year-and-a-half and had "amusing" debates about Suits storylines before meeting at Morgan's local pub in Kensington, west London, in June 2016, The Mirror reports.

Morgan has said Meghan went to a private members club the same evening to meet the Duke of Sussex and then "went cold" with the pair never speaking again. "She met Prince Harry at the dinner that night, went on a solo date with him the next night, and I never heard from her again. Not a word. I'd been ghosted," he said.


Kate's earrings send subtle message

Kate Middleton may have sent a subtle message of reconciliation during an appearance after Harry and Meghan's interview, it is claimed.

Kensington Palace yesterday released a video of the Duchess of Cambridge to mark International Women's Day.

The $154 earrings are by jewellery brand Missoma, one of Meghan's favourites, according to the Daily Mail. The drop earrings are described as being made of "a heart-based healing crystal that radiates love, compassion and all-around good vibes".

Kate has not commented on Meghan's claims that the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry in an argument over flower girl dresses before her wedding to Harry, later apologising with a bunch of flowers.

It had previously been reported that the reverse happened, and that Meghan had made Kate cry during the row.

Interview drew record 11.4m UK viewers

The Meghan and Harry interview drew a massive total audience of 11.4 million in UK last night, 54.4 per cent of all television viewers in the country.

The BARB figures reported by overnights.tv found the program had a "much younger profile than normal and a 72 per cent share for adults 25-34."

It makes the two-hour special the most-watched show in the UK this year, well ahead of The Masked Singer final, which drew 8.6 million viewers last month.

The interview averaged 17.14 million viewers on CBS in the US, according to Nielsen's fast national numbers, the second-biggest audience for any non-sports program on broadcast networks this season after the post-Super Bowl premiere of The Equalizer.

We think Oprah is the real winner here.

Biden's press secretary hails Meghan's 'courage'

So what does America think of the royals after all this? I'm afraid the reaction is … not entirely positive.

Joe Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki praised Meghan and Harry's courage, saying they were now private citizens and could tell their stories. "For anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles with mental health and tell their own personal story, that takes courage. That's certainly something the President believes," she said.

She said Mr Biden had talked about the importance of investing in some of the areas Harry and Meghan were committed to, but added that the US has "a strong and abiding relationship with the British people".

British-American playwright and broadcaster Bonnie Greer said the interview was a "catastrophe" for the perception of the royals and the UK in the US.

"I have been on air last night on American television telling people 'it is not what you think' and 'I don't know what is going on with the Royal Family'," she told the UK's Channel 5.

"People are saying 'what kind of country is that, which allows something like this to happen?'"

UK justice secretary praises Queen

The UK justice secretary has praised the Queen as the world waits for the a statement from Buckingham Palace on Meghan and Harry's interview.

Robert Buckland told Sky News: "I think that the Queen epitomises public duty and public service and we all look up to her and admire her for that as we do other members of the royal family who work hard."

He added: "That element of public duty is at the heart of what makes the monarchy work here in the United Kingdom."

The Queen has refused to sign off a statement prepared by officials focusing on the family's love and concern for the couple and is believed to want more time to consider her response, according to The Times.

Stats show UK split over royals along age and political lines

New stats show that the UK public is split along age and political lines over who they support in the royal drama.

According to a YouGov survey, 36% of British residents said they sympathised more with the Queen and the royal family, while 22% said they sympathised more with Harry and Meghan on the whole.

But when that was broken down by age, 48% of 18- to 24-year-olds sympathised more with the Sussexes, while only 9% of over-65s sided with the couple, Sky News reports.

Some online commentators have said this is a question of how racist people are, rather than how old they are.

The polling split was also on party political affiliation. The results showed 64% of people who supported for Boris Johnson's Conservative Party said they sympathised with the Queen, while just 8% sympathised with Harry and Meghan.

A separate YouGov survey found that Americans were more likely to sympathise with Meghan and Harry than Brits, at 68%, and more likely to think the interview was appropriate.

Harry's socks dubbed 'sartorial outrage'

Of all the Harry and Meghan revelations, this is possibly the most important.

Viewers were apparently disturbed by the sight of the prince wearing dark socks with brown shoes and a light suit during the couple's Oprah interview.

"OMG. Prince Harry wears black socks with brown shoes. Fail!!!" wrote one Twitter user.

Others said they were "distracted" by navy socks and pale suit combination or even "hated" it, with another viewer complaining that the socks were "droopy".

We're not sure why stylish Meghan failed to prevent this "sartorial outrage". Perhaps she had more pressing matters on her mind.

Piers Morgan 'spoken to' after Meg rant

Piers Morgan has been spoken to by the head of UK broadcaster ITV after saying he didn't believe Meghan had been suicidal.

