Did the Sussexes announce the Oprah interview to fast-track the one-year review?

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (C) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) stand with Canada's High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, Janice Charette, as they leave after their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitalit

There are a million royal-commentary pieces on the formal Sussexit, and Queen Elizabeth stripping the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of all of their royal patronages. Again, for those of us paying attention for the past year, it was clear that the Queen was always going to punish Harry and Meghan this way, which is one of the few punitive options the Queen has left. It was also clear that Harry and Meghan wanted to keep those patronages and let it be known that they would love to keep working for all of the charities and organizations, but they were being forced out. So all that’s left is the analysis of how things went down, which is why all of those fussy royal commentators get paid the big bucks, I guess. I’m going to try to limit how many “reaction” pieces I cover, which is why I’m lumping Chris Ship and Robert Lacey together:

Chris Ship on the negotiations: Throughout the talks, Harry and Meghan’s position was clear. Despite quitting their roles as senior working royals in March 2020, they wanted to maintain their connections to all the charities and organisations they’d worked with. Those connections included the Royal patronages the Queen had passed to them – like the Rugby Football Union and the National Theatre – and the honorary military appointments Harry held – like Captain General of the Royal Marines. Their view? That they could still contribute in a meaningful way, despite moving their lives to California.

Chris Ship on the Oprah interview: The Sussexes had planned to have the “divorce” settlement signed and sealed before announcing the Oprah news. And given Buckingham Palace were not told about Oprah in advance, the opposing sides had to complete negotiations this week in a more tense atmosphere than they’d both anticipated.

Chris Ship on public service: What upset the Sussexes the most, was a line in the middle of the pre-prepared Palace statement: “In stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.” The Palace says that is a statement of fact: Harry and Meghan chose to step away and therefore public service – in the Royal family sense – was simply no longer possible. But over at Sussex headquarters, they hit the roof and prepared their own advance statement in response. Harry and Meghan believe they are committed to public service but they simply want to do it from outside the Royal Family and from outside the UK.

Robert Lacey on what happened: “We had this date previous to today where the Queen was going to review what the position of the Sussexes would be. If you are looking at a half-hearted explanation of what has happened today, they jumped before they were pushed. They have said that they are going to go their own way now but it is very obvious. The Queen’s statement from Buckingham Palace says she has spoken with Harry, he has told her what they would like to do and she now agrees with that.”

The royal historian Robert Lacey said: Speaking to The Times, he described the Sussexes’ statement as “a definite pushback at the Palace”, but went on to say that the Palace’s statement appeared to have been rushed. “The implication is that the only proper service for Harry and Meghan is royal service,” Lacey said. “I am sure the Queen herself would not have said something like that, which is actually rather demeaning to her grandson.”

[From The Daily Express, ITV and News.com.au]

Ship’s comment about the Sussexes hoping to complete the “divorce” before the Oprah interview is interesting. I’ve been wondering what lit a fire under the palace’s bum last week, because it seemed like before the Sussex pregnancy and the Oprah interview were announced, the palace was fine with slow-walking the one-year review. The Palace seemed to go above and beyond to make the final Sussexit decision to be a direct result of the fact that the Sussexes’ were expecting a child AND they were going to talk to Oprah. But maybe Ship is right and the Sussexes used the Oprah interview to finally get Petty Betty to make a final decision. I really don’t know.

As for what Lacey says about how the Queen would never demean her grandson… lol. Buckingham Palace absolutely meant to demean Harry and Meghan. The palace wanted to demean them and act like H&M were flitting off to LA because they didn’t want to work. Meanwhile the Top CEO literally has to be bribed with thousands of dollars worth of clothes and jewelry to do one event a month.

HRH Sussexes Visit -  Tuesday 7 January  -  Canada House, London

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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40 Responses to “Did the Sussexes announce the Oprah interview to fast-track the one-year review?”

