Earlier this month, Meghan Markle sparked outrage when she confessed to “misremembering” her involvement in her unofficial biography Finding Freedom and admitted granting her aides permission to discuss information with the authors.
Her statement regarding the book – which revealed intimate details about fallouts with Meghan’s sister-in-law Kate Middleton and how she was treated within the royal family – was met with backlash from fans.
But just days later, Meghan, 40, shocked the world when she appeared on Ellen Degeneres’ show, looking happy and glamorous as she gave an insight into her world.
She told how she and Harry had been on “one final night out” in Toronto before going public with their romance in 2016, and revealed they threw a Halloween party for their children, Archie, two, and Lilibet, five months, last month.
She then took part in a prank that saw her approaching street vendors, and she could only say and do whatever she was told to do through an ear piece – which included nibbling a cookie “like a chipmunk”, singing a song about kittens and swigging milk from a baby bottle – in what appeared to be an attempt to distance herself from the royals’ reserved image.
And now royal biographer Duncan Larcombe – who wrote Prince Harry: The Inside Story – says Meghan’s Ellen appearance is her attempt to redeem herself after her court blunder.
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Duncan says, “Having to apologise for misremembering facts in court is a blow to Meghan. She’s caused chaos for herself, and has now somewhat lost control of the narrative, and Harry and Meghan like to have their voices heard and share their so-called truths.
“Meghan’s image and reputation are absolutely everything to her, so if either of those are negatively affected, she’s got to do something to rectify things. The Ellen interview was, in my view, a form of damage control.”
Last week, rumours swirled that Meghan and Harry may give a top-up interview to Oprah Winfrey. Their first interview with Oprah in March caused shockwaves, as the couple made controversial claims about racism within the royal family, as well as claiming Meghan’s mental health issues were disregarded, leaving her suicidal. Commentators were also quick to question the couple’s decision to do the interview after previously claiming they wanted “a private life” when they relocated to the US last year.
And now Duncan says, “I really wouldn’t be surprised if they’re planning another Oprah interview. Harry and Meghan have caused chaos and I suspect there’s no stopping them. I can totally see more of these high-profile, Hollywood-style interviews with A-list TV hosts happening. Especially if there’s lots of money being offered for it. Harry will need promotion for his memoir, due to be released next autumn, too. Another Oprah interview, if it’s anything like the last, would surely push the royals to breaking point.”
Following their first Oprah interview, the Queen released a statement saying she was “saddened” by the accusations, and recent reports claim Harry and the rest of his family are barely on speaking terms.
But Meghan and Harry seemed to hint at fondness for the Queen in June, when they named their daughter Lilibet, which is her pet name.
And Duncan says that Harry will no doubt be anxious over his grandmother’s health – there have been concerns for the Queen, after the 95-year-old spent a night in hospital, before pulling out of the COP26 summit and Remembrance Day service.
Duncan says, “The Queen and Harry have always had a special relationship. At royal events, we’ve seen them exchange smiles and knowing glances. Although they’re obviously not as close as they were, given the drama Harry and Meghan have caused. No doubt Harry’s memoir will criticise the royals again. And that will hurt the Queen.
“But any homesickness or longing to see someone is heightened when someone’s ill. So I expect, with these recent reports, it’s dawning on Harry that he may not have long left to see his grandmother. As heartbreaking as it is, maybe if the Queen does become ill it would be a major wake-up call for him.”
Harry and Meghan seem to have seamlessly transitioned into the showbiz circuit since their move to California. Harry has also done an interview with James Corden, while Meghan launched a charity campaign with actress Melissa McCarthy, and the couple have signed multimillion-pound deals with Spotify, Netflix and Apple TV.
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And Duncan says that while the pair – who have continued to call themselves the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – still use their titles, the crossover of the royal and celebrity worlds could cause further damage to the royals.
He adds, “Where it all went wrong for Meghan was that she couldn’t understand the difference between a celebrity and a royal. A celebrity peddles their own image, their reputation and their brand and gets paid for it. But a royal can’t do that because the public wouldn’t have it – their job is to serve the people of the country and raise awareness about causes without any personal gain whatsoever. We wouldn’t have a royal family if the royals did everything for their own fame and fortune.
“The fact she and Harry are still using their titles is dangerous, because people will start to ask, ‘They are royals, but what are they doing all this for? For good, or for their own gain?’. There could be more drama to come, if there are more of these A-list interviews.”
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