EXCLUSIVE: It’s unknown whether Queen Elizabeth II has reached out to her grandson and his wife after their bombshell tell-all with Oprah Winfrey, but one royal expert suspects their talk will be far from pleasant.
“The queen is a strong woman who understands the importance of duty and service,” Nick Bullen told Fox News. “She also has never, ever aired out dirty laundry in public. And I think any conversations that do happen, whether it’s happened now or is about to happen, will be a very awkward conversation because the way Harry and Meghan behaved is totally alien to the queen.”
Bullen is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of True Royalty TV. The award-winning documentarian has been making programs about the royal family for nearly 20 years and has worked closely with Harry’s father, Prince Charles, for eight.
Thirty-six hours after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s televised interview with Winfrey, 67, Buckingham Palace released a 60-word statement on behalf of Elizabeth, 94.
This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, from left, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” read a statement sent to Fox News on Tuesday.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,” the statement continued. “While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had no comment when reached by Fox News. Buckingham Palace also didn’t immediately respond to Fox News when asked if the queen had any plans to hold a meeting with the couple.
According to Bullen, palace aides wanted to submit a statement much sooner to squash the media spectacle that came from the explosive tell-all. However, it was Queen Elizabeth who allegedly waited to release the statement because she wanted to make sure the right words were shared with the world.
Buckingham Palace released a statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II (left) 36 hours after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey aired.
“I thought the queen’s statement was totally brilliant and typical of the queen,” said Bullen. “It was short, to the point and completely clear. While recollections vary, she wanted the world to know that Harry, Meghan and Archie are still loved. But I think the phrase ‘some recollections may vary,’ is the most telling. Because we’ve only heard one side of the story so far.”
“How is the royal family feeling today? I think they are probably heartbroken by the performance of the Sussexes, along with what they had said and done,” Bullen continued. “I think they are probably dismayed to hear that the Sussexes were treated so badly not just by family members, but also by employees of The Firm. And I think they will be angry, particularly at Harry for speaking for his father and brother, saying that both his father and brother are trapped in this institution.”
Bullen said that even though Buckingham Palace already responded to the allegations made in the interview, he suspects that emotions are still running high among family members.
“I think there are so many emotions going on about how they feel as a family,” he explained. “If one of your family members goes on television and airs the dirty laundry, there’s no doubt you will get angry. It’s also very damaging to the Windsor brand. It would be very damaging to any business.”
American actress Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Britain’s Prince Harry in May 2018.
“What’s especially shocking is the fact that William, Kate and Harry have created a foundation based purely on mental health called Heads Together,” he shared. “How can William and Kate be seen as running that charity effectively when their sister-in-law claimed she wanted to kill herself and both the family and palace did nothing about it?”
Markle, who is biracial, told Winfrey, 67, on Sunday that she was so isolated and miserable as a working member of the royal family that she had suicidal thoughts. The Duchess of Sussex, 39, also said that Prince Harry, 36, told her that a member of the royal family had expressed “concerns” about the color of her baby’s skin before the birth of their son, Archie.
Later off-camera, Harry clarified to Winfrey that his grandparents, the queen and her husband Prince Philip, were not the ones who questioned Archie’s skin tone.
Harry told Winfrey the royal family cut him off financially at the start of 2020 after announcing plans to step back from his roles. But he was able to afford security for his family because of the money his late mother Princess Diana left behind.
Prince Harry said he was able to afford security for his family because of the money his late mother Princess Diana left behind.
(AP Photo/Jim Bourdier)
He said his relationship with Charles has been impacted. He even noted that the 72-year-old had stopped taking his phone calls.
“There is a lot to work through there,” Harry said about his relationship with his father. “I feel really let down. He’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like. And Archie is his grandson. I will always love him, but there is a lot of hurt that has happened.”
Harry also acknowledged that he does not have a close relationship presently with his brother William, 38, who is heir to the throne after Charles. He disputed rumors that he intentionally blindsided the queen with his decision to split. He suspected the rumors came from the institution.
“I’ve never blindsided my grandmother,” Harry said. “I have too much respect for her.”
Meghan Markle spoke favorably to Oprah Winfrey about Queen Elizabeth II.
Bullen said it will take time for the palace to recover from the interview, which has been viewed by nearly 50 million people worldwide.
“The Oprah interview was the most explosive royal interview in my lifetime,” he said. “I think it’s definitely bigger than Princess Diana’s Panorama interview 25, 26 years ago. In that interview, Diana really only had her target set on the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles.
“But in this interview, Harry and Meghan targeted everyone. And as much as they said they were not implicating the queen in any of this, it’s just not true because she is the head of the institution. They kept calling it ‘The Firm’ and she is the CEO of The Firm. So what does that say about her?”
After Harry and Markle married in May 2018 at Windsor Castle, the royal family seemed to welcome the Duchess of Sussex. The pair were seen as providing a fresh young face for the monarchy of an increasingly multicultural nation.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex currently reside in California with their son Archie.
It didn’t take long for the fairytale to unravel.
The couple stepped away from royal duties last year and eventually settled in California, saying they wanted to escape racist coverage and unwanted intrusions on their privacy by the British media.
During the interview, the duke and duchess shared they are expecting a girl due this summer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.