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’.
The extra half-hour of the show will allow CBS to rake in more advertising, with a 30-second prime time slot believed to cost around $200,000. According to Page Six, the Sussexes are not being paid for the Oprah interview, but experts believe it is part of their plan to build a billion-dollar brand in the US.
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’.
While it is not clear exactly how Harry compares their treatment to Princess Diana’s, royal experts have already criticized his decision to raise it.
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.
Harry, wearing a smart grey suit and white shirt, also said he was ‘relieved and happy’ to have his wife by his side, hinting he feared that Meghan would suffer the same fate as his mother, who died 23 years ago. There will be some disquiet at the palace because it has now emerged that Harry has chosen to reference Princess Diana, who died in 1997 in a Paris car crash along with her partner Dodi Fayed.
He tells Oprah in the 30-second clip: ‘I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago.
‘Because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us but at least we have each other.’
Oprah goes on to promise viewers there will be ‘shocking’ revelations and ‘no subject off limits’ in the dramatic teasers, which were given an over-produced Hollywood 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’.
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’
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.
Pregnant Meghan Markle cradles her baby bump in trailer for bombshell Oprah interview – but remains quiet as TV mogul probes her about ‘un-survivable’ royal life, and asks if she was ‘silenced’ by palace
Sitting down with Meghan alone, Oprah asks her, ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’ in what appears to be a question about the Duchess’ relationship with the Royal Family
Pregnant Meghan Markle proudly cradled her baby bump while showing off her growing stomach in a teaser trailer for her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey – her most high-profile appearance since she and Prince Harry revealed they are expecting their second child later this year.
The 39-year-old emphasized her blossoming baby bump in a $4,700 black Armani dress, which was belted above her stomach and featured floral embroidery over one shoulder. She paired the look with some simple heels from designer Aquazurra and wore a necklace from sustainable designer Pippa Small.
Meghan placed a hand on her bump while fielding questions from 67-year-old TV mogul Oprah – who asked her about her brief time as a royal, and her decision to quit palace life with her husband last year.
Meghan says nothing in either of the short teaser clips that have been released, however Oprah’s line of questioning makes clear the sensitive topics that will be covered – some, if not all of which will likely send fears through the palace over what potentially-uncomfortable revelations may come to light during the primetime sit-down.
In what could be seen as a warning to the Royal Family, Oprah reminds viewers that ‘there is no subject that is off limits’ while sitting opposite the former Suits star, who simply nods her head in agreement with the bold statement.
Oprah then asks a somber-looking Meghan: ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’ in what appears to be another jab at the Royal Family – this time over the palace’s treatment of the Duchess.
Later in the interview, Oprah refers to comments Meghan appears to have made about life in the Royal Family being ‘almost un-survivable.’
Meghan’s tribute to Princess Diana: Duchess of Sussex dons her late mother-in-law’s $21,000 tennis bracelet alongside $4,700 Armani black gown for bombshell Oprah interview
Pregnant Meghan Markle could be seen wearing a dazzling diamond tennis Cartier bracelet from Princess Diana‘s jewelry collection, which retails for an eye-watering $21,000.
The mother-to-be, 39, proudly cradled her baby bump in a teaser trailer for her discussion with the media mogul which is her most high-profile appearance since she and Prince Harry, 36, revealed they are expecting their second child later this year.
The Duchess showed off her growing stomach in the $4,700 dress for the interview, which was belted above her stomach and featured floral embroidery over one shoulder.
The Duchess is known for her love of designer brands, and her first maternity wardrobe is believed to have cost over half a million pounds. It was further boosted by decadent jewelry, which adds financial value to several of her outfits.
Meghan Markle, 39, pulled out all the stops as she donned an Armani dress and thousands of pounds worth for her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey
The Duchess swept her long dark locks into a low bun for the interview, allowing two wavy tendrils to frame her face.
She swapped her usual low key make-up for a bold and glamorous look, with dark eyeshadow and a sweep of blush.
The royal is known for her love of designer brands, and rarely wears the same outfits twice, selecting new outfits from favorite designers such as Givenchy and Victoria Beckham on almost every appearance.
For the discussion, the mother-of-one wore the sweeping black silk dress by Armani, which is described online as ‘sensuous with a subtle, refined twist.’ It features white printed detailing and a matching high-waist belt.
The Duchess of Sussex wore a sweeping floor length gown from Armani as she sat down with the Duke and Oprah for the interview
Meanwhile the royal paid tribute to her late mother-in-law by wearing her diamond Cartier tennis bracelet, which retails for $21,000
Meghan’s VERY expensive taste in jewelry
Diana’s diamond tennis bracelet: $21,000
Cartier love bracelet: $6,550
Pippa Small necklace: $2,145
Total = $29,695
Meghan has long spoken of her love for stacking jewelry, and today was no different.
As well as Princess Diana’s bracelet, the royal looked in her own beloved collection for pieces.
The mother-of-one accessorized with her $6,550 gold Cartier Love Bracelet, which is believed to be a romantic token from Prince Harry during the early days of their romance.
The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson each had earlier versions of the Cartier Love Bracelet.
She also donned a $2,145 Aquamarine Collette Pendant Cord Necklace from sustainable designer Pippa Small.
She initially wore the piece during the royal tour of Australia and Fiji.
It features two larger jewels, one medium-sized jewel, and one much smaller jewel, and could be seen as a tribute to Meghan’s own expanding family-of-four.
The piece was handmade in Kabul by artisans trained by the Turquoise Mountain Foundation, which creates jobs for young people who ‘need hope and a sense of purpose in a beautiful country tragically caught up in violence and conflict’.
The non-profit NGO was founded in 2006 by her husband Harry’s father Prince Charles with the former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.
She finished her outfit with $695 heels from her favorite designer Aquazurra.