Royal experts have blasted Harry’s ‘delusional’ assertions that he is ‘protecting’ the Queen and trying to make sure she has ‘the right people around her’ after he and Meghan quit royal duties, moved to California and plunged the Royal Family into crisis.
The duke’s remarks were also branded a ‘gross insult’ to Charles and William as NBC’s Today show aired an excerpt of their interview with the prince ahead of its full broadcast at midday today – just 24 hours before the elderly monarch’s 96th birthday.
Harry and Meghan had visited the Queen for supposed ‘olive branch’ talks at Windsor Castle and met with Charles for just 15 minutes before flying out to Holland for the Invictus Games on what is the couple’s first public appearance in Europe together in two years.
After the ‘peace’ summit, it was then reported that the Sussexes had been invited to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, in what was widely interpreted as a sign that tensions had cooled somewhat.
But speaking to the Today show about his meeting with the Queen, the duke said: ‘Being with her it was great, it was just so nice to see her, she’s on great form. She’s always got a great sense of humour with me and I’m just making sure that she’s protected and got the right people around her. Both Meghan and I had tea with her, so it was really nice to catch up with her.’
Royal experts claimed that Harry’s astonishing remark was a ‘gross insult’ to Charles and William, with both of whom he has a deeply strained relationship, and evidence that the duke ‘doesn’t deserve to attend the Jubilee celebrations and be on the Balcony’. Others warned that Harry’s life risked becoming ‘totally distorted’ as he ‘becomes a Kardashian-type’.
It comes after he and Meghan skipped Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey last month over ‘security concerns’ and after the couple made a string of damaging claims, including of racism, against the Royal Family in their Oprah sit-down.
The excerpt is also likely to have fuelled further fears in Buckingham Palace that the duke could drop more ‘truth-bombs’ in his new interview.
Royal correspondent Robert Jobson tweeted: ‘Prince Harry says on US TV he is making sure the Queen is ‘protected and has the right people around her’. How so? I think you’ll find that Prince Charles and Her Majesty’s children and William are DOING just that and supporting the Queen, with actions – and not just words.’
Angela Levin, who wrote the book Harry: Conversations with the Prince, claimed: ‘Harry’s comment on US TV about him checking the Queen is protected is a gross insult to Prince Charles and William. He’s underlined even more that he doesn’t deserve to attend the Jubilee celebrations and be on the Balcony’.
And former Conservative MP David Mellor told GB News: ‘On came the news about Harry saying his granny needs to be protected and I fell about. This was a real comic turn. The most best-paid comedian couldn’t be funnier than that. What is the man on? Or rather what is he off?
‘I mean, you just think to yourself, he is really showing signs. But I think what it is, his life is totally distorted now by becoming a Kardashian-type figure, where he’s surrounded by people who want to photograph him because they’re paying him lots of money for the privilege of filming him, and the Queen becomes important to him only because he has to see the Queen for his credibility on Netflix.
Prince Harry is pictured in an excerpt of his upcoming interview with NBC’s Today show
Meghan, Harry and the Queen at the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, June 26, 2018
Prince Harry is pictured with NBC Today’s Hoda Kotb at the 2022 Invictus Games
Hoda Kobt places her arm on Prince Harry’s shoulder during their chat at the Invictus Games in The Hague
Royal experts Angela Levin (left) and Robert Jobson (right) have blasted Harry’s assertions that he is ‘protecting’ the Queen
Former Conservative MP David Mellor told GB News: ‘This was a real comic turn. The most best-paid comedian couldn’t be funnier than that. What is the man on? Or rather what is he off? I mean, you just think to yourself, he is really showing signs’
Royal aides will be concerned about details from a private meeting being divulged, which come on top of fears over what could be contained in his forthcoming memoirs and Netflix documenting his every move at the Games.
‘I have no reason to believe – and, in fact, people say the Queen is still as sharp as a tack, I mean physically, obviously when you’re 95 you and I will probably look a little bit sad about getting around, but basically she’s bright – do you imagine for a single solitary moment she didn’t say to him: ‘Harry, what’s going on, why are you out there in California. Why have you thrown over the family business?”
Morning Show journalist Peter Ford angrily called the duke ‘delusional’, adding: ‘Prince Harry says he’s making sure The Queen is ‘protected & has ‘the right people around her’! Yet he was nowhere to be seen at Prince Philip’s memorial. He was busy talking to Oprah when Prince Philip was on his death bed! He’s delusional.’
The duke has already been accused in recent days of using his platform at the Games to promote BetterUp, the California mental health start-up for whom he is ‘chief impact officer’ – after the two announced a partnership.
‘Hoda Kotb sat down with Prince Harry to talk about the Invictus Game, his surprise visit with the Queen, and lie with his wife Meghan Markle,’ the Today show wrote on Twitter, while also sharing an image of Kotb, Harry, and one of the veterans taking part in the sporting event.
Teasing the interview, Kotb’s co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin added that the Duke of Sussex will also discuss fatherhood and life with his and Meghan’s two children, Archie, two, and 10-month-old Lilibet.
Meghan will likely not appear in the Today show interview; she has already left the Netherlands and returned home to California in order to reunite with Archie and Lilibet, having confessed to a military veteran at the Invictus Games that she was missing her two children after being separated from them for the longest time since they were born.
Meanwhile, Harry played table tennis and virtual golf as his visit to the Games continued on Tuesday.
Harry was not accompanied in the interview by Meghan, who was in the Netherlands with him over the weekend but has since returned to California to be with their two young children
The Queen, Meghan and Harry on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on the centenary of the RAF, July 10, 2018
The interview between Kotb and Harry took place in the Netherlands, where the duke is hosting the Invictus Games
The Duke of Sussex plays table tennis during day four of the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark in The Hague, April 19, 2022
The Queen has yet to meet her great-granddaughter Lilibet (right), who was born in California in June last year, and she has not seen Archie (left) since he was an infant
Harry and Meghan chose not to attend Prince Philip’s memorial service last month amid the Duke of Sussex’s ongoing battle with the UK Home Office about his security protection
The Duke was seen walking through a backstage area at the Invictus Games, following what was the first time the couple had been seen together publicly on this side of the Atlantic for two years.
Harry was also spotted playing table tennis with Tokyo Paralympics table tennis silver medalist Thomas Schmidberger, gold medalist Valentin Baus and two time Paralympic Competitor Sandra Mikolaschek.
Flanked by his ever-present bodyguard – former US Secret Service agent Christopher Sanchez – Harry walked through the crowds at the Zuiderpark to a tent where visitors can try their luck on a virtual golf course.
He was handed a seven iron and guided by an instructor was shown how to correctly hold the club.
The Prince jokingly warned people to stand back as he took a swing – and drove his ball a distance of 54ft. The crowd cheered when the screen showed his ball bouncing on to the virtual green.
His on-air sit-down marks the latest in a handful of media interviews that he has done since he and Meghan arrived in The Hague on Friday for the start of this year’s Invictus Games.
Prince Harry accompanied by staff and bodyguards at the Invictus Games over the weekend
Meghan getting into a Land Rover Defender at the Invictus Games with bodyguard Christopher Sanchez
Dutch Royal Protection sit in their car. Having been given VVIP status, Harry does not have to pay for the Dutch royal police to provide protection
On Monday, the father-of-two broke his silence about the couple’s meeting with the Queen while speaking to the BBC, saying that it was ‘great to see her’ and adding that she ‘would have loved’ to have attended the Invictus Games alongside him.
Harry, who founded the event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women in 2014, said the 96-year-old monarch ‘had plenty of messages for Team UK’ when he met her at Windsor Castle last week.
He added he had passed these onto the team, telling the broadcaster: ‘So, it was great to see her and I’m sure she would love to be here if she could.’
