Queen Elizabeth's Clapback To Meghan And Harry's Oprah Interview Was Reportedly Championed By Kate

In just two short years, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have set off more fireworks than a Macy's July 4 celebration. Their "Megxit" from public life was shocking enough, but Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview revealed some shockers no one was expecting — least of all the royal family. Topping the list was Meghan's claim that while she was pregnant with Prince Archie, a senior member had "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born." The implication, of course, was that the royals had issues with Meghan as a biracial in-law and were perturbed at the thought of a prince's child looking Black. 

Normally tight-lipped about personal matters, Queen Elizabeth issued a statement through Buckingham Palace. Though she assured the public "Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much-loved family members," she added that "recollections may vary" on the issue of race, and the claims "will be addressed by the family privately." This was widely interpreted to mean: Low blow, kiddos. You don't talk like that about your family and get away with it. That marked the beginning of the continuing deep freeze between the Sussexes and the palace. Even now, critics speak of how hurt the late queen must have been to have sent such a pointed reply to her grandson.

But was she? A new book claims it was actually Catherine, Princess of Wales, who was behind the decision to include the denial about Archie's race. 

The princess is playing the long game

Royals watcher Valentine Low published "Courtiers: Intrigue, Ambition, and the Power Players Behind the House of Windsor" in early 2023. A newly released paperback edition now includes the juicy details of the reply to the Oprah interview, recently excerpted in The Times. As reported by the Daily Mail, Queen Elizabeth insisted on watching the special first before making a statement, so it wasn't until the following day that the monarch, her family, and staff met to discuss the next steps.

According to the insiders who spoke to Low, the palace statement originally didn't say "recollections may vary." A courtier suggested adding the phrase, and at first, there were objections from the queen's officials. But Princess Catherine and William, Prince of Wales, wanted to "toughen up" the reply to make their disapproval clear — Kate most of all. "It was Kate who clearly made the point, 'History will judge this statement and unless this phrase or a phrase like it is included, everything that they have said will be taken as true,'" a source says in the book. After reflecting on it, the queen finally gave her approval. The same source adds Kate's motives went far beyond a simple knee-jerk reaction: "She is playing the long game. She has always got her eye on, 'This is my life and my historic path and I am going to be the Queen one day.'" 

The incident was just another highlight in the long-standing William/Kate vs. Harry/Meghan rift — one that remains wide open to this day.