Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to appear in one of the most explosive and highly-anticipated interviews in royal history this weekend – and it looks as though the pressure of their no-holds-barred sit-down with Oprah Winfrey may well be causing some tension.
The couple were seen looking very somber while driving around Santa Barbara with the Duchess’ mother Doria on Sunday afternoon – hours before two teaser clips from their no-holds-barred primetime interview were shared, sending tremors through the palace by laying bare just a few of the sensitive, and potentially-uncomfortable topics discussed by the Sussexes.
In exclusive images obtained by DailyMail.com, Prince Harry, 36, is seen behind the wheel of the couple’s Range Rover while driving his 39-year-old wife and 64-year-old mother-in-law near their $14.5 million home in Montecito.
The couple appeared incredibly somber while out for an afternoon drive with Doria, who was sitting behind her daughter and remained partially-hidden from the camera.
Somber: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were seen looking very subdued while driving near their Montecito home on Sunday afternoon, just hours before teasers clips from their bombshell interview with Oprah were released
Meghan, 39, failed to raise a smile as she sat in the front passenger seat of the couple’s Range Rover, while her mother Doria Ragland rode behind her in the backseat
On the move: Both Harry, 36, and Meghan wore dark sunglasses, and the Duchess of Sussex – who is pregnant with the couple’s second child – also added a wide-brimmed sunhat to her look
Nervous? It may well be that the couple was feeling apprehensive about the release of the first clips from their interview, in which they are expected to discuss a number of very sensitive and private topics, including their exit from royal life
Doria reportedly moved in with Harry and Meghan last summer in order to help them care for their son Archie – and her presence is no doubt all the more essential now that the Sussexes are preparing to welcome their second child later this year.
However it seems not even Doria – who Meghan is known to be very close with – could raise a smile from the couple, who remained straight-faced while out for their Sunday afternoon drive.
It may well be that the Sussexes were feeling apprehensive about the release of the trailers for their sit-down interview with Oprah, which is expected to cover a number of controversial and private topics, from Meghan’s experience of royal life and the couple’s exit from royal duties, to their much-publicized rift with Harry’s family at home.
When the interview was first announced last month, the news sent tremors through Buckingham Palace – with experts and insiders warning the royal family to ‘hide behind the sofa’ when it is broadcast over fears of what might be said by the couple about their treatment from Harry’s family and palace officials.
It was made clear by royal experts on Monday that Buckingham Palace should be ‘scared’ about the ‘wide-ranging’ interview, particularly after it was revealed that the primetime sit-down had been extended from 90 minutes to two hours – perhaps to give the couple an opportunity to address the finalizing of Megxit, which took place one day after the shoot initially wrapped.
As part of their permanent stepping down as senior working members of the royal family, Harry and Meghan were both stripped of their existing patronages and honorary titles – a move that is set to have ‘upset’ the couple, who took a swipe at the palace in an unprecedented statement in which they insisted ‘service is universal’.
In one of the teasers, Oprah, 67, is seen probing Meghan about whether she was ‘silenced’ by the Queen and the palace – an assertion that sparked outrage among royal insiders, who said it was ‘ridiculous’ and ‘unfair’ to paint the monarch as some kind of mob boss like Don Corleone from The Godfather.
Upset: Royal experts have warned that Buckingham Palace should be ‘scared’ about the interview, particularly after it was revealed that the primetime sit-down has been extended from 90 minutes to two hours
Bad taste: The teasers clips, although short, sparked a wave of controversy, with royal insiders slamming Oprah’s line of questioning to Meghan over whether she was ‘silenced’ by the palace
Mistaken: The assertion was slammed by royal insiders, who said it was ‘ridiculous’ and ‘unfair’ to paint the Queen as some kind of mob boss like Don Corleone from The Godfather
Candid: In the teaser clips, Harry is seen discussing his late mother Princess Diana’s troubled life in the public eye, telling Oprah that his ‘biggest fear was history repeating itself’
Under cover? Harry and Meghan’s decision to take part in such an intimate interview has once again raised serious questions about their continued pleas for privacy
The videos also showed Harry shedding some light on his reasons for quitting royal life, with the Duke speaking to Oprah about his late mother Princess Diana’s troubled public life, before admitting that his ‘biggest fear was history repeating itself’.
Harry also describes leaving the Royal Family as ‘unbelievably tough’ and Oprah claims the couple both say ‘some pretty shocking things’ in the bombshell interview that is expected to upset the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William when it is broadcast on March 7.
Oprah promises viewers there will be ‘shocking’ revelations and ‘no subject off limits’ in the dramatic teasers, which were given an over-produced Hollywod spin with the addition of suspenseful music.
Robert Jobson, a biographer of Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh, said the trailer was packed with ‘over the top, melodramatic nonsense’.
He said: ‘The Queen and the Royal Family are not the Corleone family of Windsor. There are no hit men or heavies going around silencing people. Meghan, whilst a working royal, was always protected by a team of Scotland Yard officers. Thankfully, she was never in danger physically and Harry knows that. Talk of being “silenced” is just ridiculous. It suits a narrative, I suppose, but at what cost to the Queen, Prince Philip and the Royal Family and our reputation as a country’.
On the late decision to extend the show, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘An extra 30 minutes could be scary for the Palace. Was this because Harry and Meghan were angry at having their patronages removed or had it always been planned? The interview with Oprah will determine their future relations with the royal family for the foreseeable future.’
Another critic tweeted sarcastically: ‘It’s been so unbelievably tough moving into our $11million home, signing huge deals with Netflix and Spotify, and drawing on my huge trust from my Royal lineage. Like if you want a quiet life, go have one, keyword being quiet.’
Harry and Meghan’s decision to take part in such an intimate interview has once again raised serious questions about their continued pleas for privacy – with many pointing out that the demands are in direct contradiction to their long line of public appearances and interviews, as well as their lucrative deals with media giants like Spotify and Netflix, from which they are understood to have earned upwards of $100 million.
Get ready: The interview, which was filmed at the home of a friend, is due to air on CBS on March 7 at 8PM ET – despite calls from royal experts to delay its release out of respect for Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip who is still in hospital
Meghan did not speak in the teaser clips, however Oprah suggests that she referred to her royal life as being ‘un-survivable’ while asking her if there ‘was a breaking point’