Prince Edward says Harry and Meghan fallout is 'very sad' and has been difficult for everyone

Watch: Edward admits to 'staying way out of' royal rift

Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son, has said the situation with Harry and Meghan is "very sad" and has been difficult for everyone - but added that he stays "way out of it".

The Earl of Wessex, 57, was speaking on what would have been his father's 100th birthday as he reflected on his life and legacy. The Duke of Edinburgh died nine weeks short of the milestone.

Prince Philip was known for his dislike of any fuss, and was said to not be looking forward to the birthday, reportedly once saying he could not think of anything worse than turning 100.

But Edward and the Royal Family's tributes have been somewhat overshadowed by the ongoing rift between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who formally left their senior royal roles earlier this year and are living in California, where they have welcomed their second child.

The decision to name her Lilibet, after the Queen's nickname as a child, has reignited the transatlantic rift, with palace sources appearing to refuse to back Harry and Meghan's claim that the monarch was supportive of the choice of name.

Edward told CNN the situation was "very sad" and added: "Listen, weirdly we've all been there before — we've all had excessive intrusion and attention in our lives.

"And we've all dealt with it in slightly different ways, and listen, we wish them the very best of luck. It's a really hard decision."

He said: "It's difficult for everyone but that's families for you."

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The Earl of Wessex was asked in a BBC interview how he viewed the situation he said: "I stay way out of it. It's much the safest place to be."

But he agreed that there was sadness around it and said: "We have all had that same spotlight shone on our lives and been subjected to massive intrusion."

Asked about the name Lilibet having "significance" to the family, he replied: "We just wish them all happiness, it's fantastic news. [We] hope they're very happy."

On Wednesday the BBC reported that palace officials said the Queen had not approved the name Lilibet, but within 90 minutes, Harry and Meghan had responded that they had spoken to her after their baby was born, and would not have named her such without the Queen's support.

Prince Charles leading his father by the hand from the Viking Aircraft of the King's Flight in which the Duke of Edinburgh arrived home from Malta. The 2 year old Prince went to London airport to greet his father, while his mother, Princess Elizabeth, was at Ascot races to watch the Festival Stakes. The Duke has just handed over his command of the frigate, Magpie.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Prince Charles leading his father by the hand from the Viking Aircraft of the King's Flight in which the Duke of Edinburgh arrived home from Malta in 1951. The picture was shared by Charles on what would have been Philip's 100th birthday. (PA Images via Getty Images)

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The Times reported receiving a legal letter from Schillings, the duke and duchess's lawyers, saying the claim from the BBC was defamatory.

A statement from Harry and Meghan's spokesman said: "The Duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement, in fact his grandmother was the first family member he called.

"During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour. Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name."

Speaking at an event for Age Unlimited on Wednesday evening, biographer Hugo Vickers speculated that the prince may have attended a church service for his 100th birthday as he did when he turned 80 and 90, were he still alive.

Clarence House shared two images of the duke on its Instagram page to mark what would have been his 100th birthday, while the Queen received a newly bred rose from the Royal Horticultural Society which was planted at the East Terrace Garden in Windsor Castle.

One of the images from Clarence House, which documents the work of Prince Charles and Camilla, shared a picture of Charles as a child greeting his father after he returned from a trip to Malta in 1951.