What if Harry and Meghan’s most controversial act wasn’t that controversial to begin with?
While that rebellious royal duo seems to be finding new trouble to get into each day, it seems most of the Royal Family considers Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey to be their most controversial act yet. That’s because the two didn’t hold back on airing out dirty family laundry, including the fact that then-Prince Charles had financially cut Harry off and that an unnamed senior member of the Royal Family made racist statements concerning Meghan’s unborn child.
What may surprise you, though, is that Harry and Meghan aren’t the only royals who’ve had such bombshell interviews. In fact, you could say that it was actually Harry’s parents who invented this type of cringe-worthy interview. Which other royals had such interviews, and what juicy tea did they spill? Keep reading to find out!
Charles and Diana: the awkward engagement interview
It was extremely awkward for the public to basically watch Prince Charles and Diana’s marriage fall apart right in front of us. Of course, as things got worse between them, some people couldn’t help but wonder about the clues that had been in front of us all along that spelled out a marriage in trouble.
Perhaps the biggest clue came from their engagement interview back in 1981. This was meant to be a routine interview, and it included the simple question of whether Charles and Diana were in love or not. As Marie Claire reports, while Diana gave an enthusiastic and affirmative response, a diffident Charles responded with “Whatever love means.”
It was awkward as hell at the time, and only made more awkward in later years by Charles’ ongoing affair with now-Queen Camilla. Diana didn’t hold back in her memoir, either, writing that Charles’ cruel response “traumatized me.”
Diana: BBC interview about infidelity
While that engagement interview was bad enough, Princess Diana’s 1995 BBC interview with Martin Bashir got very real, very fast. And while there is an ongoing scandal that Bashir allegedly connived his way into the interview, nobody can deny that Diana’s responses painted a bleak picture of both her marriage to Prince Charles and the Royal Family as a whole.
As the History Channel reports, the most infamous quote from the interview concerned Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” But there was plenty more drama here, including Diana casually admitting to her own affair with riding instructor and former army officer James Hewitt.
In an eerie parallel with Meghan Markle’s later statements to Oprah, Diana was also very frank about her struggles with mental health and how instead of helping her, the Royal Family rushed to provide a “wonderful new label” to her: “Diana’s unstable and Diana’s mentally unbalanced.”
Sarah Ferguson spoke out against British tabloids
While Princess Diana always generated more headlines, Sarah Ferguson was also frequently the topic of tabloid gossip, earning the slightly-derogatory nickname “Fergie.” And in 1996, the same year that she finalized her divorce from Prince Andrew, she decided to take back control of her life’s story by giving Oprah Winfrey a tell-all interview.
As E! News reports, the interview touched on many spicy subjects. First, she went after the tabloids themselves, telling Oprah “I must explain that the British press at the moment is completely and utterly cruel and abusive and so invasive.” Continuing, she said that “It is very cruel and very painful when you are going to try and find the feelings within to be on such a public stage.”
Second, she wasn’t afraid to take potshots at both Prince Andrew and the Royal Family as a whole. Somewhat cryptically, she said that “You didn’t marry the fairytale, you married a man,” and “you have to come to terms with the fairytale. Now it’s not a fairy tale, it’s real life.” Weirdly enough, she was also blunt about how miserable it was to live in Buckingham Palace: “It was all burgundy, and very dark, and all the lightbulbs were only 30 amps so it was very dark.”
Prince Andrew’s insane BBC interview
As we said before, it’s always Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview that people fixate on when it comes to bad royal interviews. But that was nothing compared to Prince Andrew’s in November 2019 which basically destroyed his reputation and even destroyed his career as a working royal.
By this time, it was well-known that Andrew had been friendly with disgraced and deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. More alarmingly, Andrew was also facing charges (later dropped after he made a settlement with the woman in question) that he had raped an underage girl allegedly procured for him by Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
In other words, this interview was Andrew’s big chance to save his reputation, and as the Los Angeles Times points out, he blew it in every possible way. His alleged victim accused him of being sweaty during the act, and Andrew inexplicably claimed on live television that he is genetically incapable of sweating. He also failed to sell the idea that he was spending long days with Epstein because he was planning to end their friendship, and he tripped over himself saying Epstein’s actions were “unbecoming,” with the interviewer having to point out Epstein was a convicted sex offender.
Two months later, Andrew was stripped of all military titles and charities and even lost the title “His Royal Highness.” Talk about a disastrous interview!