During the televised tell-all, which aired on Sunday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex detailed how they were allegedly mistreated by Britain’s royal household, as well as "The Firm," referring to senior members of the family.
The palace often tries to stay above controversy by remaining silent and riding out the storm – "never complain, never explain." However, royal biographer Angela Levin said the couple’s charges are so damaging to the royal family that it will have to respond publicly.
However, their official statement is likely being delayed by Queen Elizabeth II’s struggle to balance her sometimes-conflicting roles as monarch and beloved grandmother to Harry, 36. But, Levin said there’s little doubt that ultimately, the 94-year-old will make her decision on what’s best for the 1,000-year-old institution she has led since 1952.
"The queen has a motto: Never complain, never explain," Levin told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "And she’s stuck with this for four decades. But I think in this climate and 2021, everything goes everywhere. There’s so much social media that in this instance, she really can’t not say anything."
Levin, a veteran journalist on royal affairs, published a book in 2018 titled "Harry: A Biography of a Prince," which was based on her exclusive conversations with Harry at Kensington Palace before his May 2018 marriage to the former American actress, 39.
On Tuesday, the U.K. Times reported that a palace statement had been delayed because Elizabeth wanted more time. The newspaper didn’t cite a source for the information.
The interview, which also aired on Monday in Britain, has rocked the royal family and divided people around the world.
While many say the allegations demonstrate the need for change inside a palace that hasn’t kept pace with the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, others have criticized Harry and Markle for dropping their bombshell while the duke’s 99-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, remains hospitalized in London after a heart procedure.
During the two-hour interview, Markle described feeling so isolated and miserable inside the royal family that she had had suicidal thoughts, yet when she asked for mental health help from the palace's human resources staff she was told she was not an employee.
Markle also said a member of the family had expressed "concerns" to Harry about the color of her unborn child’s skin.
Winfrey, 67, later said Harry told her off-camera that the family member was Elizabeth or Philip, sparking a flurry of speculation about who it could be.
Harry also revealed the stresses the couple endured had ruptured relations with his father, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his brother, Prince William, illuminating the depth of the family divisions that led the couple to step away from royal duties and move to California last year.
William, 38, is second in line to the throne.
So far there has been silence from the palace about the interview.
"I think that one of the major worries is you don’t want to throw oil on the flames to make it even worse," Levin warned.
An estimated 17.1 million watched the explosive interview.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex married at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born a year later. During the interview, the couple shared they are expecting a girl due this summer.
Markle said she and Harry were aligned during their courtship because of their "cause-driven" work. But she did not fully comprehend the pressure of being linked to the prestigious royal family.
"It’s easy to have an image of it that is so far from reality," she admitted. "And that’s what was really tricky over those past few years, is when the perception and the reality are two very different things. And you’re being judged on the perception, but you’re living the reality of it. There’s a complete misalignment and there’s no way to explain that to people."
The couple’s departure from royal duties began in March 2020 over what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess.