Highly anticipated network television events have a long history of failing to live up to the hype.
But that certainly wasn’t the case with Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle, which left viewers stunned with its vivid descriptions of a woman held captive by palace walls.
Meghan revealed that she was suicidal during the worst days of her ordeal.
She further shocked the world by disclosing that one of her in-laws expressed concerns about Archie’s skin tone prior to the boy’s birth.
The death of Prince Philip just weeks later further heightened the drama, as it put the royals under an even brighter spotlight and forced Harry to make a very public return to the UK.
Now, British media figures are sharing their predictions about what the future holds in terms of relations between the Cambridges and the rest of the royal family.
“The Oprah Winfrey interview, let’s not make any bones about it, went down like a lead balloon,” royal editor of the Mirror Russell Myers said in a radio interview on Sunday.
“As far as Harry and Meghan are concerned, I think they will be left to sort things out on their own.”
Myers went on to say that at this point, it looks as though most members of the Windsor clan view Harry and Meghan as little more than obstacles that need to be overcome:
“They’ve been a distraction for the most part for the family,” Myers said.
“There will be quite a lot of dissatisfaction within the camp, and it remains to be seen whether they will be brought back in.”
Asked about Harry’s return for Philip’s funeral, Myers speculated that the younger prince likely came home with “his tail between his legs.”
“Certainly, I’m sure that Harry was a bit sheepish seeing the rest of his family,” he said.
“The rest of the royal family are very, very united in trying to get back to business.”
Myers’ interviewer, Kevin O’Sullivan, echoed those claims, and declared his belief that Prince Charles in particular will be able to continue with business as usual — provided he cuts ties with Harry and Meghan.
“If that is his state of mind, I think the British people will be behind him every step of the way. I think most people think ‘That guy Harry does not deserve to be forgiven,’” O’Sullivan said.
“I don’t think it’s the last straw for the monarchy. I think it’s an evolution rather than a revolution.”
Dame Hilary Mantel, author of the acclaimed Wolf Hall series of novels takes a much more dim view of the royal family’s future as an institution:
“I think it’s the end game. I don’t know how much longer the institution will go on,” she said in a recent interview.
“I’m not sure if it will outlast William. So I think it will be their last big era.”
Mantle went on to express sympathy for the Queen, who has spent her adult life chained to an obligation from which she feels there is no escape:
“I wish the Queen had felt able to abdicate,” Mantle said.
“I understand that she thinks of this as a sacred task, from which you simply cannot abdicate, whereas the rest of us think of it as a job, from which you should be able to retire.”
So while the experts might disagree on what’s to become of Harry and Meghan, it seems they all concur that the couple’s future will not include further involvement with the royals.