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  1. OriginalLala says:

    The griping about what constitute service is getting ridiculous – the BRF thinking they are gatekeepers of service is just nonsense. The Sussex’s statement is true, anyone can live a life of service, anywhere, with any amounts of money/fame/etc, you don’t’ need palaces, royal jewels, taxpayer money, or even celebrity status to do good.

    • GrnieWnie says:

      yup, surely the palace realizes that gatekeeping public service is going to be a hard sell. Someone tell me what the function of a politician is, then. Or a civil servant. Or an effing teacher. Or an NPO. Or even just the ethos of public service, which many would consider critical to a functioning liberal democracy. You tell us what that is, British monarchy, since you monopolize public service. No one else can truly serve but you. Do enlighten us.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      What’s truly laughable is the idea what the Royals do is really a “public service” at all. Nevermind the questions over how effective their Royal brand of service is, how many people get tens of millions of dollars a year to perform said service?

      If it was decided tomorrow that the Windsors would never receive another cent of public money, would they still be such… dedicated public “servants” going forward? Or would they take the nearly billion dollars that’s allegedly been squirreled away and hidden from tax collectors over the years and peace out before anyone can say “boo”?

      • UptownGirl says:

        That would be a sight to see as they would pack up all that they could to leave. I am certain the younger ones would certainly split, fearful of having to be amongst commoners, oh the thought!

      • Isabella says:

        That is what’s odd. Harry and Meghan no longer have financial incentives to help their patrons and were yet willing to do it. And they are being accused of laziness.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      That’s right. One does not need a 👑 to be of service.

  2. MissMarierose says:

    I really wonder how much the Queen is really in charge of what’s going on over there. Is she truly involved and having the last word? Or is she a 96 year old woman who simply goes along with whatever courtiers think she should do?

    • Sunday says:

      I don’t want to age shame; I know there are some 95 year olds that are still sharp (although that unfortunately has not been my personal experience), but I really don’t think the queen is dictating anything except what she wants for tea and what color outfit she’d like to wear.

      The Queen has always been stuck in her own rigid bubble, and that would only get more pronounced as she ages. I wouldn’t even put her in the grammatically-questionable-and-ideologically-problematic-facebook-comments category of grandmas, let alone singularly leading palace affairs with a clear mind and grasp of the modern world. She can recite a speech, cut a ribbon, and make small talk, but her mind and sensibilities are firmly stuck in like, 1975 at best.

      • MissMarierose says:

        That’s kinda where I’m at, just because I know so many 70+ people who simply find it easier to go with the flow than to mentally challenge themselves to do something new.
        And when you consider the fact that the POW is over 70 as well, whatever he might consider “modern” is also stuck in the 70s or 80s, at best.

    • Mac says:

      IDK, Charles could have intervened at any point to stop the nastiness. They are so tone deaf and clueless they probably think they have the upper hand.

      • Bren says:

        Charles indirectly benefited from the nastiness of the British tabloid’s obsession with Meghan and Harry. The more the media focused on the Sussexes the less time they spent analyzing and criticizing Charles. The vitriol towards Meghan holds more value to him than the bump in the good publicity he got when he walked her down the aisle. That’s why he has never shown more support. He’s a selfish coward who used his son and daughter-in-law as shields.

    • Couch potato says:

      I think she’s done what people have told her her whole life. Churchill and a few other older men was a “strong influence” her first years as a queen. Her old fashioned and rasist mother had her by the ear when it came to social interactions. Her servants fight so loudly in the room next to her she can’t sleep. Does she do what any boss would do and tell them to shut up and gtf out? No, she went to sleep on a couch in the servants quarters instead. She lacks proper education and has no leadership skills. She’s no more than a marionett in the hands of the courtiers.

  3. CC2 says:

    I think they want to end the whole ‘will they, won’t they’ debacle so that the Oprah interview will be the start of a new chapter for them. It suits both their interests-the Queen will look less petty compared to if she strips them after, and the Sussexes because they don’t have anything hanging over their heads when they sit down with O.

