Harry and Meghan urged to delay Oprah interview while Prince Philip is in hospital

Britain's Duke of Edinburgh expected to receive medical treatment for the rest of the week

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their interview with Oprah Winfrey. AP
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their interview with Oprah Winfrey. AP

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are under pressure to delay the broadcast of their interview with Oprah Winfrey while Prince Philip remains in hospital.

The interview, filmed in California, is due to be shown by British broadcaster ITV on Monday, about 24 hours after it is shown in the US.

Promoted by Oprah as having “no subjects off limits”, the programme was extended by 30 minutes for a running time of two hours.

The broadcast is due at an awkward time for Britain's royal family, with the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, still in hospital with an infection.

On Monday, he was taken from King Edward VII's Hospital in London to St Bartholomew's, site of Europe’s largest cardiovascular clinic, where he will undergo tests for a pre-existing heart condition and treatment for the undisclosed infection.

The duke, who turns 100 in June, was admitted to hospital two weeks ago as a precautionary measure.

His 14-night stay is the longest he has required medical care, although Buckingham Palace said he was comfortable and responding to treatment.

A statement on Monday said the duke would remain in hospital until at least the end of the week.

Royal commentators said that the decision to air Harry and Meghan’s interview would cause ripples.

“They can only hope and pray that the duke recovers and goes home. If something happens to him, it would look terrible. Even if Harry and Meghan wanted to stop it, they probably can’t and it’s out of their hands,” International Who's Who editor Richard Fitzwilliams told the Daily Mail.

“Who knows how matters linked to the duke’s health will play out over the coming days?” royal biographer Phil Dampier said.

However, Buckingham Palace aides told the Daily Telegraph the royal family was unconcerned with the interview.

Members of the media outside St Bartholomew's Hospital, where Britain's Prince Philip was admitted on Monday. Reuters 
Members of the media outside St Bartholomew's Hospital, where Britain's Prince Philip was admitted on Monday. Reuters 

“The family is very worried about Philip and their thoughts are very much with him rather than this Oprah interview. They have much more important things to worry about,” one aide said.

Others said that Harry and Meghan were not to blame for the timing because TV executives will determine when it is broadcast.

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Sussex has been granted an interim £450,000 ($628,000) down payment towards her £1.5 million legal costs in her privacy case against the Mail on Sunday.

The payment follows her victory last month against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, over extracts published from a private, handwritten letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.

Meghan had asked for an interim payment of £750,000. She is also demanding a front-page apology, and a High Court order forcing the newspaper to hand over any copies it has made of the letter, and destroy any copies of it or notes made about it.

Meghan, 39, sued over five articles published in February 2019. She was granted summary judgment in relation to her privacy claim, and part of her copyright claim.

At a remote hearing on Tuesday, Associated Newspapers argued that Meghan’s “extremely large costs bill” of about £1.5m was disproportionate. Full costs will be decided at future hearings in the case.

Updated: March 2, 2021 08:38 PM

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