Meghan’s Markle’s broadcaster friend Gayle King today claimed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had a deal with CBS and ITV to postpone their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey if Prince Philip had died.
The monarchy was plunged into crisis while Harry’s grandfather Duke of Edinburgh was in hospital following the allegations of racism made by the Sussexes, who faced calls to postpone the interview because he was unwell.
The couple accused an unnamed royal, not the Queen or Philip, of raising concerns about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone would be before he was born, and Meghan also claimed she begged for help while suicidal.
And Miss King, 66, who is also close friends with Oprah, revealed on her radio show on US network SiriusXM last Thursday: ‘Well, just so you know, they had done that interview before Prince Phillip went into the hospital.
‘If something, God forbid, had happened to him, the interview would not have run at this particular time. But the interview was done and was scheduled before he went into the hospital. But a lot of people have raised that point.’
It is yet another huge revelation from Miss King, who attended Meghan’s baby shower in 2019 and yesterday told how Harry had held talks with his brother Prince William and father Charles but these ‘were not productive’.
Philip was admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on February 16, before moving two weeks later to another hospital in the capital, St Bartholomew’s, where he had a successful heart operation on March 3.
Two days later he was transferred back to King Edward VII’s to recuperate and continue his treatment, and left yesterday before being driven to Windsor Castle where he was reunited with the Queen after a month apart.
Miss King, speaking on her programme Gayle King In The House, during which she was interrupted by a FaceTime call from Oprah, added: ‘I think that Harry and Meghan both have been through so much for the past three years and they really have tried to work it out privately. They really have tried to get help, and nothing was working.
‘So I think they wanted people to have some understanding about why they made the decision that they made and what they’ve been going through, and I do think that they accomplished that. I do. I think it was very brave of her and Harry to reveal what they did. It’s unheard of, and it certainly has been a ‘bombshell’, is the word.
Gayle King, who is close friends with Meghan, revealed on CBS This Morning yesterday that Harry had spoken to William
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in conversation with Oprah Winfrey in an interview first aired on CBS on March 7
Prince Philip, who is set to celebrate his 100th birthday in June, is seen waving yesterday as he arrives back at Windsor Castle
‘There were six or seven that night. I stopped counting at six. It was bombshell, after bombshell, after bombshell, but I do believe it was an honest conversation. I’m hoping it will lead to change.’
Miss King also spoke about Piers Morgan, who quit his role on Good Morning Britain last Tuesday after he refused to apologise for casting doubts on comments made by Meghan during the Oprah interview.
Timeline of the Duke of Edinburgh’s hospital stay and Harry & Meghan’s Oprah interview
- Tuesday, February 16, 2021: The duke is admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital on a precautionary basis after feeling unwell. He travels from Windsor Castle by car. Philip is said to be in ‘good spirits’ and walks into the private hospital unaided. He is expected to stay for a few days.
- Friday, February 19: Sources say Philip is now expected to remain in hospital for ‘observation and rest’ over the weekend and into the next week.
- Harry and Meghan are stripped of their prestigious patronages as the couple confirmed Megxit has become permanent.
- Saturday, February 20: The Prince of Wales makes a 200-mile round trip to see his father, spending around half an hour at the hospital.
- Tuesday, February 23: Seven days after the duke was admitted, the Palace says he is being treated for an infection and is ‘comfortable and responding to treatment’, but is not expected to leave hospital for several more days. The Earl of Wessex says the duke is a ‘lot better’ and looking forward to getting out.
- Friday, February 26: Harry says a ‘toxic’ atmosphere created by the British press forced him and his family to leave the UK, in an interview with James Corden
- Monday, March 1: Philip is transferred in an ambulance to St Bartholomew’s Hospital for treatment for an infection and testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition, Buckingham Palace says. The duke is shielded from public view by large umbrellas as he leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital.
- A preview clip of the Oprah Winfrey interview shows Harry saying his biggest fear is that ‘history would repeat itself’ in a reference to his mother’s death, while the host is also seen asking Meghan if she was ‘silent or silenced’, but her answer is not revealed.
- Tuesday, March 2: The Queen continues with her official duties by holding calls with the Chancellor and the head of the British Army.
- Wednesday March 3: Philip undergoes surgery on his heart. The Duchess of Cornwall says of her father-in-law: ‘We heard today that he’s slightly improving. So, that’s very good news. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.’
- A spokesman for Meghan says she is ‘saddened’ by a report in the Times that she faced a bullying complaint during her time at Kensington Palace.
- Thursday, March 4: Buckingham Palace announces Philip has had a ‘successful procedure’ for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. The palace adds: ‘His Royal Highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.’
- Friday, March 5: Philip returns to King Edward VII’s Hospital to continue his recovery.
- Sunday, March 7 – Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey airs in the US. They make allegations including accusing a member of the royal family of making a racist comment about their son Archie.
- Tuesday, March 9 – Buckingham Palace says the Queen is ‘saddened’ to hear the full extent of the challenges faced by the Sussexes and the issues raised around race are ‘concerning’.
- Tuesday, March 16: Philip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital after a total of 28 days in hospital. Gayle King reveals Harry has held talks with Charles and William.
His remarks sparked more than 41,000 complaints to the media regulator Ofcom, who also received a complaint on behalf of the Duchess of Sussex herself, who had earlier also sent a formal complaint to ITV.
