In two interviews with British and US networks ITV and CBS, the Duke of Sussex spoke of the death of his mother, the former Princess of Wales; his disdain for the British press; his anger over the treatment of his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and the subsequent fallout with his family since their marriage.
Speaking to CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday, Prince Harry accused Camilla, Queen Consort, of leaking stories about the family to the British media as part of her campaign to “rehabilitate” her image. He said he hadn’t spoken with his brother, Prince William, and his father, King Charles III, for “a while,” adding the “ball is very much in their court” when asked about the possibility of a reconciliation.
Buckingham Palace has repeatedly declined to comment on the contents of Prince Harry’s forthcoming memoir, which has been the subject of leaks detailing some of his most controversial claims. CNN has not seen a copy of the book but has requested an advance copy from the publisher Penguin Random House.
The interviews came hours before the publication of his memoir publishes Tuesday at midnight London time (7 p.m. ET Monday), as Prince Harry continues to push back against what he refers to as “the institution,” revealing his perspective on life inside the royal family.
Speaking to CBS’ Anderson Cooper, Prince Harry said both he and his brother, Prince William, had asked the King not to marry Camilla.
“We didn’t think it was necessary. We thought that it was gonna cause more harm than good and that if he was now with his person, that – surely that’s enough.”
But he said the brothers eventually came around to the idea: “We wanted him to be happy. And we saw how happy he was with her.”
However, the Duke of Sussex added that Camilla was “dangerous” because she’d been cast as a “villain” by the press for her role in the collapse of his parents’ marriage and needed to “rehabilitate her image.”
“That made her dangerous because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was open willingness on both sides to trade of information. And with a family built on hierarchy, and with her, on the way to being Queen Consort, there was gonna be people or bodies left in the street because of that,” Prince Harry said.
The CBS interview included a reference to Harry’s memoir when he reportedly wrote about being “sacrificed” on Camilla’s “personal P.R. altar.”
By way of explanation, the duke told Cooper: “If you are led to believe, as a member of the family, that being on the front page, having positive headlines, positive stories written about you, is going to improve your reputation or increase the chances of you being accepted as monarch by the British public, then that’s what you’re gonna do. “
Camilla married then Prince Charles in 2005, eight years after the death of his first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales. The two had been involved romantically on and off for decades, and Diana had once famously referred to Camilla as the third person in their marriage.
In the interview and in excerpts from his memoir shared by ITV, the Duke of Sussex referred to the British press as an “antagonist” that wanted to “create as much conflict as possible.”
“The saddest part of that is certain members of my family and the people that work for them are complicit in that conflict,” he added.
He stated that the “leaking” and “planting” of “a royal source” to the press “is not an unknown person, it is the palace specifically briefing the press, but covering their tracks by being unnamed.”
Prince Harry added that he thinks “that’s pretty shocking to people. Especially when you realize how many palace sources, palace insiders, senior palace officials, how many quotes are being attributed to those people, some of the most heinous, horrible things have been said about me and my wife, completely condoned by the palace because it’s coming from the palace, and those journalists have literally been spoon-fed that narrative without ever coming to us, without ever seeing or questioning the other side.”
Prince Harry echoed those sentiments with CBS’ Cooper, adding even at the young age of 12, he felt resentment toward the British media.
“It was obvious to us as kids the British press’ part in our mother’s misery and I had a lot of anger inside of me that luckily, I never expressed to anybody,” he said. “But I resorted to drinking heavily. Because I wanted to numb the feeling, or I wanted to distract myself from how … whatever I was thinking. And I would, you know, resort to drugs as well.”
In both interviews, Prince Harry spoke about how his mother was hunted by paparazzi, recalling the traumatic night his father told him Princess Diana had died from injuries sustained in a car crash.
“I really think about how many hours he’d been awake. And the compassion that I have for him, as a parent having to sit with that for many, many hours, ringing up friends of his, trying to work out, how the hell do I break this to my two sons?”
Harry said he never wants to find himself having to do the same.
“I don’t want history to repeat itself. I do not want to be a single dad. And I certainly don’t want my children to have a life without a mother or a father,” Prince Harry told ITV’s Bradby.
Diana was killed in 1997, when the car she was traveling in crashed inside a Paris tunnel. Prince Harry was 12 years old at the time. He told Cooper his memories of the days that followed are blurry, but recalls seeing the throng of people outside Buckingham Palace who came to offer their condolences.
