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Queen Elizabeth II breaks silence after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Oprah bombshell interview

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·8 min read
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The royal family and Meghan Markle's family are reacting to the interview she and Prince Harry did with Oprah Winfrey.

A statement from Buckingham Palace on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II was released on Tuesday. It said, "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

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Just hours earlier, Prince Charles ignored a question asking his reaction to the interview while he was making a public appearance. In the sit-down, which initially aired Sunday on CBS and drew 17 million viewers, Harry talked about his father refusing to take his phone calls when he and Megan decided to step down from their roles as senior family members due to feeling unprotected by the royal family. Harry also didn't eliminate his father from the list of potential family members who allegedly discussed Archie's skin tone.

While Charles was quiet, Meghan's estranged father, Thomas Markle, who has sold stories about her to the U.K. tabloids, gave an interview dismissing Meghan's claims she experienced racism, and her half-sister Samantha Markle, who wrote a tell-all book about the duchess, gave multiple scathing interviews.

Thomas appeared on Good Morning Britain — with Meghan critic Piers Morgan — and claimed he's apologized "at least 100 times or so" for staging and selling photos to tabloids in the days leading up to his daughter's 2018 wedding. However, he has "never heard back from Meghan or Harry in any way shape or form."

As for continuing to sell stories about his Meghan, whom he hasn't spoken to in nearly three years, and Harry, who he has never met, Thomas justified it by saying, "When they say I'm taking advantage of the press, basically what I do is, I do a story for the press. If I don't hear from them in 30 days, then I do another story for the press... When they decide to start talking to me, I'll stop talking to the press."

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Though he wasn't complimentary. At one point the former TV lighting director said, "We all make mistakes," while talking about the rift, but then added of the son-in-law he has never met: "But I've never played naked pool. I've never dressed up like Hitler." (Harry wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party in 2005, which he apologized for. In 2012, photos of a strip billiards game he participated in during a trip to Las Vegas were sold to the media.)

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Thomas also weighed in on Meghan's claim that, when she was pregnant with Archie, a senior member of the family had a discussion with Harry about the potential skin-tone of the baby, due to Meghan being mixed race.

The "whole thing about color and the baby's skin color is bull****," Thomas claimed.

He went on to say, “I have great respect for the royals, and I don’t think the British royal family are racist at all. I don’t think the British are racist, I think Los Angeles is racist, California is racist, but I don’t think the Brits are.”

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Thomas said, "The thing about what color will the baby be or how dark will the baby be — I’m guessing and hoping it’s just a dumb question from somebody … It could be somebody asked a stupid question. Rather than being a total racist."

Samantha, who is from Thomas's first marriage, also had her say.

“I definitely see a narcissistic personality disorder,’’ The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister: A Memoir, Part One author told the Australian radio show Fifi, Fev and Nick of her half-sister. "I'm not diagnosing her. She needs to see a counselor."

As for Harry, Samantha said he "reminds me of one of those kidnap victims who eventually starts to believe that their life was so horrible and they're in love with their captor... She pulled him away from his family, all of his friends, the life that he knew."

She also responded to Meghan saying she grew up as an "only child," and not seeing her half-sister for 18 years and then 10 years before that, "Everyone has seen her with me at my graduation in 2008. That's not 19 years ago... Were there body doubles in those photographs?"

In another interview with Inside Edition, Samantha said she no sympathy for Meghan revealing that she had suicidal thoughts amid the scrutiny.

"Depression is not an excuse for treating people like dishrags and disposing of them," Samantha replied.

On Tuesday, another previously unaired clip from the Oprah interview ran on The Oprah Magazine website. In it, Meghan was asked about privacy and how, when she started dating a royal, she should have expected to lose a certain degree of it.

"I think everyone has a basic right to privacy. Basic. We're not talking about anything that anybody else wouldn't expect," the former Suits actress replied.

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She used an example to make her point, saying, "If you're at work and you have a photograph of your child on your desk, and your co-worker says, 'Oh, my gosh, your kid's so cute. That's fantastic! Can I see your phone so I can see all the pictures of your child?' You go, 'No. This is the picture I'm comfortable sharing with you.'"

She continued, "And then if they double down and say, 'No, but you already showed me that one. So you have to show me everything. You know what, I'm just gonna hire someone to sit in front of your house, or hide in the bushes and take pictures into your backyard, because you've lost your right to privacy... because you shared one image with me.'"

Meghan said she and Harry never asked for complete privacy, calling it "a false narrative. I've never talked about privacy." She said that instead, they were sharing the "parts of their lives" they were "comfortable" with giving the public access to.

After all, she added, "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 and look through it.' No one would want that. So it's about boundaries. And it's about respect."

Meanwhile, it was announced Tuesday that Morgan is leaving Good Morning Britain in the wake of comments he made being dismissive of Meghan revealing that she experienced suicidal thoughts.

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On Monday, while discussing Meghan's interview, Morgan said, "I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan Markle. I wouldn't believe her if she read me a weather report." His co-host Susanna Reid immediately disagreed, saying “That’s a pathetic reaction to someone who has expressed those thoughts.”

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Morgan was quickly criticized, including by the mental health charity Mind. The fallout included U.K. media regulator Ofcom launching an investigation into Morgan’s comments after receiving more than 41,000 complaints. On Tuesday's show, his co-host Alex Beresford tore into Morgan for his anti-Meghan stance, leading Morgan to storm off the set.

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And soon after came word that Morgan was leaving the show. The company said in a statement, "ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."

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This story was originally published on March 9, 2021, at 11:36 a.m. ET and has been updated to include new information.

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