11:56 GMT09 April 2020
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    Buckingham Palace aides told The Telegraph that the humiliating prank will be a “wake-up call” for the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan Markle, who are mbarking on a new life journey after they stepped down from senior roles in the Royal Family.

    Prince Harry has been advised to change his phone number and email address following calls with Russian pranksters, during which he talked about the difficult decision to quit royal life, US President Donald Trump, his uncle Prince Andrew, who is involved in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal. Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, AKA Vovan and Lexus, contacted the Duke of Sussex via an intermediary, who forwarded the message to Prince Harry without any checks.

    The 35-year-old then directly texted the Russian pranksters from his personal email address in December and later called them from his mobile number. “We were shocked when he emailed us. No one ever checked us out to see who we really were”, Alexei Stolyarov told The Sun.

    The prank call occurred as Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle now increasingly rely on their US advisers and friends instead of their team of aides at Buckingham Palace, who will be sacked at the end of the month when the couple complete their last royal duties, The Telegraph reported.

    The newspapers cited anonymous royal sources as saying that the hoax served as proof of the enormous amount of work that is done behind the palace walls to protect members of the family.

    One aide told The Telegraph: "You can be as accessible, relaxed, and as informal as the media portrays you, but as soon as you act like that, mistakes can happen".

    The prank calls, which were allegedly recorded during New Year’s Eve and 22 January, after the couple announced their decision to quit royal life, were initially uploaded to the YouTube channel vovan222, but were later deleted. The British media said the calls are expected to be published on 14 March.

    During the conversation the pranksters impersonated climate activist Greta Thunberg and her father Svante and discussed a number of issues with the Duke of Sussex. In the excerpts that were previously published by The Sun, the Duke of Sussex called British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a "good soul", while criticising US President Donald Trump for increasing coal production in the United States. Prince Harry also defended the decision to step down from senior roles in the Royal Family, saying it was certainly not easy to do, but that he and his wife Meghan made the right choice.

    Tags:
    UK royal family, Meghan Markle, Greta Thunberg, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Prince Harry
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