Prince Harry’s guest editorship of Britain’s premier morning news and current-affairs show Wednesday morning had been widely expected to be a vanilla PR exercise for all involved.
However the prince managed to show he has lost none of his talent for surprise after he described the royals as the “family” Meghan Markle had “never had,” a direct reference to his fiancée’s troubled family background.
Meghan made history this year by being the first unmarried girlfriend of a senior royal to join Christmas celebrations with the queen.
Harry also strongly hinted during the broadcast that he would be inviting former President Barack Obama and wife, Michelle, to his nuptials— despite senior British policy mandarins’ extraordinary cautions in the press in recent days that inviting Obama but not Donald Trump to his wedding risks causing offense to the sitting U.S. president, and could undermine the British government’s efforts to woo the Trump administration as the U.K. prepares to leave the European Union.
Harry, in conversation with another presenter after a pre-recorded interview with Obama had already broadcast, seemed to strongly hint that Obama would be invited, after being asked if he was on the guest list for the wedding.
Prince Harry said: “I don’t know about that.
“We haven’t even put the invites or the guest list together yet.
“Who knows if he’ll be invited yet or not—I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.”
There is next to no chance Harry and Meghan would invite Trump.
Meghan made disparaging comments about Trump on social media during his election campaign last year.
Although the wedding is, strictly speaking, a private—not a state—affair, there are fears among senior Foreign Office officials that another national snub will make it impossible for British Prime Minister Theresa May to meaningfully engage with Trump.
A senior government source told The Sun: “Harry has made it clear he wants the Obamas at the wedding, so it’s causing a lot of nervousness.
“Trump could react very badly if the Obamas get to a royal wedding before he has had a chance to meet the queen.”
Having potentially caused a minor diplomatic incident, Harry then made sure his turn in the editor’s chair would make tabloid headlines around the world by discussing his “fantastic” Christmas with fiancée Meghan Markle at the queen’s country estate, Sandringham, saying it was, for her, like experiencing the family “she has never had”.
Meghan has had a tumultuous relationship with her dad, Thomas Markle, who has stayed out of the limelight since news of Meghan and Prince Harry’s relationship broke.
In a recently unearthed video clip, she was seen, as a teen, saying she had fallen out with him.
Samantha Markle, 53, her estranged half-sister, has said she is writing a book characterizing Meghan, 36, as a “pushy princess”; Tom Markle Jr., 51, her half-brother, was arrested recently for allegedly holding a gun to his girlfriend’s head.
When Harry was questioned by Today presenter Sarah Montague about his holidays, he revealed he and Meghan had stayed with William and Kate, who live in Anmer Hall in Norfolk, while visiting the queen at nearby Sandringham.
He said: “The family loved having here there… I think together we had an amazing time.
“We had great fun staying with my brother and sister-in-law and running round with the kids. Christmas was fantastic.”
The presenter asked the prince if there were any family traditions that had to be explained to Markle and he replied: “Oh plenty, I think we’ve got one of the biggest families that I know of, and every family is complex as well.
“No look, she’s done an absolutely amazing job. She’s getting in there and it’s the family I suppose that she’s never had.”