Queen Elizabeth has delivered a message of her own ahead of Harry and Meghan’s salacious Oprah Winfrey tell-all interview.
The 94-year-old monarch, sharing her annual Commonwealth Day message on Monday morning (Australian time), urged for unity during these “testing times”.
In her address, pre-recorded at Windsor Castle due to COVID-19, the Queen said the pandemic had been “a time like no other”.
The difficulties had “led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others,” she said.
But try as she might, the Queen could not take the spotlight off video highlighting some other testing times.
Her remarks come just hours before a hotly anticipated interview with Prince Harry and wife Meghan, conducted by US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, airs on television internationally.
It will show on CBS in the United States – about noon in Australia on Monday. And it comes with much trepidation.
The US has swarmed to its adopted royals (many news outlets are even launching ‘royal newsletters’ to satiate their readers’ appetite), while the UK watches cautiously to see if Harry will follow further in his mother’s footsteps.
🌍 In this year’s #CommonwealthDay message The Queen
pays tribute to the way in which communities across the family of nations have come together in response to the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/rOoUMJLlKg
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 7, 2021
The lead up to the interview airing has been fraught with barbs thrown from the each side of the Atlantic, starting with the Sussexes’ official split from the family last month.
Just as the first teaser clip for Harry and Meghan’s sit-down chat with Winfrey hit the internet, Buckingham Palace dropped a bombshell.
The Palace confirmed it would be investigating bullying claims levelled against Meghan by former royal staff.
“Accordingly our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article,” Buckingham Palace said in response to the allegations aired in The Times.
Harry and Meghan, of course, denied the allegations vehemently.
The timing was no coincidence – the bullying rumours were designed to darken Meghan’s character, royal watchers agreed.
It also shows just how nervous the Palace is about what might be said in the Winfrey chat – they might have a hold over the UK’s perceptions, but they don’t carry as much weight in the US.
In the clips we’ve seen so far, we can see there is some one-on-one time between Winfrey and Meghan – the latter always with a hand gentling resting on her belly, cradling her second child in utero.
Without her husband by her side, will Meghan really unleash on her in-laws?
“I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there’s an active role that [Buckingham Palace] is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Meghan says in one clip, seemingly in response to Winfrey asking about a potential fallout from the interview.
“If [speaking out] comes with risk of losing things, there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”
Harry and Meghan up and moved to the US before the pandemic shut down the world, but a global shutdown has made it even harder for Harry to stay in touch with his family – especially with brother, William.
They’ve had regularly Zoom calls, royal watchers report – but anyone who has tried to having a meaningful conversation across a laptop screen and different time zones knows how hard that is.
For Will and Kate, the forthcoming interview still comes with hope.
“There will always be bumps in the road, but they’re a family and families come through these things. They both remain hopeful of a reconciliation with Harry and Meghan,” a friend of the Cambridges reportedly told The Telegraph.
“It has been very difficult for both sides and there has been a lot of sadness over what has happened but, ultimately, they want things to improve between them in the fullness of time.”
Kate in particular holds hope – she has been heard saying she doesn’t think it’s too late to “pull [Harry and Meghan] back in”.