Harry criticised for 'patronising and condescending' comment on Queen in Spare

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, stepped down from their senior royal positions three years ago, relinquishing public duty in favour of life overseas. They no longer carry out engagements on behalf of the Royal Family and instead have pursued their own careers in the US. However, according to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, this was not what they had initially hoped for and when attempts at private conversations were thwarted, the business side of the monarchy took over. In his recently published memoir, Harry painted a weak picture of his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who he suggested was heavily influenced by royal courtiers, but an expert has since slammed the portrayal, describing it as “patronising and condescending”.

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Valentine Low, author of the bestselling book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown, discussed the depiction of the late Queen in Harry’s memoir Spare.

Appearing on an episode of the To Di For Daily podcast at the beginning of this month, he joined host and royal commentator Kinsey Schofield, who said: “Harry paints the picture, in Spare and in a lot of his interviews, that she [the Queen] was manipulated by these people [the courtiers], and some of these people – who didn’t have her best interests at heart – were in charge. Harry and Meghan made a similar case during the Oprah Winfrey interview.”

Mr Low said: “I think it’s a complex picture. You can’t say one’s in charge, and the other isn’t,” explaining that there were instances when the Queen made the ultimate decision, recalling Harry and Meghan’s exit from the Firm and the late monarch deciding her grandson could not be “half in and half out”.

“But it is true that the courtiers keep the show running,” he continued. “And there was the famous instance when Harry and Meghan were coming back from Canada, and they were trying to tell the Royal Family they wanted out.”

harry criticised for 'patronising and condescending' comment on queen in spare

The Prince and Princess of Wales Accompanied By The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Greet Wellwishers Outside Windsor Castle

harry criticised for 'patronising and condescending' comment on queen in spare

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EXCLUSIVE: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expected to attend the King’s Coronation in May but should not expect a “warm reception”, a royal expert told Express.co.uk.

The Royal Family should focus on “self-preservation” if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the King’s Coronation.

Read more HERE.

Here, the author referred to Harry’s attempt to see the Queen in January 2020. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been in Canada for the festive period, spending time with their son Prince Archie and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.

Harry recalled the instance in his memoir, claiming he called his grandmother and “told her explicitly that we hoped to discuss with her our plan to create a different working arrangement”.

The Prince said the late monarch was not shocked by the news, as she was aware of “how unhappy” her grandson and his wife were at the time.

Queen Elizabeth supposedly said she was “free all week,” and invited the Duke and Duchess to stay at Sandringham.

Days later, as Harry and Meghan boarded their flight in Vancouver, they received word that the Queen would no longer be able to see them.

harry criticised for 'patronising and condescending' comment on queen in spare

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A note from a courtier whom the Prince nicknamed “the Bee” – understood to be Queen Elizabeth’s former private secretary Sir Edward Young – allegedly read: “Initially Her Majesty thought this would be possible, it will not…The Duke of Sussex cannot come to Norfolk tomorrow. Her Majesty will be able to arrange another mtg this month. No announcements about anything shall be issued until such a meeting takes place.”

When Harry and Meghan arrived at Frogmore Cottage, their former royal residence, the Duke rang his grandmother, who told him: “Something came up that I wasn’t aware of.”

Mr Low recounted the incident, saying: “She [the Queen] clearly had been leant on by the courtiers. I don’t think Harry’s lying. I’m sure something like that happened. But there are two interpretations there. One is she was manipulated by these evil courtiers to use her for their own ends.

“Or, alternatively, her private secretary said: ‘Actually, maybe it’s not a good idea to see Harry. You should have a united front. We should do this properly.’ And actually, she saw the wisdom of not seeing him.”

harry criticised for 'patronising and condescending' comment on queen in spare

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He continued: “So it’s a rather patronising, condescending view of Harry and Meghan’s to think that the poor old Queen was a puppet, manipulated by these evil coaches behind the scenes. It implied she hadn’t got any strength of character and hadn’t any agency of her own. And I think that’s a simplistic view.”

Nonetheless, Harry was infuriated by the move and even considered driving straight from the airport to Sandringham to call on the Queen unannounced, an idea he eventually decided against.

The couple subsequently announced their plans to step down on January 8, just three days after they had returned to the UK.

A meeting – infamously nicknamed the Sandringham Summit – was held days later. Again, Harry implied royal courtiers played a role in controlling his interactions with the Queen, recalling in his memoir: “I got there early, hoping to have a chat with Granny. She was sitting on a bench before the fireplace and I sat down beside her.

“I saw the Wasp (believed to be Sir Clive Alderton) react with alarm. He went buzzing off and moments later returned with Pa, who sat beside me. Immediately after him came Willy…”

harry criticised for 'patronising and condescending' comment on queen in spare

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It was decided that Harry and Meghan would relocate overseas and no longer represent the monarchy, a decision made permanent a year later.

Since then, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationships with their UK counterparts have become more strained, exacerbated by several media interviews, intimate revelations and the Prince’s tell-all book.

The couple were in the UK when Queen Elizabeth died and attended her funeral alongside other members of the Firm.

While the royals came together in mourning, their bonds were still said to be broken. Now, the question remains whether Harry and Meghan will return for the next big royal event – the Coronation of King Charles III.

Mr Low predicted at least one-half of the US-based couple may choose to stay home. He told the podcast: “I’ll tell you what the view of people within the Palace is, that he [Harry] will probably turn up but she [Meghan] will find a reason for not turning up. And that sounds pretty plausible to me.”

harry criticised for 'patronising and condescending' comment on queen in spare

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