Prince Edward admits sadness over Harry and Meghan rift
Prince Edward today admitted his sadness about the months of truth bombs being dropped by Harry and Meghan in LA but wouldn’t expand further adding: ‘I stay way out of it. It’s much the safest place to be’.
The Earl of Wessex also dodged what he thought of the Sussexes naming their daughter Lilibet after the Queen in an interview on what would have been his father Prince Philip‘s 100th birthday.
When asked about the baby’s ‘meaningful name’ Edward said: ‘Well, we just wish them all happiness. That’s fantastic news and absolutely, I hope they are very happy’.
The Queen’s youngest son was asked about how the Royal Family has coped with a ‘difficult few months’, especially Harry and Meghan’s flurry of US interviews where they have repeatedly taken potshots at his British family, including accusing them of racism.
In an interview with CNN he said: ‘It’s difficult for everyone but that’s families for you’.
Edward was also asked how he viewed that ‘very public’ row in a sit-down with the BBC and replied: ‘It’s very sad’ before adding: ‘I stay way out of it. It’s much the safest place to be’.
Prince Edward ha given interviews on what would have been the 100th borthday of his father Prince Philip, who died this year, and admitted the row with Harry and Meghan is ‘very sad’
The Duke of Wessex says it is ‘best’ to stay out of the row with the Sussexes, who accused the Royal Family of racism and ignoring their plea for help when Meghan said she was suicidal while pregnant
He added: ‘We’ve all had that same spotlight shone on our lives. We’ve all been subjected to massive intrusion and all the rest of it. We all had to deal with it in different ways’.
When asked if he was sad he said: ‘Of course, you know. I mean it’s…There are all sorts of issues and circumstances there but we’ve all been there’ – but dodged what he thought about the choice of name Lilibet.
In a wide-ranging interview Edward spoke about how ‘difficult’ his parents had found shielding at Windsor Castle during lockdown, and then his father’s funeral on April 17.
He said: ”It was an experience that so many other families have had to go through during this past year or 18 months and so in that sense, it was particularly poignant.
‘There are an awful lot of people who haven’t been able to express the respect that they would like to have done. I think many people would have liked to have been there to support the Queen.’
Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, are among the senior royals taking a more active role in supporting the Queen, who at 95 has also returned to her duties and is ‘actually doing remarkably well’ despite her loss.
He told CNN: ‘I think that it was a fantastic partnership, but over the last couple of weeks, life has got considerably busier. Things are beginning to open up more, there are more activities so weirdly that sort of fills any particular void’.
Her Majesty will meet US President Joe Biden on Sunday after the G7 summit in Cornwall.
Edward said the contents of the discussions will be kept private, before adding: ‘People really do respect the fact that this is a genuinely private, off-the-record conversation so they really can talk about things and get to the heart of things and in a very genuine fashion, because they know it’s not going to come out.’
He added: ‘We’ve all, as a family, had very close links with America. We spent or we used to, not so much now, but we used to spend a lot of time going backwards and forwards, maintaining those links, the connections, the heritage … (we’ve) been through a lot together. And that’s what really good friendship is about.’
Edward’s spoke out as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched an unprecedented legal attack on the BBC yesterday after the corporation claimed the couple did not ask the Queen if they could name their daughter Lilibet.
In an extraordinary escalation of their war on the UK media, Harry and Meghan instructed lawyers to contest comments from the BBC’s ‘palace source’.
The couple said it was ‘false and defamatory’ to suggest the monarch had ‘never been asked’ if they could use her nickname and said the claim should not be repeated.
The BBC, although not commenting publicly, appeared last night to be standing by its story, which was still up on its website and the segment ran in most of its main news bulletins.
It is not clear whether the couple intend to take the matter to court, as they have done twice previously in cases against the media.
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment, but is notably not denying the BBC’s story that Her Majesty ‘was never asked’ about the couple appropriating her pet name.
One well-placed insider told the Daily Mail that the couple’s decision to use Lilibet was ‘a classic example of their conviction that everything they do is right but deliberately misconstrued by the forces out to get them – and yet totally tone-deaf to the realities of the situation’.
The row was triggered yesterday morning on Radio 4’s Today programme, when royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said he had been told by a ‘palace source’ that the Queen had not been asked by the couple about naming their daughter Lilibet.
In a report, which was backed up by a longer story on the BBC’s website, he said the source strongly disputed reports that Harry and Meghan had spoken to the Queen before the birth.
Mr Dymond said his ‘good palace source’ was ‘absolutely adamant’ the Queen had ‘never’ been consulted. But his report also highlighted the fact that a ‘source close to the Sussexes’ had told the BBC directly that Harry had spoken to the Queen ‘before the birth’ and ‘would have mentioned the name’.
Despite it being 1am on the West Coast of the US, Harry and Meghan’s California-based PR team briefed chosen media.
The couple’s biographer Omid Scobie tweeted: ‘Those close to Prince Harry confirm that he spoke to close family before the announcement so perhaps this report highlights just how far removed aides within the institution (who learned of the baby news alongside the rest of the world) now are from the Sussexes’ private matters.’
Shortly afterwards, the couple issued an on-the-record denial, saying: ‘The duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement [of Lilibet’s name on Sunday], in fact his grandmother was the first family member he called. During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour.
‘Had she not been supportive, they would not have used it.’
Critics seized on the words ‘shared their hope’, saying it did not confirm that the Queen had a choice in the matter, either being formally consulted or asked for her blessing. And the Sussex PR team did not clarify when they informed the Queen – before or after the birth.
The denial was followed up by a legal warning to the media from the couple’s London-based firm of solicitors, Schillings, which accused the BBC of libel.
It described the story on the BBC’s website as ‘false and defamatory’, adding that ‘the allegations within it should not be repeated’.
The extraordinary row exploded after days of claim and counter-claim over whether the Queen had been consulted or just informed of her new great-granddaughter’s name and when.
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born on Friday in Santa Barbara, California.