Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are being urged by some commentators in the U.K. to ask CBS to postpone the airing of its Oprah Winfrey interview, in which they are expected to mount a stinging attack on the royal family, as concern mounts over Prince Philip’s prospects of beating an infection.
Philip, 99, was moved to a specialist heart hospital on Monday and royal sources have been quoted by British newspapers saying the family is “pretty appalled” at the idea of the interview, which Oprah has said sees Meghan saying “pretty shocking things” being broadcast while Philip is so unwell.
Penny Junor, author of Prince Harry, Brother, Soldier, Son, told The Daily Beast that airing the interview while Prince Philip was undergoing very public health travails risked making the interview look inappropriate, saying, “Anything could hijack this interview. Philip is ill. He is 99 and could die at any time. They were not to know he would get ill, but it could be seen to be the wrong time. But I doubt it is in their gift to postpone the interview. The control is in the hands of CBS and Oprah.”
Robert Lacey, historical consultant for The Crown and author of the definitive royal biography Majesty, told The Daily Beast, “I think it would be a marvelous turnaround for Harry’s image if he took the brave step of canceling the whole thing this weekend—or, if that’s not practical, postponing it at least.”
Royal commentator and former editor of Who’s Who Richard Fitzwilliams said it would “surely be appropriate” to postpone the interview.
He told MailOnline, “Oprah is their friend and neighbor and would undoubtedly comply if asked and the gesture would I am sure be appreciated by the royal family. If an interview has been extended, as this recently has, it can also be postponed, as this undoubtedly should be.”
Royal biographer Robert Jobson told the Mail, “With the Duke of Edinburgh clearly very unwell, the fact that the couple plan to go ahead with airing their self-indulgent, no-holds-barred interview with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey makes them appear heartless, thoughtless, and supremely selfish.
“For U.S. broadcast network CBS, this interview is a coup, all about securing big viewing figures and big advert sales around the airing of their exclusive interview. So even if they wanted to, Harry and Meghan probably couldn’t dictate terms to Oprah Winfrey and the network now. Too much has been invested.”
A TV industry insider told the Mirror, “CBS has sold millions of dollars worth of advertising around the interview, but bosses are aware of the delicacy of the Duke’s health. They have no loyalty to the royal family, although some feel as though they do to Harry and Meghan. For it to run if Philip’s condition worsened would be like setting off a diplomatic bomb. It would be grossly insensitive and hugely disrespectful.”