There were reports Harry and Meghan had promised the Queen she would meet her great-grandchildren Archie and Lilibet ‘in the near future’ during the ‘very cordial’ secret meeting on Thursday.
According to The Mirror, senior royal sources described the meeting as ‘very cordial’ and ‘incredibly warm and good natured’.
One royal biographer has claimed the meeting was a way for Prince Harry to ‘slowly starting to rebuild some bridges’ with his father Prince Charles.
Harry and Meghan reportedly also opened the door to a return from their $14.5 million mansion in California for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and told her of their plans to visit again so she can spend time with their children.
While the Queen had the opportunity to meet Archie – who was born while Meghan and Harry were still living in the UK and serving as senior working royals – she has not yet met her great-granddaughter Lilibet, who is named after her.
Meghan gave birth to Lilibet Diana in June of last year at a hospital near the couple’s Montecito home and they have yet to bring their daughter over to the UK.
Indeed, the couple’s brief trip to the UK last week marked the first time that Meghan has returned to Britain since she and Harry sensationally quit the royal family in March 2020 – a move that has become widely known as ‘Megxit’.
Prince Harry has made just a handful of visits to the UK since the couple relocated to California in the wake of Megxit but he chose not to attend Prince Philip’s memorial service, which took place last month – just over two weeks before the Sussexes made their trip to see the Queen.
His decision to skip the emotional event was met with severe criticism from royal insiders, with Prince Philip’s former protection officer describing Harry’s absence as ‘pathetic’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remained at their mansion in Montecito while the rest of the royal family, including the Queen despite recent health issues, gathered in London for the poignant event.
Harry’s absence at the event came amid an ongoing battle about his security; he is currently pursuing a legal challenge against the Home Office in the UK after being told he would no longer be given the ‘same degree’ of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.
It is unclear exactly what agreement was reached with regards to security before Meghan and Harry returned to the UK last week.
However, reports about their meeting with the Queen suggest that the couple is open to attending the Monarch’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
Insiders claim that they have been invited to appear at several family events during the multi-day event, including the traditional balcony appearance and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s to celebrate the monarch’s 70 years on the throne.
The interview will also see Harry opening up about the Invictus Games; the Today show shared an image of the Duke posing alongside Kotb and one of the US veterans taking part
Kotb also posted a behind-the-scenes snap on her social media accounts, while encouraging her followers to tune in to Wednesday’s broadcast
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the sitting volleyball section at the Invictus Games in The Hague, April 17, 2022
As well as doing several interviews during his time at the Games, Harry has also been followed by a crew of cameramen from Netflix, which is making a documentary about the sporting event as part of the Sussexes reported multi-million pound deal with the streaming giant.
Harry’s interview with Kotb is thought to mark the first time that the pair have spoken on-air, although Kotb did interview Oprah Winfrey last year in the wake of her sit-down with the Sussexes.
Winfrey, 68, spoke with Kotb in May 2021 – just hours after Harry publicly aired more damaging allegations about his family in an Apple TV+ series about mental health.
During the interview, the TV mogul defended Harry and Meghan’s public bashing of the royal family, insisting that the Sussexes ‘deserve’ to ‘not be intruded and invaded upon’ – but claiming that this shouldn’t mean they are unable to speak out about their experiences.
‘You know, I ask for privacy, and I’m talking all the time,’ she said.
‘So I think being able to have a life that you are not intruded upon by photographers, or people flying overhead, or invading your life, is what every person wants and deserves — to not to be intruded and invaded upon.
‘That’s what people are missing. Privacy doesn’t mean silence.’
Her public defence of the couple came just hours after Harry launched fresh attacks on his family in their new five-part mental health series, which sees the Duke accusing his father Prince Charles of making him ‘suffer’ as a child and claiming that the royals tried to ‘bully him into silence’.
Harry also alleged that the royal family tried to ‘trap’ him and Meghan, claiming that the couple faced ‘total silence, total neglect’ when they asked The Firm for help.