After a week of digging in Britain’s royal family, how far will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle go in their long-awaited interview with Oprah Winfrey?
Millions of people will tune in to CBS Sunday night to find out, and if that trickle of excerpt is any indication, they have points to settle with Buckingham Palace a little over a year after giving up the front line as royalty and moving to Southern California.
In one of them, Meghan, a former TV actress who is pregnant with the couple’s other children, referred to the royal family as “The Firm” – an insider nickname she used with some hint of darling because she accused it of “defending falsehoods about U.S.”
Meghan, 39, is also facing an internal palace investigation into allegations that she bullied royal housekeepers during her time in the UK.
The Times reported on former employees’ statements and said that the accusations go back to October 2018, a few months after the couple’s fairytale wedding.
A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex responded, saying, “Let’s just call it what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.”
“It is no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining the Duchess are being reported to the British media just before she and the Duke speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years,” the official said.
The couple have often said that they left the UK to get away from the country’s media, but they also announced that they were unhappy as royalty.
The crisis echoes one that led to Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana, divorcing, and a famous interview that Diana gave to the BBC in 1995 in which she admitted that she cheated on him with Army Officer James Hewitt.
‘History repeats itself’
“My biggest concern was that the story repeated itself,” Harry told Winfrey in another interview excerpt released before its broadcast.
He was referring to the death of his mother in a high-speed car accident in Paris in 1997 when her driver tried to escape the paparazzi who were chasing them.
In another chapter of the transatlantic drama that led to the chat with Winfrey, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday that a probe is underway into a foundation that the couple created and then disbanded in July.
It also ran an article with very critical accounts of Meghan being stubborn, calculating and spoiled.
After confirming to Queen Elizabeth II that they would not resume royal duties after a year of scrutiny, the Duke and Duchess lost their most recent royal protections and military titles last month.
From Britain they had moved to Canada and then California. They first lived in Los Angeles and then in July in Montecito, a small and prosperous coastal town 160 miles up the coast.
They have tried to present themselves as a modern couple who are concerned about humanitarian issues, in a country where public opinion about them is much more favorable than it was in Britain.
When many British observers of the royal family criticized the couple as careless and selfish, some in America saw in this hint of racism against Markle, who is a mixed race.
Since arriving in the United States, the couple has created a charity called Archewell and signed a contract with Netflix to produce documentaries, feature films, children’s programs and other content.
Add to this a partnership with Apple TV + in collaboration with Winfrey.
The queen of American talk shows sold the long-awaited interview to CBS for $ 7 to $ 9 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But she retains international rights to the juicy chat, with so many people around the world wanting to hear what Harry and Meghan have to say.