How convenient, a series of grim allegations about Harry and Meghan have been briefed to the press just days before their Oprah interview
Allegations of Meghan Markle bullying staff and wearing jewellery gifted by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia hit the tabloids
How to describe the relationship Meghan Markle and her husband, a former British Army soldier, share with the UK's royal family? Estranged undersells it somewhat. The pair effectively dumped the queen last year, sending royalists’ heads spinning and making commentators launch dummies from prams like wedding confetti on the Mall.
This, among other subjects, will be discussed in a soon-to-air interview between Markle, Windsor and Oprah Winfrey. Clips of the sit-down tease Harry's fears of "history repeating itself," a remarkably diplomatic description of his and his wife's treatment by the British tabloid press, institutions of truth, civility and reason that they are. And indeed, their treatment of Harry's mother, princess Diana.
"I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago, because it has been unbelievably tough for the two of us - but at least we had each other," he says.
This has seemingly gone down like a cup of cold sick at Buckingham Palace and apparently been interpreted as a form of PR guerrilla warfare.
Just four days before the interview is due to air, explosive allegations about Meghan Markle have appeared in the British press.
In the Times today, several of Meghan’s former staffers reportedly accuse her of bullying - claiming she drove two personal assistants out of their then household at Kensington Palace.
We're not here to debate the merits of bullying, there are none. Complaints of bullying should be fully investigated. These ones weren't. Apparently due to pressure from prince Harry. So say anonymous sources.
"It's like when people would attack Dirty Den in the street. It's not real! Why do you f****** care?"
Author @estellecostanza tells @OliDugmore there's nothing more embarrassing than a sad obsession with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. pic.twitter.com/CjKKfhLM9R
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) February 24, 2021
The Times also reports Meghan wore earrings gifted by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. just. three weeks. after the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The attack is strange. Not in its timing or obvious intent. But in its smear subject matter. Morally reprehensible jewellery? From an Arab dictator? Please.
The British public has spent £1.4 million flying royals on jollies to a dazzling array of Middle Eastern monarchies since the Arab spring. Visits to the murderous royal rulers of Bahrain top the list in that time, 44 in total.
In second place? Saudi Arabia. British royals visited the Kingdom, ruled by the House of Saud since 1937, to kiss the hand and bend the knee 40 times.
The House of Saud, by the way, to which her majesty's government sells weapons of war. Billions of pounds' worth of them. Arms used in the brutal bombing of Yemen, where the worst humanitarian crisis in decades is unfolding.
Beefing at the jewellery's origin is even more bizarre, given the stolen treasure trove of jewels the royal family holds in its possession, harvested from former colonies, including that big hat the queen likes to wear. I believe it's called The Crown.
India sued the Queen in 2015 demanding the return of a stolen £100 million diamond, taken violently during the colonial era, which resides within the 'British' crown jewels.
But Meghan is the issue here, eh?
As for personal impropriety, has Buckingham Palace forgotten about Jeffrey Epstein's pal and eighth in line to the throne prince Andrew?
Far better to launch a scathing, public attack on a pregnant family member whose only crime appears to be having the audacity to call out royal bullshit.
A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said: "Let’s just call this what it is a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.
"The duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been a target of bullying herself - and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.
"She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good."
Buckingham Palace released a statement this evening, saying it was "clearly very concerned."
"Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned," it said.
"The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace."
The two-hour special, Oprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” with Oprah will be broadcast in the US on CBS this Sunday.
It will be broadcast in the UK the following day, March 8, at 9pm - with ITV reportedly paying £1 million to air the programme.