British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday expressed his ’highest admiration’ for Queen Elizabeth II after an explosive interview by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday expressed his ’highest admiration’ for Queen Elizabeth II after an explosive interview by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.

UK PM expresses 'highest admiration' for queen after Harry-Meghan interview

By AFP Time of article published Mar 8, 2021

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London - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday expressed his "highest admiration" for Queen Elizabeth II after an explosive interview by her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.

"I've always had the highest admiration for the queen and the unifying role she plays in our country and across the Commonwealth," Johnson told reporters, declining to comment further when asked about Meghan's comments on racism and mental anguish.

The two-hour sit-down with Oprah Winfrey by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was the most startling since Harry's late mother Princess Diana made her own bombshell revelations in 1995, and triggered similar questions about the ability of Queen Elizabeth II's family to weather the storm.

Harry described feeling "really let down" by his father Prince Charles, who had stopped taking his phone calls for a time. Both Charles - the queen's heir - and Harry's elder brother William were "trapped" by the conventions of the monarchy.

"They don't get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that," Harry said in the interview broadcast on CBS Sunday night, explaining the couple's dramatic exit from royal life last year, which has now seen them stripped by the queen of their honorary titles and patronages.

Meghan, a mixed-race former television actress, described herself as "naively" unprepared for life in the pressure cooker of the royal family.

But she said she was denied help for a mental health crisis, targeted by lies in an incident involving her sister-in-law, and there was even official concern about the skin colour of her unborn son.

"I... just didn't want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought," she told Winfrey, describing the impact of vitriol from hostile tabloids in Britain and social media.

Asked if she had had suicidal thoughts while pregnant with son Archie, Meghan replied: "Yes. This was very, very clear."

Meghan said she ultimately reached out to one of Princess Diana's best friends for support. "Who else could understand what it's actually like on the inside?"

Meghan, 39, also told of "concerns" about "how dark" Archie's skin would be, saying Harry revealed to her conversations over their baby's appearance, as well as the security he would be entitled to, ahead of his birth on May 6, 2019.

The couple both declined to name the royal involved but Winfrey said Monday that Harry told her the queen, 94, and her 99-year-old husband, Prince Philip were not part of the conversations.

The revelations have triggered a storm of reaction on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly the explosive claims about racism, opening up a wider debate about prejudice in British society.

Harry himself has faced accusations of using a racist slur against a former military colleague, and of wearing a Nazi soldier's uniform at a fancy dress party.

He has said Meghan had made him confront the issue and since vowed to tackle institutional racism. The couple have been outspoken supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Anti-monarchy group Republic said the revelations showed the institution was "rotten to the core" and facing "its worst crisis since the abdication in 1936", referring to Edward VIII's departure.

Meghan won wide-ranging support, including from tennis ace Serena Williams and Bernice King, daughter of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Amid political calls for a full investigation, Johnson did not watch the interview but believes there is "no place in society for racism", his spokesman told reporters.

Meghan has been portrayed in some British newspapers as headstrong, calculating and spoiled, and the couple reckless and selfish for quitting royal life.

Criticism has mounted with Prince Philip currently in hospital, and Buckingham Palace last week hitting back with allegations that Meghan had bullied household staff.

The interview on CBS was a settling of scores, royal author Robert Hardman said the revelations went beyond even expectations.

"Clearly the couple possibly were hoping to clear the air and set the record straight, but in doing so they've obviously invited a whole new set of questions," he told AFP.

In Australia, The Daily Telegraph's TV editor Holly Byrnes said the royals had "learned nothing since Diana died and may well die because of it".

Chris Ship, royal editor at ITV, which airs the interview in Britain on Monday night, said the couple "effectively loaded up a B-52 bomber, flew it over Buckingham Palace and then unloaded their arsenal right above it, bomb by heavily-loaded bomb".

The talk of racism and suicide would prompt further questions, and their criticisms would likely go to the very top, he added.

Harry, 36, said the pair, who have secured lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify, had to find a way to make money as "my family literally cut me off financially."

"I'm sad that what's happened has happened, but... we did everything that we could to make it work," he said.

In one happier revelation, the couple disclosed the gender of their second baby, due later this year. "It's a girl!" Harry and Meghan chimed in tandem.

But it was a rare light-hearted moment.

Meghan flatly denied reports -- feasted on by the gossip press -- that she made Prince William's wife Kate cry before her wedding to Harry, saying the reality was the opposite.

But despite Kate apologising, the rumour was allowed to persist, she added, calling the claims "the beginning of a real character assassination" and "a turning point" in her relations with the royal family.

"I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family."

The May 2018 wedding in front of Winfrey and other VIP guests, in fact, was a "spectacle for the world", Meghan revealed.

But the couple had actually got privately married three days earlier, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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