Why Prince Harry's Interview With James Corden May Have Breached Royal Etiquette

Prince Harry may have stepped away from his role in the royal family in favor of a quieter life with Meghan Markle and their children, but that decision has come with consequences. The "Megxit" move didn't sit well with British citizens; the approval rating of the couple dropped sharply last year (via YouGov). The troubled relationship between Harry and brother Prince William became frostier still (via Page Six). And Harry's beloved Granny, Queen Elizabeth, was reportedly upset with the couple for their apparent clapback to being stripped of their royal patronages (via The International News). The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made their new home in Southern California, which has created additional problems; not only can't they go visit Harry's family even if they wanted to (COVID, y'know), it has also eliminated any chance Meghan had of becoming a British citizen.

The latest source of friction is the prince's recent TV appearance. To the delight of fans, Harry was a special guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden. As the two took a bus tour of L.A., Harry discussed how the relentless media attention was behind their decision to step back. He then added sweet tidbits about life as a family man, including their nightly routine of watching Jeopardy!, little Archie's first word, and the useful gift the Queen gave their son for Christmas (a waffle iron).

The interview itself seemed harmless enough — but it still may go down as another strike against the ginger royal.

Some feel Prince Harry was stealing the Queen's thunder

Although neither the Queen nor any other royal family member has publicly commented on the Late Late Show appearance, it's said that they're none too pleased. It so happens that the Queen made a televised public service announcement that same night, urging all eligible British citizens to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Critics call this a serious lapse in protocol and courtesy that made Harry look as if he were trying to steal his grandmother's thunder.

The Daily Mail quotes an unnamed palace insider as saying the timing of the James Corden interview was "unhelpful," adding, "When the Queen speaks, as she has done about the vaccine, it is accepted that she has a clear field." 

Royal biographer Robert Jobson pointed out the irony of the situation: "On the day that the Queen has issued a very, very important message about the whole of the nation getting the jab, that message has sort of been blurred by Harry — the man who wants a private life — talking about his private life again." Jobson allowed that the scheduling clash was probably accidental, but that it still "diluted" the impact that the Queen's broadcast should have had.

This won't be the last time the prince and his family will cross paths in this manner. On March 7, the royal family — including the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William — will air a special Commonwealth message just hours before the much-anticipated Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah (via Variety).