Hopes that peace might break out between the Californian and British branches of the royal family following the confirmation that Harry and Meghan are no longer a part of it, and never will be again, are looking premature, after the competition for global attention moved to a new theatre: competing TV schedules.
It has emerged that the queen and the entire family of working royals will be participating in a BBC special broadcast a week on Sunday, just hours before Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah screens on CBS.
Both sides are likely to say that neither has scheduled their appearance to try and overshadow the other, however Sunday March 7 looks set to be a prime example of the destructive lack of co-ordination and communication that bedevilled relations between the palace and the Sussexes, and will inevitably lead to Monarchy versions 1.0 and 2.0 being played off against and compared to each other in ensuing media coverage.
The queen and her family will gather on Sunday afternoon for a broadcast from London’s fabled Westminster Abbey, to be called “A Celebration For Commonwealth Day.”
The show will be anchored by a live broadcast from the Abbey, but the solemnity will be leavened with video packages of the royals in conversation with young people from across the 54 nations of the Commonwealth. Camilla will reportedly talk about literacy, William and Kate will discuss social care and Sophie will explore the role of women. There will also be a message from the queen herself.
If that doesn’t get your heart racing —well, that’s good. It is not meant to.
The same cannot be said of another TV event taking place a few hours later, when Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah will screen. The U.K. royals, just unwinding after their busy day, have been advised to “hide behind the sofa” lest Meghan uses the interview to unload on the royals.
While the content of Oprah’s interview remains a closely guarded secret, a hint as to the likely more Californian tone of proceedings can perhaps be divined from a brief video clip the couple released yesterday to promote their new Archewell Audio Spotify podcast.
The palace have let it be known that the BBC event to mark Commonwealth Day has been in the pipeline for many months and is not simply a knee jerk reaction to Harry and Meghan’s Oprah appearance. Harry and Meghan’s people have not commented, however it is believed that the Oprah show was simply timed to mark exactly one year since Harry and Meghan final duty as working royals—last year’s Commonwealth Day service.
Introducing another variable into the situation is the health of Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of the queen who remained in hospital Tuesday for an eighth day. Prince William sought to allay concerns about his grandfather’s health yesterday, telling a well wisher at a public engagement who asked directly about him, “Yes, he’s OK. They’re keeping an eye on him.”
Prince Philip was admitted last Tuesday evening as a precautionary measure after a doctor was called to Windsor Castle, where he has been shielding with the queen, 94. He had complained of feeling unwell, but travelled to the hospital by car and walked in unaided.