Queen ‘hasn’t been given advance copy’ of Meghan Markle and Harry’s Oprah interview
The Duchess of Sussex claims the Royal Family once gagged her from talking to Oprah Winfrey but she now feels “liberated” to act in her new life.
Meghan, 39, alleges that when she first spoke to the US chat show host three years ago, their call was eavesdropped on by staff.
It has also emerged that the Queen and Buckingham Palace “do not have an advance copy” of Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah.
Royal aides admitted that “everyone will watch it at the same time”.
Senior members of the Royal Family have urged for “calm amid the storm” ahead of the interview, which will be shown in the US at 1am UK time on Monday and then at 9pm on ITV.
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The Mirror understands the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William have all agreed they will “reserve judgment” until they have seen all of the footage, sources said.
In a teaser shown on CBS This Morning yesterday, Meghan speaks of her relief about no longer being constrained by the royals.
Oprah tells how she first spoke to the Duchess two months before her Windsor Castle wedding to Harry, 36, as she tried to land an interview.
“So, I just want to say that I called you either February or March 2018, before the wedding,” Oprah says, “asking would you please give me an interview, and you said, ‘I’m sorry, it’s not the right time’.
“And finally, we get to sit down and have this conversation.”
Meghan replies: “I remember that conversation very well. I wasn’t even allowed to have that conversation with you personally, right?
“There had to be people from the comms [Palace communications team] sitting there.”
Oprah interjects: “There were other people in the room when I was having that conversation?”
“Yeah, even on that call,” the former actress responds.
Oprah, 67, then gushes: “You turned me down nicely and said perhaps there will be another time when there’s the right time. What is right about this time?”
Meghan says: “Well, so many things that we’re on the other side of a lot of… a lot of life experience that has happened.
“And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said ‘yes’ to you then. That wasn’t my choice to make.
“So, as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is… different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say ‘yes’.”
Oprah asks her: “To say it for yourself?” to which Meghan replies: “I’m ready to talk. To say it for yourself.”
The chat show host then pointedly says: “And not to have to consult with anybody at this point. Yes?”
Meghan says: “Yeah. To be able to just make a choice on your own. And to be able to speak for yourself.”
Before yesterday’s clip was shown, This Morning host Gayle King – a friend of Oprah and Meghan – moved to defend the Sussexes from the backlash over the interview’s timing given Prince Philip’s hospital stay.
Ms King, 66, told viewers: “They did this interview two, three weeks ago before Prince Philip was in hospital. That’s an important point while they’re being blamed for appearing to be insensitive.”
The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, was taken into hospital on February 16 –the day before the Sussexes met Oprah.
Ms King said Harry and “particularly” Meghan have been unfairly “vilified”, while co-anchor Anthony Mason branded the Royal Family “oppressive”.
The Queen, 94, has to wait until Monday to watch the interview as CBS executives have not offered a preview tape to the royal household. ITV is showing the interview after paying around £1million for the rights. CBS has sold the show to 68 countries.
Ms King also asked why Meghan was being investigated by the Palace over claims that she bullied staff yet they are not probing Prince Andrew, 61, about his friendship with late paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
She suggested it was because of the 90-minute Oprah interview. Meghan’s allies in the US, including colleagues from legal drama Suits, publicly backed her too.
Executive producer Jon Cowan said she is a “warm, kind, caring person” who has been thrust into an “unimaginable world” and deserves the “benefit of the doubt”.
Writer Lindsay Jill Roth, her maid of honour, posted: “Meg’s [modus operandi] has always been kindness.”
Sources close to the couple at their £11million Californian home claimed that despite Philip’s health, Meghan would not postpone the airing of the interview “even if she had the choice”.
According to US reports, the insider said: “She said she wouldn’t because it has absolutely nothing to do with Philip and that this is just an excuse by the Palace to keep her muzzled.”
In an earlier excerpt this week, Meghan appeared to accuse the Royal Family of spreading lies when Oprah asks: “How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth?”
The Duchess replies: “I don’t know how they could expect that… we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.”
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