Less than 24 hours after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview aired in the UK, Buckingham Palace has rallied its resources and delivered a response directly from the Queen — one that’s notably more familiar than the last missive issued regarding their final exodus as working members of the royal family. While Prince Charles and Prince William have reportedly lodged their less-than-thrilled reactions with those close to them, the Queen says the family is “saddened” to hear of Meghan and Harry’s treatment as royals, and that they intend to private handle the issues raised.
In a statement tweeted out by CBS correspondent Nancy Chen, the royal institution had this to say, preceded by the disclosure “the following statement is issued by Buckingham Palace on behalf of her Majesty the Queen.”
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” the statement reads. “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
The ending to this statement echoes the ending to the Feb. 19 announcement that Harry and Meghan would be cutting ties permanently, which reads: “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family.”
The change in how Harry and Meghan are addressed isn’t because they’ve been stripped of their Duke and Duchess titles, which remain though they do not have HRH rights. And while perhaps the Queen thought nothing of it, it seems unlikely that she would choose words carelessly in such a brief statement, and all the more so unlikely because of what this less formal address might indicate.
By calling them Harry and Meghan instead of the Duke and Duchess, the Queen may be honoring the kind of relationship they indicated in their interview they’d like to have with her — one where they can pick up the phone and ask how she is without worrying about the international ramifications. They don’t want to be a Duke and Duchess; they want to be Harry and Meghan. Archie’s great-grandmother may always be Her Majesty, but it looks like she’s honoring their request not to follow suit.
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