Prince Charles doesn’t respond to question about Oprah interview
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Harry astonished royal spheres when he announced that he felt “let down” by his father last week. In an interview which ITV aired in the UK, Harry alleged that Charles — and the rest of his family — are “trapped” in the system of the monarchy. The Duke of Sussex also claimed Charles “stopped taking my calls” after he and Meghan Markle publicly declared they would be stepping down from the Firm last January. Charles has not publicly commented on the dramatic interview.
When approached by the press about Harry’s claims, the Prince of Wales chuckled and walked away.
Yet, a friend told Vanity Fair the heir apparent is in “a state of despair” behind closed doors.
This has an eerie similarity to how Prince Philip reacted when Charles gave his own astonishing interview about his personal life in 1994.
The Prince of Wales described his mother, the Queen, as “not indifferent so much as detached” in a famous TV interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, a journalist who also wrote an authorised biography on the heir.
Charles alleged that he often felt “emotionally estranged” from his parents, and that he desired affection he thought they were “unable or unwilling to offer”.
After several discussions, Mr Dimbleby also noted that Charles was “easily cowed by the forceful personality of his father” as a young boy.
He claimed that Philip’s rebukes for a “deficiency in behaviour or attitude… easily drew tears”.
Friends told the author the Duke of Edinburgh was “belittling” towards Charles, while the biography concluded that Philip was “well-meaning but unimaginative”.
Charles’ portrayal of a difficult childhood is also reminiscent of Harry’s recent description of a restricted upbringing.
The Duke of Sussex told Oprah that he enjoys being able to take his son Archie on bike rides “which is something I was never able to do when I was young”.
Charles then told Mr Dimbleby that he had tried to be faithful in his marriage to Princess Diana “until it became irretrievably broken down”, in a move which shattered the Royal Family’s mantra of “never complain, never explain”.
All of these unflattering confessions about life behind Palace walls left the royals reeling.
Writing in her 2005 book, ‘The Firm’, Penny Junor claimed: “The Duke of Edinburgh was incensed, the rest of the family flabbergasted, the Queen’s advisers and courtiers stunned, the prince’s friends appalled.
“The blame fell squarely on (private secretary) Richard Aylard for having allowed Charles to make what many regarded as the worst mistake of his life.
“At the time many people thought it might cost him the throne.”
She added that it was a “great misfortune” Charles “has never been able to be even faintly economical with the truth”.
Philip has not spoken openly about these accusations from Charles about his parenting.
Indeed, royal writer Gyles Brandreth claimed: “All that Prince Philip will say to me on the record about his and his wife’s parenting is, ‘We did our best’.”
However, the Prince of Wales did try to mend the relationship with his parents in 2012, through a TV documentary for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The home videos included idyllic scenes from his childhood, and images of Philip and the Queen playing with their children.
His remarks about his infidelity could not be so easily rectified, and were thought to have encouraged Princess Diana to discuss her marriage with BBC Panorama the next year.
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Mr Dimbleby himself later suggested that the Prince of Wales had not even intended to discuss his marriage, claiming: “The only thing was that I should do nothing to hurt the Princess.”
Some commentators have speculated that Harry’s candid remarks regarding his father may have also been unintentional.
Royal author Sarah Gristwood also told Vanity Fair: “For Prince Harry to say that he felt let down by his father must have been a difficult thing to say and hard for Charles to hear.
“Now, just at a time when by and large Charles had started to look like a more popular King than one would have guessed, here’s a major blow to his reputation.
“That his son felt let down by him.
“It’s hard to know if Harry is aware of the damage this has done.
“Did he actually intend to cast this damaging light on his father and his family? We don’t know.”
Towards the end of his interview with Oprah, Harry admitted that Charles is now taking his calls.
Yet, he added: “There’s a lot to work through there, you know?
“I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar.
“He knows what pain feels like and this… and Archie’s his grandson.
“But at the same time, you know, of course, I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened.
“And I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.”
Oprah With Meghan and Harry is available on the ITV Hub.
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