Harry accuses royal family of ‘getting into bed with devil’ to improve image

Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter

Sun, 8 January 2023 at 10:40 pm GMT

The Duke of Sussex has accused his family of “getting into bed with the devil” to rehabilitate their image, and the King of sacrificing Harry’s interests in favour of his own.

In his first primetime television interview promoting his controversial memoir, Harry also criticised “family members” for a “really horrible reaction” on the day the Queen died, with leakings and briefings.

He also told ITV’s Tom Bradby that he loved his father Charles and brother the Prince of Wales, but said: “At the moment, I don’t recognise them, as much as they probably don’t recognise me.”

“Nothing of what I’ve done in this book or otherwise has ever been any intention to harm them or hurt them,” he added.

Duke of Sussex autobiography – Spare
The Duke of Sussex during his interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby in California (Harry: The Interview on ITV1/PA)

Harry’s book Spare, due out on Tuesday, has sparked a furore over his claims that William physically attacked him, and his admission he killed 25 Taliban members during the Afghanistan war.

Harry said he wanted reconciliation with his father and brother, and forgiveness was 100% a possibility, but grilled by Bradby on whether he had taken a “flamethrower” to any bridges, the duke insisted: “Silence only allows the abuser to abuse.”

“They’ve shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile up until this point. And I’m not sure how honesty is burning bridges,” Harry added.

Harry lambasted the British press throughout the sit-down interview, and accused the royals of being “complicit” in the conflict the media created.

“The saddest part of that is certain members of my family and the people that work for them are complicit in that conflict,” he said.

Harry also denied that he accused the royal family of racism in his Oprah interview, when he and the Duchess of Sussex revealed an unnamed family member raised concerns about how dark their unborn son’s skin would be.

“No I didn’t…the British press said that…did Meghan every mention that they’re racist?…There was concern about his skin colour,” the duke said.

Bradby asked: “Wouldn’t you describe that as essentially racist?” Harry replied: “I wouldn’t, not having lived within that family.”

The claims in March 2021 left Oprah open-mouthed with shock and plunged the monarchy into crisis as it faced accusations of racism, but Harry again refused to name the royal allegedly involved.

Monarchy in crisis after series of revelations by Meghan
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their interview with Oprah Winfrey (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions/PA)

He also backed the Queen’s former lady in waiting Lady Susan Hussey who quit an honorary role after asking a black British domestic violence campaigner where she really came from.

“Meghan and I love Susan Hussey…She never meant any harm at all,” he said.

Other key moments from the Sunday night programme, which ran for 1 hour 40 minutes, include:

– Harry said it was “fair” to say William and the Princess of Wales did not get on with Meghan from the beginning.

– His compassion for Charles at having to break the news to his son that their mother Diana, Princess of Wales was dead.

– How Charles once told Harry as he discussed his struggles: “I suppose it’s my fault. I should have got you the help you needed years ago.”

– Harry describing how he fled his home country with his wife and son fearing for his life.

– His fears of becoming a single father if history with Diana repeated itself with Meghan

– How the people “predominantly responsible” for the princess’s death “all got away with it”.

– Harry called the bluff of a tabloid editor who threatened to expose a photo of him taking cocaine.

– Harry denying that he was “scathing” towards Camilla and the rest of his family.

Harry’s tell-all tales in his book include recounting how he took cocaine and magic mushrooms and lost his virginity to an older woman in a field behind a busy pub, and the stories have dominated the headlines for days.

With Brady bringing up the duke writing about losing his virginity at the age of 17, Harry said: “It’s four lines or something…if that”, and then quipped to the ITV News At Ten presenter: “We can talk about you losing your virginity, if you want?”

Harry also revealed how he felt “slightly isolated” and different from his family in his younger years following the death of his mother, but shared joyful times with his great-grandmother the Queen Mother.

Speaking about Charles and William, Harry said: “I love my father. I love my brother. I love my family. I will always do.

Royal wedding
Harry and William on the duke’s wedding day (Chris Jackson/PA)

“Nothing of what I’ve done in this book or otherwise has ever been any intention to harm them or hurt them.

“The truth is something that I need to rely on, and after many, many years of lies being told about me and my family, there comes a point where, you know, again, going back to the relationship between certain members of the family and the tabloid press, those certain members have decided to get in the bed with the devil, right, to rehabilitate their image.”

As Bradby outlined Harry’s criticisms of his father including that the duke’s interests are “sacrificed to his interests, certainly when it comes to the press”, the duke said he understood the need to have that relationship with the tabloid press but did not agree with it.

He said there had been “incredibly hurtful” decisions, adding: “And they, and it continues. It hasn’t stopped. It’s continuing the whole, the whole way through.”

Harry said he wrote his book because “38 years of having my story told by so many different people, with intentional spin and distortion felt like a good time to own my story and be able to tell it for myself”.

He added: “You know, I don’t think that if I was still part of the institution that I would have been given this chance to.”

The interview, filmed in California, is the first of four broadcast appearances over the coming days, with Harry also speaking to Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes on CBS News on Sunday night, Michael Strahan of Good Morning America on Monday and Stephen Colbert on the Late Show on CBS on Wednesday morning UK time.

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