Royal Family still feeling 'deep sadness' over rift

Although they may be one of the most famous families and institutions in the world, the Royal Family is reacting to a rift in its ranks like many other families would.

There is still a "deep sadness" about the situation with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle according to a royal expert.

Speaking at an event about the future of the monarchy, Camilla Tominey, the associate editor of The Daily Telegraph, said the Queen is not one to "knock heads together" over the argument.

Discussing Harry and Meghan's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey and the impact it's had, Tominey said on a webinar: "From a familial perspective, it’s one of deep sadness, not anger.

"The Queen and her nearest and dearest have reflected and asked why they felt it was necessary to do this in public, when they had secured Megxit.

"On a practical level, there’s an internal inquiry about the bullying allegations and simultaneously there’s a review of the mechanisms which Meghan cited, and there’s talk of the diversity and appointing a tsar to look after that."

But she said there was an element of difficulty in the family since the retirement of Prince Philip to Sandringham, in 2017, meaning he is some 200 miles from the main hub of family life.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as they watch a fly past to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force in central London, Britain July 10, 2018. Paul Grover/Pool via Reuters
The Queen, Meghan, Harry, William, and Kate on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in July 2018. The Queen doesn't 'knock heads together' says an expert. (Paul Grover/Pool via Reuters)

She said: "The Queen is not one to knock heads together, she does not like conflict. Since Philip retired there has been a bit of a vacuum when it comes to these family matters.

"Charles is intrinsically a kind-hearted fellow, but maybe a bit weak when it comes to his warring sons. In the wake of Diana’s death, the boys relationship with her was sacrosanct, maybe they blame him in some ways.

"You do think, how did it come to pass that one of the most popular royals - revered for time in army - is criticising the family to Oprah. I think people found it difficult that he showed respect for Queen but trashed everything she stands for.

"What we saw from them was complete lack of introspection - it was the staff's fault, or the press's fault, but they never took blame."

Tominey was on a panel at a webinar hosted by The Heritage Foundation in the US, which covered the future of the monarchy following what it claimed were attacks from the left wing to abolish it in the wake of the Winfrey interview.

She was previously a royal correspondent for The Telegraph, and has stood by her sources in her reporting of the story that it was Meghan who made Kate cry in a row over bridesmaid outfits before the Sussex wedding.

Meghan made the opposite claim during the Winfrey interview.

Alongside Tominey was Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Tim Montgomerie, founder of ConservativeHome, and Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.

Watch: Prince Albert thinks Duke and Duchess of Sussex's tell-all interview was inappropriate

Gardiner said the interview had been a "missile strike against the monarchy".

He said: "This was aiming a dagger at the heart of the Royal Family. Now you have the White House weighing in, praising her courage; Michelle Obama; Hillary Clinton; a host of senior democrats have weighed in. It matters because when you have attacks on monarchy you are attacking Britain itself.

"Monarchy has an important role in modern Britain, this has become a political attack on UK itself. It's outrageous that you have the office of White House weighing in, with implicit criticism of monarchy, that has crossed the line."

He added: "There should be response from the British government because it’s a political matter. We have forces which want to undermine the special relationship, they don’t like Brexit, they don’t like Boris [Johnson], and we have to respond strongly against that. I hope the government will stand up for the British monarchy on the world stage."

ASCOT, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, with Prince Harry, attend the first day of The Royal Ascot race meeting on June 14, 2016 in Ascot, England.(Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Things have changed because of Philip's retirement. The Queen here with Harry and Philip at Ascot in 2016. (Julian Parker/UK Press)

Polling following the interview showed only a small dip in support for the monarchy and the Queen specifically, while Meghan and Harry's popularity in the UK dropped to its lowest ever levels.

That's enough for some republicans to be optimistic, with some keen to push the agenda that the institution of the monarchy is in peril.

Speaking at a different virtual event about the future of the monarchy, Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said: "The unwillingness to criticise the Queen is not going to be inherited by King Charles.

"It's a very different, threadbare-looking monarchy when it’s King Charles and Prince William.

"I think the interview is extremely damaging, just on racism and mental health and I think it’s undone some of their good work."

He added: "It sets the scene for an incredibly difficult decade and one I am hopeful will mean it’s hard for Charles to be succeeded by another king."

Dr Ed Owen, historian and author of ‘The Family Firm. Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-53’, said: "Future rests even more on the Cambridges, if they can project the image of family life as they have up until this point, the short reign of King Charles will pass and there will be expectation on what William will bring."

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