By KATIE KINDELAN, ABC News
(LONDON) — Prince Charles made his first public appearance since the bombshell allegations dropped by his son Prince Harry and daughter-in-law Duchess Meghan in their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Charles, the heir to the throne, on Tuesday did not respond to a reporter who asked him for his reaction to Harry and Meghan’s interview, which the couple opened up about Meghan’s mental health struggles, made allegations of racism within the royal family and claimed they were cut off financially and denied security protection.
Charles’s public appearance — he visited a COVID-19 vaccination center in north London — came as Buckingham Palace has yet to respond to the allegations made by Harry and Meghan.
— Lizzie Robinson (@LizzieITV) March 9, 2021
The interview aired on Sunday in the United States and on Monday on ITV in the United Kingdom, where it attracted around 12 million viewers.
“I think the reason why you haven’t heard anything from the palace yet, 36 hours after this interview first aired, is because the allegations and the claims raised by Meghan are just so huge,” Chris Ship, ITV’s royal editor, said Tuesday on Good Morning America. “It’s not surprising therefore that the palace right now is trying to work out what is the appropriate way to respond to all these things. They’re not going to rush this thing out. They’re doing to do it in their own time.”
British public response to Meghan and Harry interview could impact royal family. @chrisshipitv shares the reaction from the U.K. public and press.@michaelstrahan https://t.co/NU4pRkARwH pic.twitter.com/2YB11nyKH0
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 9, 2021
One potential conflict for the palace, which represents Queen Elizabeth, is its announcement last week that it plans to open an investigation into allegations of bullying made against Meghan by former staff members.
The palace has yet to respond though to Meghan’s claim to Winfrey that she reported her serious mental health struggles to the palace’s human resources department and was denied help.
“I went to human resources and I said, ‘I just really, I need help,’ because in my old job there was a union, and they would protect me,” Meghan, a former actress, told Winfrey. “And I remember this conversation like it was yesterday because they said, ‘My heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution.'”
Ship said the different responses are likely something that Buckingham Palace aides are taking into account as they deliberate how to move forward.
“How can it be that the system can’t help someone who is the wife of a senior royal, but it could help someone if [they were] a paid employee of the palace?” he said. “None of it makes sense. That’s why the palace has got to sort of look at its inner workings and decide what went wrong.”
Meghan speaks out on ‘right to privacy,’ father’s tabloid scandals
Buckingham Palace’s silence also comes as more clips continue to be released from Harry and Meghan’s more than three-hour conversation with Winfrey.
In a previously unaired clip from the interview, released Monday, Meghan opens up about her estrangement from her father, Thomas Markle, who spoke out to tabloids ahead of Harry and Meghan’s 2018 wedding.
Thomas Markle did not attend the couple’s wedding, citing health concerns at the time. Prince Charles walked Meghan down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel in place of her dad.
“There was such an obsession about anything in my world, including tracking down my parents. And I did everything I could to protect both of them in that media frenzy,” Meghan told Winfrey. “But for over a year, the U.K. tabloids were trying to find my dad, offering people so much money to try to find his address. Once they did, I remember being told there was a huge headline like, ‘We found him’ or ‘We’ve got him.’ You’re talking about someone’s father. And from that point, the tabloids, they moved into the apartment next door and across from him. Descended on this small town, which is giving him gifts. The whole thing brings us to where we are today.”
Asked if she felt betrayed by her father, Meghan — who recently won a privacy lawsuit against a U.K. tabloid that published portions of a letter she wrote to him — said she did not know if she was comfortable “even talking about that.”
“If we were going to use the word betrayal, it’s because when I asked him, when we were told by the [communications] team, this is a story that was going to be coming out, which, by the way, the tabloids had apparently known for a month or so and decided to hold until the Sunday before our wedding because they wanted to create drama, which is also a really key point in all this,” she said, adding that tabloids “create the news.” “We called my dad and I asked him and he said, ‘No, absolutely not.'”
I said, ‘You know, the institution has never intervened for anything for us, but they can try to go in and kill this story, but if they do this once, we’re not going to be able to use that same leverage to protect our own kids one day,'” Meghan recalled. “I said, ‘So I just need you to tell me and if you tell me the truth, we can help,’ and he wasn’t able to do that.”
“That for me has really resonated, especially now as a mother,” she said, later adding of her nearly 2-year-old son Archie, “I think about this child and I go I can’t, I genuinely can’t imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child.”
Speaking of her mother, Doria Ragland, who was Meghan’s only family member to attend her wedding, the duchess said, “You’ve never heard her say a word. She’s remained in silent dignity for four years watching me go through this.”
Thomas Markle responded to his daughter’s interview with Winfrey in an appearance Tuesday on Good Morning Britain, claiming he has apologized to the Sussexes “at least 100 times or so.”
“Bottom line, I’ve never heard back from Meghan and Harry in any way shape or form. What I do if I don’t hear from them is I’ll do another story for the press,” he said. “I’ve yet to hear from them. I would love to hear from them. They’re not talking to me. When they decide to talk to me, I’ll stop talking to the press.”
“I’ve been pushed around and knocked down for one big mistake I made,” he added.
As her father spoke to the press, a second released clip shows Meghan speaking to Winfrey about her “basic right to privacy,” even as she is in the public eye because of her relationship with Harry.
“I think everyone has a basic right to privacy. Basic,” she said. “And we’re not talking about anything that anybody else wouldn’t expect.”
Meghan, who, with Prince Harry, has been a fierce opponent of British tabloids, added that she has never talked about privacy, calling it “just a basic understanding.”
“I think life is about being able to share our stories and share parts of our lives that you’re comfortable with,” she said. “There’s no one who’s on Instagram or social media that would say, ‘Because I shared this one picture, that entitles you to have my entire camera roll. Go ahead, look through it.’ No one would want that, so it’s about boundaries and it’s about respect.”
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