Palace insiders: ‘There are more secrets to be exposed & more bombshells to come!’

As the scandal following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s incendiary Oprah interview continues to make waves, experts warn it’s just the start – with more heartbreak on the cards

prince harry meghan markle

by Daisy McLure |
Updated on

The simmering feud between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the royal family has exploded following the couple’s bombshell claims in their sensational interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Millions of viewers around the world watched Meghan Markle’s emotional tell-all last week as she spoke of racism within the Palace, saying “concerns” were raised before the birth of her one-year-old son Archie over how dark his skin would be.

Shockingly, she also claimed she’d been refused help as she struggled with her mental health under intense public scrutiny and, at her lowest point, “didn’t want to be alive any more”. She also claimed stories that she had made sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry at a dress fitting before the royal wedding was false and it was Kate who had made her cry, though later apologised to her.

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Paul believes Meghan thinks she’s carrying on Diana’s legacy ©Getty Images

Meanwhile, Harry revealed how his father, Prince Charles had “stopped taking his calls” after the couple stepped back from royal duties, and said he’d been cut off financially, claiming they’d had to forge deals with TV networks to pay for security.

The interview – watched by 11.4m people – divided the nation, with both “AbolishTheMonarchy” and “GodSaveOurQueen” trending on Twitter.

Following days of reported crisis talks, Buckingham Palace issued a brief statement that the family was “saddened” to learn how challenging it’s been for Harry, 37, and Meghan, 39, adding that “the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning” and “will be addressed by the family privately”. However, in a rare public display of emotion, Prince William snapped when asked about the crisis on a tour of East London, saying “we are very much not a racist family”.

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Harry blushed during the interview ©CBS

The interview sparked debate on social media throughout the week – with praise pouring in for the couple for standing their ground, but also criticism for the apparent inconsistencies in some of their claims. Fans also questioned why barely any questions were asked about Meghan’s family – something which has dominated the headlines for years.

And, as the scandal continues, Closer asks two royal insiders for their view on the drama that has rocked the monarchy…

Princess Diana's 'rock' Paul Burrell: ‘Harry seemed very upset – I hated seeing him like that’

paul burrell
Paul has opened up ©Shutterstock

Paul Burrell – who was Diana’s butler and her “rock” for a decade – tells Closer he was shocked by the interview and believes there is more to come.

He says, “There were so many questions unanswered and topics not covered and there were things that didn’t add up. Sadly, I don’t believe this is the end of it – I’m sure there are more secrets to be exposed and more bombshells to come. Diana would have been devastated by this interview because of the ties it has further severed between Harry and William. Through everything that went on in Diana’s life, she always maintained a total respect for the royal family. Yes there was the fallout with Charles, but she loved the Queen and was so proud her two boys had royal blood. While I think she’d always have unconditional love for Harry, she’d be so disappointed at the divide this interview has created.”

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Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview ©Getty Images

Paul adds he feels the Oprah chat had echoes of Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview – with Meghan revealing she’d reached out to one of Di’s friends for help as she struggled with her mental health.

He says, “I think the interview was orchestrated with messages and allusions to Diana – Meghan was wearing her bracelet, and was saying how she and Harry were going to do things their way. I think Meghan believes she is carrying on Diana’s legacy. But while Meghan has her loving husband by her side, Diana didn’t have that.”

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Get the best celeb interviews in Closer magazine each week ©Closer magazine

And Paul says he worries about Harry after sensing he found the interview very difficult. He adds, “Harry appeared to be extremely uncomfortable doing what he was doing. I think he was wondering, ‘Should I be here? Should I be doing this?’ It was very painful to watch. He went pink several times. I hated seeing him like that, he seemed to be very upset. The Queen will be devastated. This is her biggest crisis since Diana – and on top of that, her husband’s in hospital.

“I hope the Queen – who I stood beside as her footman and who is the most caring woman – can make peace with it. She doesn’t need any more heartbreak.”

Check out: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship from the start


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry relationship timeline - Grazia - SLIDER

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle1 of 17

July 2016: Meghan And Harry Meet

So when did the future Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet? Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were introduced by a mutual friend in July 2016, originally thought to be Markus Anderson (also the director of Soho house) but who was later confirmed to be Violet von Westenholz. Meghan said in an interview that before she met the Harry she didn't know much about him 'the only thing that I had asked [our mutual friend] was, 'Well is he nice?'. According to Harry he knew Meghan was The One from 'the very first time we met.' after only two dates Harry asked Meghan to accompany him on a trip to Botswana.