“I think it’s bizarre, because I see William and me smiling,” he said. “I remember the guilt that I felt … The fact that the people that we were meeting were showing more emotion than we were showing, maybe more emotion than we even felt.”
Prince Harry told Cooper he “refused to accept she was gone” and for “many years” believed she had decided to disappear.
The Duke of Sussex said he only cried once his mother’s coffin went into the ground. “That was the first time that I actually cried… there was never another time,” he said.
Prince Harry also recalled the events around the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle. The duke was at a charity event in London when the palace announced that the Queen was under medical supervision.
“I asked my brother – I said, “What are your plans? How are you and Kate getting up there?” And then, a couple of hours later… all of the family members that live within the Windsor and Ascot area were jumping on a plane together, a plane with 12, 14, maybe 16 seats,” he said. “I was not invited.”
He recalled spending time with the Queen in her bedroom after she had died.
“I was really happy for her. Because she’d finished life. She’d completed life, and her husband was waiting for her. And the two of them are buried together,” Prince Harry said.
Despite the fractured relationship between the two brothers, Prince Harry told Cooper he loved William “deeply.”
“My brother and I love each other. I love him deeply,” the Duke of Sussex said. “There has been a lot of pain between the two of us, especially the last six years.”
He added that nothing he has written is “ever intended to hurt my family.”
“But it does give a full picture of the situation as we were growing up, and also squashes this idea that somehow my wife was the one that destroyed the relationship between these two brothers,” Prince Harry said.
The book’s title of “Spare” is a reference to an “heir and a spare,” a saying in the United Kingdom that refers to the need to have a child to inherit an aristocratic title. Harry was next in line to the British throne after William until William’s children were born – now he’s fifth in the line of succession.
The strained relationship between the brothers has been a common theme in leaked excerpts from the book and Harry’s media interviews, which revealed deep divisions between the siblings.
Perhaps the most incendiary revelation to emerge was Prince Harry’s claim of a scuffle with the Prince of Wales during an argument over his wife in 2019, as he described while reading in an excerpt of his memoir on ITV on Sunday.
Prince Harry said his brother never tried to dissuade him from marrying Meghan, but expressed some concerns and told him, “‘This is going be really hard for you,’” Prince Harry recalled during his interview with Bradby.
“I still to this day don’t truly understand which part of what he was talking about,” Prince Harry continued. “Maybe he predicted what the British press’s reaction was going to be.”
The Duke of Sussex also told ITV’s Bradby about his decision to write the book, saying, “38 years of having my story told by so many different people, with intentional spin and distortion felt like a good time to tell own my story and be able to tell it for myself. I’m actually really grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to tell my story because it’s my story to tell.”
Prince Harry pointed out that he has tried over the last six years to resolve his concerns with his family privately.
“It never needed to get to this point. I have had conversations, I have written letters, I have written emails, and everything is just, ‘No, you, this is not what’s happening. You, you are imagining it,’” he said. “That’s really hard to take. And if it had stopped, by the point that I fled my home country with my wife and my son fearing for our lives, then maybe this would have turned out differently. It’s hard.”
The duke said he wants “reconciliation but first there needs to be some accountability,” with respect to his family.
Prince Harry has previously blamed the constant media intrusion as a critical stressor for him and his wife that ultimately led to their decision to step down as working members of the royal family in 2021.
In a six-part Netflix documentary released last month, the couple said press attacks, the lack of action from the palace to prevent them and the couple’s increasing suspicions that the royal household was actually feeding the media pushed Meghan to a dark place.
“You can’t just continue to say to me that I’m delusional and paranoid when all the evidence is stacked up, because I was genuinely terrified about what is going to happen to me,” Prince Harry told ITV’s Bradby.
“And then we have a 12-month transition period and everyone doubles down. My wife shares her experience. And instead of backing off, both the institution and the tabloid media in the UK, both doubled down,” he added.
Still, the duke said, “forgiveness is 100% a possibility.”
“There’s probably a lot of people who, after watching the documentary and reading the book, will go, how could you ever forgive your family for what they have done? People have already said that to me. And I said forgiveness is 100% a possibility because I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back. At the moment, I don’t recognize them, as much as they probably don’t recognize me,” Prince Harry said.
On Monday, the duke’s interview with “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan will air on the ABC show, followed in the evening by a half-hour special on ABC News Live. And to top things off, the duke will make an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” after his book is released.
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