And Miss King said: ‘Piers Morgan is no longer with a job. He stormed off the air after saying that I don’t believe that she had mental illness, I don’t believe she was suicidal. They got over 41,000 calls of people weighing in to say that is not OK, that is not cool.
‘And by the next day, he was out of a job. He said he resigned. I find that a little hard to believe when you had 41,000 calls.’
Miss King also referred to GMB weather presenter Alex Beresford, who was involved in the moment that saw Morgan walk out last week. She said: ‘And kudos to his co-anchor, they said it was the weather guy.
‘I wonder if he was the weather guy, but they described him as a weather guy, who spoke out and really let Piers have it on the air, and then Piers stormed off, and now Piers is no longer on the air there.’
The comments from Miss King emerged after she revealed yesterday that Harry and Meghan had told her that the Duke of Sussex had finally spoken to his father and brother following the interview with Oprah.
Hours later, Miss King disclosed on CBS This Morning yesterday that the talks ‘were not productive’.
The breakfast show host also suggested that Meghan was unhappy no one in the Royal Family had thought to telephone her. And, in a thinly veiled threat, the presenter said the duchess had ‘documents to back up everything she said on Oprah’s interview’.
The Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter said yesterday: ‘Seems like the narrative is being driven by Gayle King of CBS. I don’t think a continual play on American TV is quite what the Queen had in mind. Time for a cooling off period – best for everyone to put up and shut up.’
The fact the Sussexes chose to reveal sensitive discussions between senior members of the Royal Family met with an icy response from Buckingham Palace.
‘None of the households [the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge] will be giving a running commentary on private conversations,’ said a senior royal source.
It was clear, however, that both the Windsors and senior officials see it as a severe betrayal of trust and unhelpful to attempts to rebuild bridges. Prince William, when he was questioned by a TV reporter on a public engagement last Thursday, said he had not yet spoken to his younger brother, but vowed he would.
He also insisted the Royal Family were not racists after Meghan claimed one member had raised ‘concerns’ about ‘how dark’ her baby’s skin would be, and suggested there was an attempt to deprive Archie of a title and security because he was of mixed race.
The duchess also said she had been given so little support by the Palace that she suffered suicidal thoughts.
Harry said he felt ‘really let down’ by his father, accused him of cutting him off financially and refusing to take his calls, while also revealing the gulf with William.
The Queen responded to the Oprah interview with a deeply personal message saying that while ‘some recollections vary’, the issues raised, particularly that of race, were ‘concerning’ and would be taken seriously.
Significantly, however, she emphasised that from now on the difficulties would be addressed by the family privately.
There have been a handful of stories published in the UK media reporting that Charles and William felt hurt by what Harry had said, but with very little detail on what was taking place behind the scenes.
That was turned on its head yesterday when Miss King decided to speak out on her prime-time morning show on CBS, the same channel that broadcast the Oprah interview.
Prince William is pictured driving outside Kensington Palace in London yesterday after speaking to Harry over the weekend
Prince Charles and Camilla visit a vaccination pop-up centre at Finsbury Park Mosque in North London yesterday
Harry was accused of ’embarrassing’ hypocrisy this week for speaking to CBS, which caused outrage in 2004 by showing a photograph of his mother dying in a 1997 car crash in Paris.
Miss King told viewers she had called Harry and Meghan at their £10million California home ‘over the weekend’ to discuss the fallout from the interview and revealed they had told her details of their intimate conversations.
She said: ‘Well I’m not trying to break news, but I did actually call them to see how they were feeling, and it’s true, Harry has talked to his brother and he has talked to his father too.
‘The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive. But they are glad that they have at least started a conversation.’
Miss King also claimed the couple were unhappy that ‘the Palace’ had allegedly been leaking what they believed were untrue stories to the media.
Piers Morgan is pictured near his home in West London last Wednesday, the morning after he quit Good Morning Britain
Good Morning Britain has lost nearly a third of its viewers since Piers Morgan sensationally quit the ITV show last week after claiming he didn’t ‘believe a word’ Meghan Markle said during her Oprah Winfrey interview
She added: ‘And I think what is still upsetting to them is the Palace keep saying they want to work it out privately, but yet, they believe these false stories are coming out that are very disparaging against Meghan, still.’
She made clear that the duchess was unhappy that no one in the family had called her. ‘No one in the Royal Family has talked to Meghan yet, at this particular time,’ she said.
The Sussexes effectively accused the Royal Family and Buckingham Palace of institutional racism in their interview with Oprah.
But Miss King claimed they felt ‘frustrated’ that much of the coverage had focused on this – when they had apparently wanted only to provoke the monarchy into taking action against the media, which they believe has a racist agenda against Meghan.
Prince William, Charles, Harry, Camilla, Kate and Meghan follow the Queen at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2020
The Queen with Harry and Meghan at the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in June 2018
‘It’s frustrating for them to see that it’s a racial conversation about the Royal Family when all they wanted all along was for the royals to intervene and tell the Press to stop with the unfair, inaccurate, false stories that definitely have a racial slant.’
Miss King said. ‘And until you can acknowledge that, I think it’s going to be hard to move forward.’ She also raised the issue of the investigation launched earlier this month by Buckingham Palace into how claims of bullying against Meghan lodged by a senior member of staff were handled.
She said: ‘Anyone who has worked with her will tell you exactly who she is. You know, she’s really a very sweet, caring person.’
There was no immediate indication from the couple’s team of PR representatives – either in London or California – as to whether Miss King was speaking at their request.