LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Prince Harry said he has gone public with his differences with the British royal family and taken to the press to try to help the monarchy and change the media described by his father King Charles as a “suicide mission”.
In the first of a a series of television interviews aired on Sunday ahead of the release of his memoir, Harry accused members of his family of getting into bed with the devil – the tabloid press – to smear him and his wife Meghan in order to improve their own reputations.
He told Britain’s ITV that he fled Britain with his family for California in 2020 “fearing for our lives” and said he no longer recognized his father or his older brother Prince William, the heir to the throne.
“After many, many years of lies being told about me and my family, there comes a time when, going back to the relationship between certain members of the family and the tabloid press, these certain members decided to get into bed with the devil… for to rehabilitate their image,” he said.
“The moment that rehabilitation comes at the expense of others, me, other members of my family, that’s when I draw the line.”
In Thursday, Harry’s book Spare mistakenly went on sale in Spain five days before its official release, chronicling not only highly personal details, such as how he lost his virginity and took illegal drugs, but also more intimate private instances of family disharmony.
His older brother had knocked him down in a fight and the two siblings begged their father not to marry his second wife Camilla, now the queen, the book said.
Commentators say the book has plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis since the royal soap opera days of the 1990s surrounding the breakdown of Charles’ marriage to his late first wife Princess Diana, the mother of William and Harry.
It’s all coming in just four months Queen Elizabeth dies and Charles ascends the throne.
In the ITV interview, Harry reiterated and clarified the allegations he and Meghan made after stepping down from royal duties; that the royals and their aides not only failed to protect them from a hostile and sometimes racist press, but actively leaked stories about them through anonymous sources.
“The saddest part of this is that some members of my family and the people who work for them are complicit in this conflict,” he said, pointing out that this included both Charles and Camilla.
So far there is no comment from Buckingham Palace. Harry said he didn’t think his father or brother would read his book.
An unnamed friend of William’s told the Sunday Times that the Prince of Wales was “burning” with anger but would not answer “for the good of his family and his country”.
Harry told ITV that he wanted a reconciliation with his family members, but said they had shown no interest, giving the impression that he and Meghan were better off as villains.
“I sincerely believe and hope that the reconciliation between my family and us will have a ripple effect throughout the world. Maybe it’s lofty, maybe it’s naive,” he said.
Harry also said he hoped his multiple legal actions against newspapers would help change the media, saying it was “at the epicenter of so many problems in the UK”.
“My father told me it was probably a suicide mission to try to change the press,” he said.
Polls show that many Britons are growing weary of all the royal melodrama and further revelations are unlikely to sway their views, whether they sympathize with Harry and Meghan or those who criticize them.
“I love my father. I love my brother. I love my family. I always will. “Nothing I’ve done in this book or otherwise is ever … to harm or hurt them,” he said.
Reporting by Michael Holden and Sarah Mills; Editing by Frances Carey and Paul Simao
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