    I still don’t believe that this happened because of the interview or even the pregnancy. There were discussions leading up to it and I think at some point, Harry said f it, let’s get this settled once and for all. If anything, the commercial deals were the main thing that got the RF sweating and they wanted to strip them since then

    • UptownGirl says:

      Yes, and I imagine that Harry and Meghan are eager to get on with their lives and to have this review finished is a dream for them. No need to have had it in the first place, it just places TQ, CH and the rest of the RR and family members in the light of how poorly they treated them to begin with.

  4. Sunday says:

    lol. they ‘jumped’ when they bought their home and signed the deals with Spotify and Netflix. The queen and her courtiers were just so delusional that they truly believed holding an honorary title above Harry’s head, military or no, would be enough bait to get him to leave Meghan and Archie behind and return to the royal fold.

    IMO, when the sussexes announced that they’re having another baby, the palace was jolted into reality, and courtiers/the queen reached out to harry to inquire “so, all this is still happening, huh?” The Oprah interview may have been the last straw for the palace, but in no way did the sussexes announce the interview to trigger the review. That ship had long sailed for them, it just took everyone else a while to catch up.

    • Cecilia says:

      I do think it says a lot about the relationship between the sussexes and the rest of the royals that they didn’t even tell the family until right before they did a press release. As for forcing the 1-year review i think they might have. Remember, harry and meghan never wanted that review in the first place and it was becoming a ridiculous thing for the RR to use. I think they wanted it to end completely

  5. Snuffles says:

    I can believe the palace was purposely dragging their feet over the final decision regarding the patronages and honorary titles (the only card they had left).

    And like last time, Harry got fed up with their BS and announced the Oprah interview knowing that would force their hand.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      You make a good point that the patronages and military titles were probably the last card they had to play. It makes me rethink the decision to snub Harry’s request about the Remembrance Day wreath. I just saw it as another petty move, but perhaps the Queen was hoping Harry would come to heel after a taste of what losing his military titles truly means.

    • Carmen-JamRock says:

      Precisely! Its Jan. 2020 all over again in the sense that H&M forced the RF to respond to them after “months and months of discussion” with RF dragging their feet and allowing the BM to run story after story about H wanting to hold on to his Military Hon titles and was thinking abt “returning without Meghan.”

      From the summer of 2020 H&M had been telling their patronages over zoom that theyll be there for them FOR AS LONG AS THEY WERE ABLE TO BE. H said this explicitly to the Rugby Union and together, H&M said similar words to the QCT youths.

      And Tom Bradby said, back in late 2019/early 2020 (cant fully recall; & repeated it when he was promoting his book a few months ago and using H&M for clout) that the Sussexes were prepared to let it all go: he said they told the RF: you want to take the titles, our patronages….do what you have to do.” He said while they didnt wish to cut all ties, if they were forced to do so, they would.

      So H&M had a March 2021 timeline for the reveal of their new life:
      - The O interview (which will see a closing of the curtains on their past and a preview of their future)
      - the start of their podcast series, (which was awaiting Spotify’s launch into more markets; )
      - and the unveiling of their new partnerships and projects, via an updated archewell.

      The H&M reveal was awaiting the RF’s response to H&M’s official (& private) communication to them that they were moving forward. When the RF botched it with that asinine comment abt what constitutes public service, with a jab at H&M that they couldnt be of service unless they were in the RF, YE GADS! that absolutely required pushback from H&M!!!

      So here we are.

      PS: The only spoke in the wheel wd be what happens with betty’s 99 yr old cousin between now and March 7.

    • Chelsea says:

      I feel like Harry might have actually reached out to the palace himself last week over this because the original story in the DailyFail from Monday was that the Queen was now going to take the royal patronages but the time table was still jusg before the end of March. Then the telegraphz, etc all reached out to their patronages that for the most part had no idea what was going on**. I have a feeling he might’ve gotten pissed about the uncertainty and confusion that caused and called and tried to push BP to finally release a statement which might be why their statement was so petty.

