Prince Philip agreed Prince Harry ‘should be his own man’ — but disagreed with interview
Prince Harry: Expert on whether he will ‘stay’ after funeral
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Harry will be reunited with the Royal Family for the first time in a year, as they all gather to attend Philip’s funeral in Windsor on Saturday. The royal stalwart died last Friday aged 99, with the Queen by his side. Although he retired in 2017, Philip was credited with defining royal values and for moulding the monarchy throughout his 70 years of service. Consequently, the Duke of Edinburgh’s reaction to Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from the Firm and their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey has been a major source of speculation for royal watchers.
On Pod Save the Queen — hosted by Ann Gripper and featuring Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers — the royal commentators claimed that Philip did not want the Sussexes to leave the monarchy last year.
But, Mr Myers said: “He [Philip] agreed that Harry had to go and live his own life.
“He had to make his own decisions, he was his own man.”
Mr Myers claimed that Philip’s more lenient approach to the Sussexes’ exit was reflected in Harry’s statement about his late grandfather’s passing, which was released earlier this week.
The Duke of Sussex said Philip would be “sorely missed”, and then praised him for being “authentically himself”.
Mr Myers speculated that the appreciation for Philip as “an individual” rather than part of the Firm stemmed from the late consort’s understanding that the Sussexes had to follow their own path.
Ms Gripper added that Philip himself had a reputation for defying royal boundaries.
She said: “He almost did have a position where he could speak out and speak his mind — partly because the Queen had utter love and respect for him, but also because he was part of the top layer.”
She also pointed out that while Philip “wouldn’t necessarily have been against” the modernising influence Harry and Meghan tried to bring into the monarchy, he would have preferred change to take effect over time — something he pushed for himself when he became a royal.
Gyles Brandreth, a friend and biographer of Philip’s, has claimed Philip did not agree with Harry’s departure from the Royal Family — but did accepted it.
Mr Brandreth said: “The Duke of Edinburgh was not pleased, nor did he believe that Harry and Meghan were doing the right thing either for the country or for themselves.”
Their departure also meant Harry was stripped of his royal military appointments, including the beloved title he had inherited from Philip in 2017 — Captain General of the Royal Marines.
The Duke of Edinburgh was seen leaving Sandringham Castle just as Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles and the Queen gathered to discuss the terms of the Sussexes’ exit last January.
This was widely perceived as a sign of Philip’s frustration with his grandson and his dramatic decision.
But, royal biographer Ms Seward claimed: “The Queen refused to allow their shenanigans to get to her husband.”
She continued: “It must have come as a heavy blow for Prince Philip to know that his grandson would be more or less giving up his homeland and everything he cared about for a life of self-centred celebrity in North America.
“Philip knew leaving was not a decision that Harry made lightly and could not grasp exactly what it was about the family firm that made his grandson’s life so unbearable.”
The royal stalwart had also been heavily against royals agreeing to personal interviews — but the Sussexes stunned fans when they spoke to Oprah about their unhappiness behind Palace walls earlier this year.
Speaking to ITV, Mr Brandreth said: “I know that the Duke of Edinburgh’s rule was, ‘Don’t talk about yourself, don’t give personal interviews’.
“I know that, and I know he told his children that because he told me.
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“I imagine that’s the advice he would have given his grandchildren as well.”
Mr Brandreth continued: “I know from someone close to him that he thought Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was ‘madness’ and ‘no good would come of it’.
“I was not surprised because that is exactly how he described to me the personal TV interviews given by Prince Charles, and Diana, Princess of Wales, back in the Nineties.”
Allegedly, the royal stalwart feared personal TV interviews would turn their lives into a “soap opera”.
Mr Brandreth told the Daily Mail: “The fact that the Meghan and Harry interview was aired while Philip was in hospital did not trouble him.
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“What did worry him was the couple’s preoccupation with their own problems and their willingness to talk about them in public.”
However, Philip’s opinion of Harry was reportedly not affected by the interview in the long-term.
As Mr Brandreth recalled: “He said to me: ‘People have got to lead their lives as they think best’.”
Their relationship was evidently still on good terms this year shortly before the interview aired, as Harry joked with US talk show host James Corden about how he had been communicating with his grandfather while in the US.
He laughed while explaining that Philip tended to slam his laptop shut when a video call had come to a close, rather than hanging up conventionally.
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