Love, adultery and betrayal: Big British royal TV interviews
PRINCE Harry and Meghan, Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are due to appear in an in-depth TV interview with U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey today.
Here are details of previous major television interviews given by senior members of the British royal family, some of which went badly for the monarchy.
The 94-year-old British monarch has never given a formal interview, although she has appeared in TV documentaries about her family and discussed issues relating to specific aspects of royal life.
PRINCE CHARLES/PRINCESS DIANA – 1981
Shortly after announcing their engagement to the world, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, now 72, and future wife Diana Spencer – Harry’s parents – gave an at times uncomfortable TV interview to discuss their relationship.
At the end, asked how they were feeling, Charles said: “Just delighted and happy, I’m amazed that she has been brave enough to take me on,” to which the interviewer interjected: “And I suppose, in love”. Diana immediately replied “Of course”, but Charles commented: “Whatever in love means, you can put your own interpretation”.
Speaking about the “ghastly” interview years later, Diana said his response had completely thrown her. “It traumatised me,” she said.
PRINCE CHARLES – 1994
In a TV interview which followed years of speculation about his marriage to Diana, Charles confessed to adultery.
He admitted he had wronged Diana, who he wed in 1981, in the prime-time interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, watched by some 15 million viewers. But he dodged questioning about an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, who he described as a “great friend”.
Asked if he had remained true to his marriage vows, he replied: “Yes … until it became irretrievably broken down, (despite) us both having tried.”
He also complained about being hounded by the media, who he said had turned the royals into a “soap opera”.
PRINCESS DIANA – 1995
Possibly the most famous royal interview: Diana spoke to journalist Martin Bashir for a BBC Panorama interview in 1995.
During the interview, watched by more than 20 million viewers in Britain, the princess, who was killed in a car crash in Paris two years later aged 36, admitted to an affair and gave intimate details about the failure of her marriage to Prince Charles.
She famously stated: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”, a reference to his relationship with Camilla, who Charles married in 2005.
PRINCE ANDREW – 2019
After years of speculation about his relationship with the late disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew, 61, the queen’s second son, gave an interview with the BBC to set the record straight on their friendship.
However, the interview was widely regarded as a disaster which ended up fuelling more negative headlines about his association with Epstein, who killed himself in a U.S. prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Andrew, eighth-in-line to the throne, rejected claims that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured for him by his friend Epstein, because on the night of the allegations he had been to a pizza restaurant in the commuter town of Woking for a children’s party.
He also said he suffered from a medical condition that stopped him perspiring and cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture which showed him with his arm around the alleged victim’s waist.
In a backlash that followed the interview, charities and other organisations distanced themselves from him and he was forced to step down from public duties, saying the furore had caused major disruption to the royal family’s work.
PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN – 2019
Although not a formal sit-down interview, both Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, spoke separately to ITV journalist Tom Bradby during their trip to southern Africa in 2019.
Their revelations of a rift with Harry’s brother William, anger at their treatment by the tabloid press and how hard Meghan had found her role presaged a decision months later to step back from official duties.
PRINCESS ANNE – 1980
Not all royal interviews have gone badly. Princess Anne gave an interview to TV talk show Michael Parkinson which was well received, with the queen’s daughter, now 70, praised for her openness and humour.
During the interview, when she was joined by her now-ex-husband Mark Phillips for the latter part, she recounted an attempt to kidnap her from the Mall, the grand boulevard near Buckingham Palace, in 1974 when the assailant shot several people.
Recalling how her dress had become torn at one point in the incident, she joked: “That was his most dangerous moment. I lost my rag at that stage.”