Key moments in the growing rift between the Sussexes and the Royal Family
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 04/03/2021
When season four of The Crown drew to a close on Netflix last year, many people thought they were in for a long wait before their next dose of royal drama.
That has all changed in recent weeks, as Harry and Meghan‘s highly anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey is set to be broadcast, and Buckingham Palace is investigating “very concerning” bullying complaints against the duchess.
Here, we look at the escalating row between the Sussexes and the palace.
During a teaser clip for their CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan says: “I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.
“And, if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I … there is a lot that has been lost already.”
This all comes as Prince Philip recovers from a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition after already having spent more than two weeks in hospital.
The interview is set to be broadcast in the US on Sunday 7 March and in the UK the next day.
The Times newspaper reports a complaint was made by the Sussexes’ then-communications secretary Jason Knauf in October 2018.
On 3 March 2021 Buckingham Palace says it will investigate the claims that Meghan bullied members of staff while she was a working royal.
The Sussexes respond by saying they are being targeted in a “smear campaign”.
Lawyers for the couple say The Times reports were based on “misleading and harmful misinformation”.
On 1 March 2021 Prince Harry says he feared “history repeating itself” and the process of leaving royal life has been “unbelievably tough” for him and his wife Meghan.
The remarks come out in one of the first promo clips for the Oprah interview.
Harry says: “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side.”
As a photo is shown of him as a child with his mother, Princess Diana, he continues: “Because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago, because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us.
“But at least we have each other.”
‘Never walking away’
On 26 February 2021 Harry reveals in a candid interview with James Corden that he felt the need to step back from royal duties because of “toxic” stories about him in the British press.
He says it was “never walking away”, but “stepping back rather than stepping down”.
“We all know what the British press can be like. And it was destroying my mental health. I was like… ‘this is toxic’.”
Harry says he did what “any husband and father would do – I need to get my family out of here”.
‘Never returning as working royals’
On 19 February 2021 it emerges that Harry and Meghan have told the Queen they will not return as working members of the Royal Family.
Buckingham Palace says the rest of the family is “saddened” by their decision” but they “remain much loved members of the family”.
Sky’s royal correspondent, Rhiannon Mills, says there appears to have been “tense discussions” behind the scenes and that the couple “don’t sound happy” in their latest statement.
With them stepping back permanently from royal duties, the palace says the Queen confirmed in writing that it is “not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service”.
Harry and Meghan say in their statement that: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
The Oprah interview announcement
The Sussexes confirm they will give their first interview since stepping back from royal duties by sitting down with Oprah Winfrey.
Buckingham Palace say they will not be commenting on the Sussexes’ decision to do the interview.
The announcement comes a day after the duke and duchess revealed they are expecting their second child.
The bombshell announcement: Harry and Meghan step back from royal duties
The Sussexes declare on Instagram that they will “step back” from their roles as working royals.
They say they will divide their time between the UK and North America and become financially independent.
Buckingham Palace warns the move will be “complicated” and take time.
It is later reported that the Queen is disappointed Harry and Meghan had failed to consult her about their decision.
Sky’s royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills says: “I’m told that the statement was solely written by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – no senior members of the Royal Family were consulted before it was released.”
© Sky News 2020