The One Thing William Must Do to Save the Monarchy, Say Insiders
HERE'S WHAT HE'S PLANNING TO PREVENT THE OPRAH INTERVIEW FALLOUT FROM "COMPLETELY DESTROYING THE MONARCHY."
In the wake of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Royal Family is now figuring out how to play defense as they deal with a crisis of epic proportions. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made many stunning claims against the family, including that Meghan was told she could not seek help for her mental health issues, even though she was contemplating suicide, and that an unnamed royal raised concerns about the color of their yet-to-be-born son's skin. It fell to Prince William to be the first royal to directly respond to those jaw-dropping allegations with his simple assertion on Thursday that theirs is "very much not a racist family." While his statement was short and clear, insiders say, behind the scenes, William is "absolutely furious" over the way his brother spoke of their family on television. Still, he knows putting on a "reunited front" and reconciling with Harry could very well be "the one thing that stops this runaway train from completely destroying the monarchy," our sources say.
Read on to find out how William is dealing with the fallout from the Oprah interview, and for more from the tell-all, check out Meghan Finally Broke Her Silence on Her Sad Relationship With Her Father.
William directly debunking the allegations of racism in Meghan and Harry's interview was "unprecedented."
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While touring a London school with Duchess Kate on Thursday to promote the rollout of Mental Health Week in secondary schools, Sky News reporter Inzamam Rashid first asked William if he'd spoken to his brother since the broadcast aired. The prince replied that he hadn't but added, he "will do" as he and Kate left the school. Rashid followed up by directly asking, "Is the Royal Family a racist family, Sir?" to which William, who kept walking, replied, "We're very much not a racist family."
On Twitter, ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship said of William's remarks: "It's unprecedented for a senior royal to speak in this way," adding, it "shows the fight they now have on their hands to repair their reputation following Meghan and Harry's explosive claims."
On their visit to the school, both Kate and William appeared cheerful and engaged with the children (William even sat on the floor while chatting with a young boy), but there were signs of stress in their hurried departure. They kept their distance from the press and walked far apart from each other while they were escorted out by school personnel. Kate, who was furthest from the media, seemed uncharacteristically subdued and appeared detached from the group. For more royals updates sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The Cambridges have never been in this situation before.
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As the most active and popular members of "The Firm" during the pandemic, the Cambridges have never fallen under a cloud of suspicion in any royal drama—until now. Since Harry and Meghan declined to name the royal who discussed their unborn son's race, there's been worldwide speculation over which member of the family told Harry there were "concerns" about "how dark" Archie Mountbatten Windor's skin color would be. The suspects include a short list of senior royals: Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Kate, and William.
Winfrey, appearing on CBS This Morning the day after the interview aired the States, said Harry told her off-camera that the royal in question was neither his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, or his grandfather, Prince Philip. He didn't rule out anyone else.
"This entire episode has been incredibly stressful for William and Catherine," said a Palace insider. "The duchess is certainly not in a position to do her own television interview to refute Meghan's claims [that Kate made her cry in the days leading up to the wedding], so she can't defend herself. The duke is terribly worried about his grandmother and grandfather and absolutely furious that his brother would publicly talk about the family in such a harmful and hurtful way." And for more on who could suffer the most because of the tell-all revelations, check out This Royal Has the Most to Lose From Harry & Meghan's Interview, Insiders Say.
William is looking to the Queen for guidance.
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Another source described William as being in "a terribly high pressure situation" and said he is looking to one royal who is the embodiment of the ethos "keep calm and carry on" for guidance. "The Duke of Cambridge feels it is his duty to do what he can to protect his family and the monarchy," said the insider. "He is looking to Her Majesty the Queen, who has endured a long list of royal scandals and come out stronger for it, as the best role model there is during this time of crisis. William knows she will show the family the way forward as she has always done."
The day after the interview, the Palace issued a statement on behalf of the Queen that gently but unequivocally stated that "recollections may vary," while adding, "Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved family members." And for more on who Harry is still on good terms with, check out Harry Remains Close to This One Royal Despite All the Drama.
William knows "a truce" is both what the Queen wants and what could save the monarchy.
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While William's anger towards Harry, who he has not spoken to for months, is not something that can be solved with a phone call or one conversation, he knows putting on a "reunited front" and reconciling with his brother is key to prevent this situation from growing even more dangerous, insiders say.
"Harry is not the enemy, but he and Meghan are in a position to make things even harder for the Royal Family," said one royal source. Another insider observed, "William knows a truce between brothers is not only what the Queen wants, but might be the one thing that stops this runaway train from completely destroying the monarchy." And for more on this topic, check out Can the Monarchy Survive Without Queen Elizabeth?
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.