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The separation in the British Royal Family will be evident to the world in a tale of two broadcasts hours apart in March.
On March 7, the Queen’s annual Commonwealth message alongside her family members, minus the voluntary estranged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, will be broadcast on U.K. broadcaster BBC One. Just hours later, a wide-ranging interview with Markle and Harry in a 90-minute Oprah Winfrey special will be broadcast in the U.S. on CBS.
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What a difference a year makes. Exactly a year earlier, the Queen, and members of the Royal Family, including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a.k.a. Harry and Meghan, made a joint public appearance on March 8, Commonwealth Day, before the Sussexes left for North America.
Since then the Sussexes have confirmed that they will no longer be working members of the Royal Family, a decision that has “saddened” Buckingham Palace.
The annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey has been cancelled for the first time in 50 years because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Queen’s message, pre-recorded at Windsor Castle, will now be broadcast as part of BBC program “A Celebration for Commonwealth Day,” hosted by Anita Rani. Several other senior Royals are expected to be part of the program.
The decision to replace the service with a broadcast was taken before the Sussexes exclusive with Oprah was announced. “The decision was taken jointly by the Abbey, the BBC and the Royal household about three weeks ago,” said a Westminster Abbey spokesperson.
Harry and Meghan struck a major multi-year deal with Netflix in September 2020 that will see them developing documentaries, feature films, scripted television shows and children’s series. They also recently launched a podcast on Spotify under their Archwell Audio production company, with the goal of building “community through shared experience, narratives and values.”
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