London (CNN) — The fallout from Oprah Winfrey’s jaw-dropping interview with Harry and Meghan this week has been extraordinary and layered.
The pair’s allegations now have Britain’s royal family publicly defending itself against accusations of racism and gaslighting.
This wasn’t just a US-UK affair. Millions around the world tuned in to witness how fairytales don’t always come true.
Royal interviews tend to be exposés of life behind palace walls. There were plenty of those here, but the interview also displayed deep splits in British society.
The couple had nothing but praise for the current monarch — Elizabeth — but they were scathing about her heir — Charles.
“Is the royal family a racist family, sir?” he was asked by a reporter.
“We’re very much not a racist family,” William replied.
Had he spoken to Harry, the reporter probed. William said he hadn’t, “but I will do.”
Who would enjoy discussing such family matters in front of the cameras? But that is the lot of British royals. They aren’t a regular family. We all feel we have a stake in them and a right to know.
That seems unlikely when all involved have such high-profile roles and show no intention of backing down.
What of the harm done to the monarchy itself?
A royal source told CNN that “diversity, equality, inclusion and mental health are important issues and highlighting that has formed part of the work of members of the royal family for many years.”
That they felt the need to mention that speaks to how concerned they must be that all that work is now being questioned.
If the challenge for the family is how to rebuild relationships, then the challenge for “The Firm” is how to rebuild trust.
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FROM THE ROYAL VAULT
In the Oprah interview, Meghan said that while she was pregnant there were discussions over whether her future children would have titles.
“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or a princess, not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol,” she explained. Meghan then referenced George V’s 1917 Letters Patent and said that “they said they want to change the convention for Archie.”
The couple cited the royal institution’s decision to deny Archie a title — and with it his eligibility for protection — along with a lack of support over invasive press coverage as two of the determining factors in their decision to leave the UK.
So, what is the 1917 Letters Patent and how does it determine who gets a title and who doesn’t?
Being born into the royal family doesn’t automatically give you a title. Harry’s great-great-grandfather King George V limited the use of the titles Prince and Princess to certain senior members of the family by issuing the 1917 Letters Patent — essentially an open letter from the monarch.
That means that only Prince George, the firstborn child of William and Catherine and a direct heir, should have been given the title of prince. However, the Queen issued her own Letters Patent in 2012 so that all future Cambridge children were eligible for titles.
The Queen didn’t step in again when Archie was born. Right now, by royal decree, Archie isn’t entitled to be a prince. But that will change when Charles ascends the throne. By that point, the Sussexes’ offspring will be grandchildren of a sovereign and as such, finally eligible for titles. It is unclear how their departure as senior royals might affect this.
A WORD FROM THE ROYALS
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cnn.it 2021-03-12 19:54:00