In a series of rare public interviews to mark what should have been his father’s 100th birthday, Prince Edward admitted that the family divide over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s departure from their senior royal duties was “very sad.”
However, the Earl of Wessex told the BBC that he preferred to “stay way out” of the situation: “It’s much the safest place to be.”
"He didn't really want all the fuss and bother"— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 10, 2021
Prince Edward speaks exclusively to the BBC about his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, on what would have been his 100th birthdayhttps://t.co/7FLVV3IQE2 pic.twitter.com/l6sFDyeHnV
“We've all had that same spotlight shone on our lives. We've all been subjected to massive intrusion and all the rest of it. We all had to deal with it in different ways,” the Queen’s youngest son said, referring to Harry and Meghan’s recent interview to Oprah Winfrey about their struggles with the British media and the apparent “neglect” by the "firm."
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced in January 2020 that they were going to quit their senior posts in Buckingham Palace to start a “financially independent” life. Since then, they’ve relocated to California with their son Archie and made some public allegations against the royal fam. In the interview with Oprah, Meghan claimed that there were “concerns” from one unnamed royal about Archie's skin colour when she was pregnant with him, and that her “suicidal” state of mind was ignored by palace aides.
The royal family responded by saying that “the recollections [of the events] may vary” but promised to “privately” address the claims.
‘Families Are Families’
On Friday, Meghan and Harry became parents for the second time when the actress gave birth to Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana, named after her great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and late grandmother Princess Diana.
“Well, we just wish them all happiness. That's fantastic news and absolutely, I hope they are very happy,” Prince Edward shared.
In a separate interview with CNN, the earl also noted that the Sussexes’ decision to leave their senior roles was a “really hard” one but “families are families.”
"It's difficult for everyone but that's families for you," he said, responding to the reporter’s question on whether the situation was especially hard for the Queen, who lost her husband of 73 years less than two months ago.
But Edward said that his mother was doing “remarkably well” as she planted a specially named "Duke of Edinburgh" rose at Windsor Castle on Wednesday to mark her husband’s would-be-centenary on 10 June.
Prince Philip died on 9 April, just two months before what would have been a landmark birthday, but according to his youngest son Edward, the duke wouldn’t have wanted to make a "fuss."
“He didn't really want all the fuss and bother. I think he wasn't really looking forward to the centenary, even if we were,” he told the press.
Prince Edward’s approval ratings jumped following his father’s passing, as the Queen’s son moved to publicly honour the Duke of Edinburg just few days after his death, while repeatedly thanking the public for “extraordinary” messages of support and “fantastic” tributes.