      **his military associations obviously knew this was going to happen as it was in a statement last year but i dont think the rugby patronages had any idea this was coming this year especially given how active Harry has stayed with them. I think he knew there was a possibility it could be taken from him at some point but it wasn’t as definitive as with the military titles so it would make sense if he got upset at them leaking this before even talking to the rugby patronages. I dont get why the palace still doesn’t understand how angry these leaks make Harry; it never works out well for them.

  6. Bren says:

    Once Oprah’s producers & team started investigating for the interview rumors about a potential interview would’ve gotten out eventually. The announcement of the interview probably happened earlier than planned so Harry and Meghan could control the narrative.

    • Snuffles says:

      Very true. They probably started the process of getting permission to use certain interview clips, maybe talk to some others. I could easily see word leaking out.

  7. Rapunzel says:

    The Sussexes had every right to clap back at the petty dig re: public service. It was a clear attempt to paint them as lazy fame seekers.

    This quibbling over public service vs. philanthropy is just cause they are are mad their dig got called out. It’s why they’re so angry and calling the Sussexes rude and disrespectful…the Sussexes were supposed to just take the petty dig in silence.

  8. Tiffany says:

    Those photos outside the Canadian Consulate just hits me every time now.

    That is a couple who know they ain’t coming back.

  9. Amy Bee says:

    I think the announcement of the second pregnancy more than the Oprah interview pushed the Royal Family to rush out the statement on Friday. I think up to that point, they believed that Harry would leave Meghan after the one year review. The announcement of another baby meant that Harry was not coming back to the UK.

  10. Becks1 says:

    Interesting at least that Lacey is acknowledging that the line about public service was “demeaning” and a sign that the statement was rushed. (although I dont agree with him that the queen herself would never have said something like that.)

    This is just getting so ridiculous. Harry and Meghan were never coming back. I’m sorry the RRs and the BRF didnt know that. The rest of us knew it. So while I dont pretend to know the inner workings of the Sussexes’ decisions, I dont think its unreasonable to assume that the Oprah interview was announced to force the Queen’s hand, because I think its becoming clear at this point that the Queen thought Harry would come back.

    Something else that is bothering me about the tone of this situation – and it bothered me a year ago – the idea that the Queen has to “agree” and give her blessing and all that. This is a grown man who is saying “my wife and I dont need taxpayer money and we dont want to work for the family business” and the queen is like, “well let me think about it.” But what is she going to say, no??

  11. Snuffles says:

    “ Something else that is bothering me about the tone of this situation – and it bothered me a year ago – the idea that the Queen has to “agree” and give her blessing and all that. This is a grown man who is saying “my wife and I dont need taxpayer money and we dont want to work for the family business” and the queen is like, “well let me think about it.” But what is she going to say, no??”

    Apparently, yes. That’s how that family has worked for decades. The Queen makes the decisions and has the final word. Therefore everyone must ingratiate themselves to the Queen.

  12. @Rapunzel. You’re right. The RF is enraged at the Sussexes because they were disputed and challenged about the meaning and essence of public service. William is incandescent with rage because Harry and Meghan had the last word and the fact that they did not stand down and clapback against the BP statement. He doesn’t have jurisdiction or control over them now. Nobody has. And this is the sticking point.

  13. lanne says:

    The royal review was simply a face-saving move. They couldn’t simply let the Sussexes quit–they had to be “pushed out.” Look at all the people howling over the fact that Harry and Meghan “answered back” to the Queen. The Queen is always supposed to have the last word, and the Sussexes took it for themselves. The royal mystique is built on the idea that they, and only they are the arbiters of status and class. The Sussexes leaving makes them look unneeded and unwanted and these people cannot.have.that.

    I’m glad they pushed back against that ridiculous idea that they “couldn’t hack it in public service.” Harry and Meghan have done more public service than the Cambridges. Meghan did more in two years than Kate has done in 10 years. The receipts are there to be seen, and no murmurs about “Broken Britain” can hide this.