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October - November 2016: Kensington Palace's Statement

In October 2016 that the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend. However just a month later, Kensington Palace released a statement condemning the 'wave of abuse and harassment' faced by Meghan. The unprecedented statement, which referred to Meghan as Harry's girlfriend for the first time, emphasized that Prince Harry was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.' It continued 'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.' The palace were also forced to address speculation that Prince William was unhappy with Harry for confirming the relationship too soon, stating 'The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him.'

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December - February 2017: Things Get More Serious

Early in December 2017 Meghan was confirmed as the most Googled actress of 2016. In the same month, the couple were photographed together for the first time in London, shopping for a Christmas tree at the Pines and Needles store and attending a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. By January 2017 a source told US weekly that Harry had introduced Meghan to Kate and Prince Charlotte and that the 'meeting went well'. Meanwhile a source told The Sun that Meghan had 'virtually moved in' with Prince Harry to his cottage on the Kensington Palace estate.

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March - May 2017: Meghan Attends Weddings With Harry

By March things were openly getting pretty serious between the two: Meghan accompanied Harry to Jamaica for a wedding for the first time (his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip to Lara Hughes-Young). On April the 7th Meghan announced that she was closing down her lifestyle blog The Tig writing 'What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity. You've made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy.' In May, Meghan and Harry attended their first public event together at the Polo in Coworth Park (where they also engaged in some PDA). Later in May Prince Harry was seen driving Meghan to the reception of Pippa Middleton and James Matthew's wedding.

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September 2017: The First Official Public Appearance

Welcome to Meghan the style Icon: at the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games in September Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands, Aritzia with a burgundy biker jacket by Mackage. The next day the couple were photographed sitting together at the wheelchair tennis and 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and kissing at the closing ceremony. On the 5th of September In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan stated: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'

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September-November 2017: Meghan Leaves Behind Rachel Zane

Late 2017 we saw the end of everyone's favourite legal powerhouse Rachel Zane (sob). In November 2017, shortly after Meghan met the Queen, the actress was reported to be leaving her role in Suits after seven seasons.

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November 2017: The Engagement

After months of speculation, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating On November 27th 2017 . The engagement ring, said to be designed by Harry, is made of two stones that belonged to Princess Diana. The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label (whose website subsequently crashed). When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!' Speaking about his late mother, Princess Diana, Harry said 'I think they'd be thick as thieves. She would be over the moon, jumping up and down, so excited for me... It's days like today when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news. With the ring, I'm sure she's with us, jumping up and down somewhere else.' it was announced that the wedding would take place on May the 19th, 2018.

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December 2017: The Fab Four

In December 2017 Meghan, Harry, Kate and William were photographed together attending the Christmas service at Sandringham. Pictures of the two couples earned them the title 'The Fab Four'. Meanwhile in the following months Meghan earned a reputation for breaking royal protocol on official visits by hugging fans of the couple and kissing them on the cheek.

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February 2018: Kate And Meghan Appear In Public Together

In February 2018, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle had their first royal engagement together for the Royal Foundation Forum with Prince Harry and Prince William. Harry stated of the two couples 'We have different opinions and they work really well [together]. Working as family does have its challenges; of course it does. The fact that everybody is laughing shows they know exactly what's it like… But we are stuck together for the rest of our lives.'

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May 2018: The Lead Up To The Wedding

In the lead-up to the wedding it was confirmed 2,640 people would be invited to the grounds of Windsor Palace to watch the royal wedding. Photos of Meghan and Harry's wedding invitations were released, bearing Harry's legal name 'Henry'. Meghan and Harry made a number of public appearances together including to the Invictus game tryouts in April and attend the Queen's birthday at the Royal Albert Hall. Meghan's final episode of Suits is also aired, marking the official end of her acting career.

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May 2018: Meghan's Family Drama Begins

On May the 14th, three days before the wedding Meghan's father, Thomas Markle sr. who was confirmed to walk Meghan down the aisle pulled out, following an embarrassing incident in which he staged paid paparazzi photos. Thomas Markle later suffered a heart attack, and his son Thomas Markle Jr. penned an unflattering open letter to Harry criticizing Meghan and encouraging him to pull out of the wedding. The day before the wedding, Kensington Palace announced Prince Charles would walk Meghan down the aisle, stating 'The Prince of Wales is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to The Royal Family in this way.'

