remained silent Tuesday morning as the world reacted to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Prince Charles was asked for his thoughts during a visit to a popup COVID-19 vaccination site in London, but did not respond to the question as criticism over the royal family’s handling of race and mental health exploded following Prince Harry and Meghan’s allegations.
As for the queen, the monarch has reportedly been in crisis meetings over how to address the interview.
“There’s not going to be a knee-jerk reaction from Buckingham Palace to this,” said Roya Nikkhah, a royal correspondent for The Sunday Times. “The queen, Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, other senior royals are hunkering down now, they’re discussing with aides how best to respond. They want to take their time.”
Nikkhah, who has covered the royal family for over a decade, said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” that the interview was “certainly a crisis” for the British monarchy.
“That interview, and I’ve watched it twice now, has thrown out a lot more questions than answers,” she said.
Damning claims from the interview include the Duchess of Sussex, then pregnant with, reportedly approaching the palace’s HR department with suicidal thoughts asking for mental health treatment, only to be turned away for fear of the image it would project.
“I said that I’ve never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere,” Meghan told Winfrey. “And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
The couple said a member of the royal family commented on the race of their then-unborn son, having “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
They also said race played a factor in how Meghan was treated by the Palace institution and the U.K. press.
“I think the allegations and claims and statements that Harry and Meghan have made paint a picture of a royal family with some areas that are difficult — very difficult things to address,” Nikkhah said.
When asked who had the conversation regarding their son’s skin color, both Harry and Meghan declined to name names. However, the prince told Winfrey it had, who is currently hospitalized at age 99.
Nikkhah said the palace would likely not provide specifics on the subject, either.
“I don’t think that will form part of Buckingham Palace’s response,” she said. “I think it will be wider themes that have emerged from that interview…and possibly set the record straight on a number of things.”
She added however it was a significant allegation that the palace would “want to take extremely seriously.”
Harry’s father, who only looked at the reporter who asked him about the interview before walking away, is “devastated” by his son’s statements to Winfrey, Nikkhah said.
“Those comments, no doubt, I think will change the nature of Harry’s relationship with the Prince of Wales, his father, and the rest of the family,” she said.
And while both Harry and Meghan appeared careful to only speak positively of Queen Elizabeth during the two-hour program, Nikkhah said Harry’s comments inshown on “CBS This Morning” Monday put her “in the firing range as well.”
In the clip, Harry tells Winfrey he and Meghan had been invited to stay with the queen at her Sandringham Estate. However, when they arrived in London, Harry was informed by his secretary that the queen’s schedule was full, according to her own personal aide.
Moreover, Nikkhah said the criticism of the royal family in general would have also reflected poorly on the monarch.
“When you make these kinds of statements about the royal family, the queen is head of that family, you’re taking potshots at the queen as well,” she said.
Despite the palace’s current silence, viewers in the U.K. have not been shy about forming opinions on the interview — and according to Nikkhah, it is “proving extremely divisive.”
“I’ve just seen the results of a poll that’s just come out here, which shows that a lot of young people here actually support Harry and Meghan doing that interview,” she said. “And the older people are firmly, squarely behind the monarchy now. “