The Guardian

Royal rum­ble: both sides of rift to ap­pear on TV hours apart

- Caro­line Davies UK News · Royals · Celebrities · Commonwealth of Nations · Meghan, Duchess of Sussex · Elizabeth II · Queen · United Kingdom · North America · United States of America · Charles, Prince of Wales · Kate Middleton · Cambridge · Oprah Winfrey · The Oprah Winfrey Show · The Queen · BBC One · Estonia · Anita Rani · Prince Harry of Wales · City of Westminster · Westminster Abbey Museum · Windsor Castle · Commonwealth of England

On the last Com­mon­wealth Day, the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex ap­peared in pub­lic with the Queen and other se­nior roy­als for a fi­nal time be­fore they departed the UK for North Amer­ica.

One year on, and the frac­tur­ing of the royal fam­ily is clearly marked as the Queen, Prince of Wales and Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge ap­pear in a spe­cial tele­vised broad­cast to cel­e­brate the Com­mon­wealth, while hours later the Sus­sexes ap­pear on TV in the US for an “in­ti­mate” and “wide-rang­ing” in­ter­view with Oprah Win­frey about their ex­pe­ri­ence of leav­ing the royal fold.

The Queen will share her an­nual au­dio mes­sage on BBC One on Sun­day 7 March, af­ter the an­nual Com­mon­wealth Day ser­vice at West­min­ster Abbey was can­celled for the first time in half a cen­tury due to the Covid-19 pan­demic. Her de­ci­sion to share her mes­sage, pre-recorded at Wind­sor Cas­tle, dur­ing the BBC’s A Cel­e­bra­tion for Com­mon­wealth Day, means it will be seen by mil­lions ahead of the Oprah 90-minute spe­cial on CBS at 8pm EST – at about 1am on Mon­day 8 March.

Other se­nior roy­als will sup­port the Queen in the show, hosted by Anita Rani, shar­ing their per­spec­tives on the im­por­tance of Bri­tain’s Com­mon­wealth links. CBS an­nounced its royal ex­clu­sive last week. The news was swiftly fol­lowed by the an­nounce­ment that, fol­low­ing a 12-month re­view, the Sus­sexes had told the Queen they would not be re­turn­ing to the UK as work­ing roy­als.

The cou­ple, who had ini­tially hoped to cre­ate a half-in, half-out, self­funded, pro­gres­sive royal role, were forced to re­lin­quish their royal pa­tron­ages by a “sad­dened” Queen, who said it was not pos­si­ble to con­tinue with the roles. These in­clude Harry’s hon­orary mil­i­tary ti­tles, which will have been a bit­ter blow to him, and their po­si­tions as pres­i­dent and vice-pres­i­dent of the Queen’s Com­mon­wealth Trust.

In their state­ment, Harry and Meghan said: “We can all live a life of ser­vice. Ser­vice is uni­ver­sal,” which prompted ac­cu­sa­tions they were be­ing dis­re­spect­ful to the Queen. The Com­mon­wealth Day ser­vice, usu­ally at­tended by about 2,000 peo­ple, is one of the high­lights of the Queen’s diary. It was due to be held on Mon­day 8 March, as it has been ev­ery year since 1972.

The de­ci­sion to re­place it with a pro­gramme on 7 March was said to have been made at the start of Fe­bru­ary, be­fore the Oprah in­ter­view was an­nounced, a West­min­ster Abbey spokesper­son said.

The Oprah in­ter­view will fo­cus on Meghan, who is ex­pect­ing the cou­ple’s sec­ond child and will dis­cuss “step­ping into life as a royal, mar­riage, moth­er­hood … [and] how she is han­dling life un­der in­tense pub­lic pres­sure”, ac­cord­ing to CBS. Meghan will later be joined by Harry to talk about their move to the US and their fu­ture plans.

 ??  ?? Harry and Meghan ar­riv­ing at the Com­mon­wealth Day ser­vice last year
Harry and Meghan ar­riv­ing at the Com­mon­wealth Day ser­vice last year

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