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May 2018: The Royal Wedding

Meghan and Harry wed on the 19th of May for a combined audience of 11.5 million people who tuned in to watch the ceremony. Meghan's gown was made by Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of the fashion house Givenchy which she later changed for a silk crepe dress by Stella McCartney. Her mother Doria Ragland attended the ceremony along with a host of celebrities including Meghan's former Suits cast and her close friends, George and Amal Clooney.

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May - October 2018: Married Life

Throughout May of 2018 Harry and Meghan made their first official appearances as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. For her inaugural attendance to the Trooping of the Colour Meghan wore an off-the-shoulder dress, reportedly breaking royal protocal. In the following months the newlyweds made a number of public appearances including to Ireland to meet the country's officials. They also took a rumoured trip to visit George and Amal Clooney in Lake Como.

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October 2018: The Royal Baby Announcement

Speculation began during Princess Eugenie's wedding that Meghan was pregnant owing to her loose coat. The rumours were confirmed when Kensington Palace announced on the 15th of October 2018 that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were expecting a child. The announcement also coincided with the first day of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's official tour.

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October 2018: Meghan And Harry's First Royal Tour

In October Meghan and Harry departed for their 16-day Autumn royal tour visiting Australia, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand (obviously featuring some serious style moments from the newly-appointed Duchess of Sussex/Style). By November, sources were telling news outlets that the couple were preparing to move to Frogmore cottage in Windsor in 2019. The couple spent the anniversary of their engagement, November the 27th apart, due to Harry being in Zambia.

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November 2018 - Present: Feud Rumours

As Meghan and Harry embarked on life as newlyweds there was less plainsailing, as controversy continued to follow closely on their heels. Meghan's family have continued to be the subject of unflattering media headlines and Thomas Markle gave interviews to the media about his distanced relationship with his daughter. Meanwhile Samantha Markle (Meghan's half sister, who also claims to be penning a book about the Duchess) was put on a fixated persons list after showing up at Kensington palace in January. Rumours of a froideur between Meghan and Kate were sparked shortly after Meghan and Harry's nuptials by reports that Meghan reduced Kate 'to tears' during challenging dress fittings with Princess Charlotte. In February, Thomas Markle leaks a handwritten letter from Meghan to the media in response to friends of the Duchess defending her in an interview and following numerous staff changes, rumours arise that Meghan and Harry's staff refer to Meghan by the nickname 'The difficult Duchess'.

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March 2019: The Royal Household's Split

In March 2019 it was confirmed that the Sussex and Cambridge's 'royal households' will split, meaning the couples will no longer share staff. Royal spokespersons confirm that Kate and William's staff team will stay in Kensington Palace while Meghan and Harry's staff will be based in Buckingham Palace, reflecting the location of their new residence of Frogmore cottage in Windsor. Representatives are quick to confirm this is a planned move, and not due to rumors of growing tensions between the couples.

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Biographer Tom Bower: ‘There was a clash – Kate and Meghan were never going to be bosom buddies!’

tom bower
Tom has opened up ©Shutterstock

Biographer and Palace insider Tom Bower says he’s still puzzled as to what started this royal war.

Tom, who interviewed 120 people involved with the royal family for his biography of Prince Charles, says, “Meghan and Harry seem to have declared war – and what I don’t understand is why. What have they to gain? Especially as they have launched their foundation, Archewell, to spread kindness, compassion and wellness.

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Kate and Meghan have had different experiences as royals ©Getty Images

“I don’t doubt that Meghan was extremely unhappy and really struggled – we’ve seen with Harry’s past girlfriends that many of them have turned down the role. It’s extremely demanding and a total lifestyle change, especially for an LA actress.

“But she had Harry by her side and we know she knew all about Diana – she could’ve done the research. But perhaps she thought she could be the star. When she realised she wasn’t – and that she’d walk behind the Queen, Charles, Camilla, William and Kate in the procession – maybe she couldn’t handle it.”

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Prince William – here with wife Kate – has responded to the claims ©Shutterstock

Turning to the reported rift between Meghan and Kate, Tom says, “Meghan and Kate were never going to be bosom buddies – Meghan clearly likes celebrity and the world of Hollywood. So middle-class, reserved, quiet Kate and her have nothing in common. There was a clash of personalities, a clash of ambitions and a clash of approaches to life.

“There is a lot more that will emerge over what happened during those two years - we will see more bombshells and more shocking information come out. Harry and Meghan have raised more questions than answers – so they will undoubtedly say more over the coming months.”

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