The Good Morning Britain host has stepped up his habitual rants in the wake of the Oprah interview, in which the Duchess of Sussex said she "didn't want to be alive any more".

In one of the many furious diatribes after the interview that must now be giving Morgan an ulcer, he declared: "I don't believe a word she says." It prompted UK mental health charity Mind to say it was "disappointed and concerned".

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: "I completely believe what she [Meghan] said, that the most important thing with mental health that ITV does and is totally committed to, is that we support, we get people to speak up, we listen, we say everyone has to listen and everyone has to believe because that's how you get people to speak up. So we are very committed to that."

She said the head of ITV Kevin Lygo was "speaking to him on a regular basis and has done so the last couple of days", The Sun reports. It comes after Piers stormed off set during an interview after a co-host accused him of "trashing" Meghan because she "cut him off".

Prince Charles appears for first time

Prince Charles has appeared in public for the first time since the explosive Meghan and Harry interview, which did not paint a flattering portrait of him.

The Prince of Wales was pictured visiting a pop-up vaccine clinic at Jesus House church in London.

He appeared cheerful, thanking people involved in the rollout.

Asked about the interview by reporters, he said nothing, but smiled. The Sun described his response as a "nervous chuckle".

Charles has been described as being in a "state of despair" over the interview, in which Harry said his father stopped taking his calls after he and Meghan decided to leave as working royals.

The Duke of Sussex said he felt "let down" by his father after he was cut off financially, but said he hoped to "heal" the relationship.

Harry also said he thought his father, the future king, had "made his peace" with the "toxic environment" of royal life.


A generation's Diana moment

Royal biographer Andrew Morton has said the fallout from the interview will "shudder down through the generations in the same way that Diana's did".

Princess Diana's 1995 interview with the BBC's Martin Bashir in which she claimed "there were three of us in this marriage" has haunted the royal family ever since.

Both interviews have painted Prince Charles in an unflattering light, with Harry claiming his father stopped taking his calls after he and Meghan decided to step back as working royals.

The Prince of Wales is said to be "in a state of despair" over the Oprah interview, sources told Vanity Fair.

Sources also told the magazine that Prince William was "beyond livid" and the interview could be the "nail in the coffin" for their relationship.

Morton's comment is far from the first comparison with Diana. The New York Times says their stories are "remarkably similar" and that Harry and Meghan seem determined to position the Duchess of Sussex "as a latter-day Diana, a woman mistreated by her in-laws, more sinned against than sinning."

'Racism is racism', says CNN's Don Lemon

CNN's Don Lemon has hit out after the allegations from Meghan's Oprah interview that a royal questioned what colour Archie's skin would be.

"Imagine people talking that way about your baby, before you baby's even born. It's awful," said Lemon.

"But sadly it's not shocking, not at all, not to people of colour. I don't think anybody who watched Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah or who watched how Meghan was treated, how people talked about her, could really be surprised about that."

He recalled a Daily Mail headline from the early days of the couple's union that described Meg as "(almost) straight outta Compton".

"Racism is racism, doesn't matter whether you live in a shack or a palace."

He added: "The British monarchy is a caste system, a hierarchy based on bloodlines. Think about that and then ask yourself again if it is a surprise that they wondered what would baby Archie's skin colour be."

Meghan's dad used 'Trumpian framing'

Journalist Mike P Williams has said Thomas Markle's comments on the racism allegations have a "Trumpian framing".

Mr Markle earlier told Good Morning Britain he did not think Britain or the royal family were racist, and that the alleged comment on Archie's skin colour could have just been "a dumb question".

"Thomas Markle doesn't think it's the colonial ruling, inbred, all-white Royal Family that are racist, but instead all the people surrounding Meghan and Harry," Williams wrote on Twitter. "Pretty obvious where this Trumpian framing is going."


Harry and Meghan 'lobbed grenade' into royal family

Royal author Penny Junor has told the UK's PA news agency that Harry and Meghan "lobbed a hand grenade into the family home" in a "very serious attack" on the institution.

She said it was "absolutely fine" that Harry and Meghan had wanted to "walk away" from royal life, but asked: "Why destroy the reputation of the family in the course of that?"

Ms Junor said she did not know why they had done the interview.

"This is Harry's family, his flesh and blood, and this seems to have lobbed a hand grenade into the family home. I worry that there will be no coming back from that."

Ms Junor is facing strong criticism for a piece she wrote in the Mail on Sunday headlined: "Harry's making the same mistake as Diana - and I fear he'll come to regret it, just like his mother did."

Several have described the headline as sounding like a "threat".

Meghan recently won a privacy claim against the newspaper.


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