Prince Harry turns his fire on ‘dangerous’ Camilla in incendiary US TV interview

Prince Harry turns his fire on ‘dangerous’ Camilla in incendiary US TV interview

Prince Harry risked deepening his rift with his father on Monday after describing Camilla as “the villain” and “dangerous” in his latest TV interview.

The duke made a series of claims about the Queen Consort on the CBS show 60 Minutes. It had previously been claimed that criticism of Camilla was seen by Charles as a “red line” — raising fears that Harry’s relationship with his father could be irrecoverably damaged.

He told US interviewer Anderson Cooper: “She was the villain, she was a third person in the marriage, she needed to rehabilitate her image.”

He added: “The need for her to rehabilitate her image... that made her dangerous because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was open willingness on both sides to trade information and with a family built on hierarchy, and with her on the way to being Queen Consort, there was going to be people or bodies left in the street because of that.”

The duke writes in his memoir Spare how he and William begged the King not to marry Camilla, and he told Mr Cooper: “We didn’t think it was necessary. We thought it would do more harm than good.”

In the interview Harry also hinted that he and wife Meghan will never give up their royal titles, asking “what difference would that make?”

Harry spoke about the royal family’s mistrust of his wife Meghan Markle in the interview with Anderson Cooper (60 Minutes)
Harry spoke about the royal family’s mistrust of his wife Meghan Markle in the interview with Anderson Cooper (60 Minutes)

The claims about his stepmother are among several bombshell statements made by Harry on Sunday night including:

- He was not invited on the royal plane taking family members to Balmoral on the day the Queen died.

- He watched videos of his mother to try to make himself cry.

- He believes taking psychedelic drugs can help people dealing with loss and grief.

- He admitted he had not spoken to his brother or father “in a while”.

Harry was challenged on his view of the Queen Consort during his ITV interview on Sunday night with Tom Bradby, who accused him of being “scathing” towards her in the book but he insisted he was simply being “very clear” about what happened and in Spare described how Camilla “began to play the long game”.

He wrote she clearly had a plan that included “a campaign aimed at marriage, and eventually the Crown, with Pa’s blessing we presumed”.

In a different interview in the US with ABC's Good Morning America broadcast on Monday the Duke of Sussex claimed the Queen Consort "sacrificed me on her personal PR altar" but also sympathised with her, saying that she is not an "evil stepmother".

He said: "I have a huge amount of compassion for her, you know. Being the third person within my parents' marriage and she had a reputation, or an image, to rehabilitate.

"Whatever conversations happened, whatever deals or trading was made right at the beginning, she was led to believe that that would be the best way of doing it."

Harry’s pointed reference to his stepmother as the “third person in the marriage” is being seen as a deliberate reminder of how she has rebuilt her public reputation following her affair with Charles. The now King confessed to adultery in 1994 in a TV interview but said it only happened after his marriage had “irretrievably broken down”.

Harry and wife Meghan and William, Kate and Charles at a Christmas Day morning church service at Sandringham (PA Archive/PA Images)
Harry and wife Meghan and William, Kate and Charles at a Christmas Day morning church service at Sandringham (PA Archive/PA Images)

The following year Diana famously told the BBC Panorama documentary “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” a reference to Camilla.

After Charles and Camilla both divorced their respective partners — and Diana died in a Paris crash in 1997 — the duchess’s emergence as the prince’s long-term partner was part of a carefully-planned PR campaign. Camilla, who married Charles in 2005 and has spent more than 17 years as a member of the royal family, was endorsed by the late Queen to be Queen Consort on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February 2022.

The claims are the latest in a series made by Harry in advance of Tuesday’s publication of his book.

These have included details of drug use, his service in Afghanistan, losing his virginity behind a country pub and how a row over his wife ended in an alleged violent argument, with his brother knocking him to the ground at his London home.

Harry, who is said to have been paid $20 million for the book, appeared to backtrack on claims made during his interview with Oprah Winfrey that a member of the royal family made a racist comment about his son Archie, instead claiming it was “the British press” that made the allegation.