    The royals don’t understand that they don’t control the Sussex narrative anymore. They can’t accept it. The rachet rota rats can’t accept that they have lost their meal ticket. I think Harry and Meghan were gracious to even consider the one year review–sometimes its a good idea to give an adversary the chance to save face. But the royals couldn’t even manage that. They still thought that Harry would abandon his family and be welcomed home to be a stooge to William (and imagine if Harry HAD done that–that would make the royal family hated in many places outside the UK and even in the UK. It would mean that a prince could toy with a woman, expose her to hatred and condemnation, and then abandon her. Not a good look for royals. But these morons haven’t even considered that.).

    Post Brexit Britain has the royal family that the Brexiteers deserve. Old, dying, and moving toward obselescense

  14. Vavavoom says:

    I don’t understand why Charles is getting off like a pig in sh!t right now. They are saying the Queen has decided this and that, and William wanted this or that but where is Charles? He is certainly getting the positive edit. In fact, all we’ve seen about him is a glassy eyed visit to his ailing father in the hospital (and if you look at video or photos of Charles, his eyes are ALWAYS watery!!).
    Do they honestly think Charles doesn’t have a say or that William has more influence over the Queen than he does? Preposterous. Charles needs more bad press. Shame on him for how he has treated his family .. his son who lost his mother so young. Disgusting.

  15. Louise177 says:

    Personally I don’t understand the connection between the interview and the review. I don’t see the reason in doing the interview now instead of in a month. Unless something happened where they just want to officially end ties now.

  16. beff says:

    I believe H&M scheduled the Oprah interview on March 7 knowing full-well it would coincide with any Royal plans to observe Commonwealth Day. Interesting that Robert Lacey threw Buckingham’s comm staff under the bus, “Petty Betty would never be *that* petty.” LOL. OK.

  17. Yoyo says:

    I don’t think the Sussexes were considering the one year review, they publicly stated they never wanted it.
    Harry’s Army buddy came out and said they were never coming back, that Harry’s number one priority was his family.
    Oh no! There is a bidding war going on in England to broadcast Oprah’s interview, quick get that go gov survey up and running.

  18. M Narang says:

    Harry made it clear last year that he didn’t need a one year review. When he & Meghan paid the sovereign grant back for the renovation costs of Frogmore Cottage, it was clear that the Sussexes were not coming back. When the Queen refused Harry’s request to lay his wreath on Remembrance Day, she made it clear he was no longer considered part of the BRF. I think the Royals rushed the announcement because they were always going to take those patronages back, but it would look much worse, as a punishment if they waited until after the Sussexes Oprah interview so they rushed it and it showed.

    As for who can do public service, the Queen basically insulted all of us.

    • Lady D says:

      33+ years volunteering as a reading tutor for children and in senior’s care homes. All a waste of time because I’m not royal? I have an old mug volunteer gift that says I’m valuable and it means far more to me than anything Liz has to say.

  19. Amelie says:

    I had read that CBS announced the Oprah interview because an Oprah producer reached out to Tom Bradby’s team for footage of the South Africa tour (ostensibly the clip where Meghan says “Not many people have asked if I’m ok.” When Bradby’s team asked why they needed the footage, CBS decided to announce the interview which clearly caught the BRF off guard. But if it forced them to announce the one year review was over, at least that’s done and out of the way without that hanging over the Oprah interview so we can enjoy it without wondering what the Queen is up to. They have nothing left to dangle over Meghan and Harry who are now both free.

    • MsIam says:

      I don’t know that is true, the interview is next week so this about the right timing for them to start hyping this. This is a big “get” for CBS so they will be putting out a lot of press releases to draw viewers.

  20. MsIam says:

    That Robert Lacey comment makes it sound like somebody at BP or maybe on Charles staff read the Twitter tea leaves. That palace statement about service went down like a lead balloon and they know it, lol. Oops we did it again, clean up on aisle seven!