Prince Harry seems to be following in his mother's footsteps with the Oprah interview feeling like an echo of Princess Diana's tell-all interview in 1995.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle separating from the royal family left the whole world surprised. Before long, people started comparing Harry to his mother Diana who also infringed on the customs and traditions of the royal household. Anna Pasternak, author of The Real Wallis Simpson: A New History of the American Divorcee Who Became the Duchess of Windsor has drawn parallels between the two princes and their parents. She believes that Harry's personality mirrors that of his mum while William is more like his dad, Prince Charles. While the brothers shared a close bond in the past, their relationship is now frayed.
Despite the close relationship the brothers had in the past, Prince Harry has maintained that they were on different paths. “William and Harry are playing out the dynamic of their parents,” Pasternak told Vanity Fair. She said Harry tracks with Diana, a rebel spirit fueled by fury at the tabloid press, blowing up the family’s core of silence in a blockbuster interview while “William is very aligned with his father in his sense of duty above emotion.” The memory of the two boys as they walked behind their mother's coffin has been seared in our collective memory. And Harry did not want anything remotely similar to happen to his own wife.
Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey was very much like the interview Princess Diana did with Martin Bashir in 1995. An "explosive tell-all" was how both interviews were described. Mother and son did not hold back when they spoke candidly of the royal family and their relationship with the system which had made their life nothing short of difficult. “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” Diana had famously said in the interview and openly discussed her ex-husband's and her own infidelity. She had also released the pressures of royal life, her experiences of bulimia, and post-natal depression.
The Oprah interview felt like an echo of Diana's interview as Harry and Meghan talked about the abusive tabloids, the rigidity of the royal family, and the racism against Meghan, who also shared how her suicidal thoughts during her pregnancy fell on deaf ears. Harry told Oprah he feared “history was repeating itself” and took a leap to save his wife and son from the toxic environment they were in. Harry and Meghan decided to forgo their responsibilities as senior royal members of the family. Such a move was unprecedented and sent shockwaves in the well-established royal institution just as it had when Diana and Charles decided to separate in 1992.
Prince Harry even mentioned that unlike him, his brother and father were "trapped" in the system. “I am part of the system with them, I always have been, but I guess—and I’m very aware of this—my brother can’t leave that system, but I have. My father and my brother are trapped. They don’t get to leave, and I have huge compassion for that,” he said in the interview. But his father and brother were "outraged" at the insinuation that they were trapped. Their relationship has been frosty and Harry even wrote a letter to his father before going back home to attend Prince Philip's funeral.
Cover image source: Getty Images / (L)Shaun Botterill (R) Fox Photos/Hulton Archive