I don't watch Game of Thrones but there's definitely dragons

Duke of Sussex

Harry also blamed journalists for the state of his relationship with his brother, telling Mr Cooper that the pair would be “a hell of a lot closer” if it wasn’t for press interference.

He said: “I don’t know where William and I would be on a relationship level if the British press weren’t involved, but we would certainly be a hell of a lot closer than we are now. (William’s) life is very much chosen for him. Perhaps my life wasn’t chosen for me.

“But equally I felt like I needed to make something of my life so that I didn’t end up as a spare spare.”

Asked about how Diana would feel about the relationship between the brothers, he replied: “I think she’ll be sad that it is where it is now. I believe that she would want reconciliation, and I hope that is what’s achievable.”

Those certain members have decided to get in the bed with the devil, right, to rehabilitate their image

Duke of Sussex

Asked if he could see a day when he would return as a full-time member of the royal family, Harry said: “I can’t see that happening”.

Questioned by Mr Cooper if the “rupture” with his family could ever be healed, he said: “Yes, the ball is very much in their court”.

Both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have refused to comment on Harry’s interviews and the excerpts from the book, though sources close to the King have made it clear he will not read the book or watch the interviews.

On Monday author Omid Scobie, who is close to Harry and Meghan, said the duke is clearly “very confident in the story that he’s telling” and that it has taken him a long time to get to this point.

Prince Harry: The Duke of Sussex - In pictures

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
2019: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 (Getty Images)
2019: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 (Getty Images)
2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss on the steps of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor (PA)
2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle kiss on the steps of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after their wedding in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor (PA)
2014: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales look at a mobile phone as they watch the athletics at Lee Valley Track during the Invictus Games on September 11, 2014 in London (Getty Images)
2014: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales look at a mobile phone as they watch the athletics at Lee Valley Track during the Invictus Games on September 11, 2014 in London (Getty Images)
1990: Princes William and Harry with Diana starting a new term atWetherby School, Notting Hill Gate (Daily Mail)
1990: Princes William and Harry with Diana starting a new term atWetherby School, Notting Hill Gate (Daily Mail)
1993: Prince Harry aged 8 years old in a tank watching a mock battle during a visit to the Light Dragoons in Hannover, Germany (Jeremy Selwyn)
1993: Prince Harry aged 8 years old in a tank watching a mock battle during a visit to the Light Dragoons in Hannover, Germany (Jeremy Selwyn)
1993:
1993:
1995: The Prince and Princess of Wales with sons Prince William and Prince Harry, attending the VJ Day commemorations at Buckingham Palace (PA )
1995: The Prince and Princess of Wales with sons Prince William and Prince Harry, attending the VJ Day commemorations at Buckingham Palace (PA )
1997: Prince Charles (R), former husband of Diana, their two sons, Harry (C) and  William follow the hearse in a Limousine as the coffin of Princess of Wales, makes its way from Saint James's Palace to Kensington Palace, Diana's former home, 05 September in London on the eve of her funeral. Some 2 million people are expected to line the route of the funeral procession (AFP/Getty Images)
1997: Prince Charles (R), former husband of Diana, their two sons, Harry (C) and William follow the hearse in a Limousine as the coffin of Princess of Wales, makes its way from Saint James's Palace to Kensington Palace, Diana's former home, 05 September in London on the eve of her funeral. Some 2 million people are expected to line the route of the funeral procession (AFP/Getty Images)
1997: The funeral of Princess Diana (Jeremy Selwyn)
1997: The funeral of Princess Diana (Jeremy Selwyn)
2001: Prince Harry takes part in an exhibition Polo match July 28, 2001 at Cirencester Park Polo Club in Gloucestershire (Getty Images)
2001: Prince Harry takes part in an exhibition Polo match July 28, 2001 at Cirencester Park Polo Club in Gloucestershire (Getty Images)

He was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if he gets the feeling from the couple’s team that this is how they intend to continue, “that there will be more salvos of this kind, that this is what their brand is going to be”.

Mr Scobie said he thinks the couple “have to be quite careful right now”, adding there has been a lot of focus on their private life and the brand has been “very much about drama” that has been played out very publicly.