Buckingham Palace will be braced for further criticism when Meghan Markle’s second major TV interview of the year is broadcast.
The Duchess of Sussex is making a surprise appearance on The Ellen Show on Thursday.
The appearance comes eight months after the former Suits star’s controversial sit-down with Oprah Winfrey which left the royal family in crisis.
In it she accused the institution of racism and criticised the family for the way it behaved towards the couple, particularly regarding their mental health troubles.
In a preview clip released before The Ellen Show airs, the Duchess said she and the Duke of Sussex were “happy” in California.
She also spoke about her and Prince Harry’s daughter Lilibet, and the teething troubles she has suffered.
DeGeneres is a friend of the couple and lives near them in the celebrity enclave of Montecito.
Despite the light-hearted clip, those within royal circles will be concerned that she may launch fresh criticism of them.
It emerged last week that she wrote in a text to a former aide that Harry faced “constant berating” from the royal family over her strained relationship with her estranged father.
In the clip, she was asked what Harry loves about California.
The duchess replied: “We’re just happy.”
DeGeneres reveals that the couple's five-month-old daughter Lilibet is now teething, and Meghan put her hands to her mouth, saying “Anything to relieve that”.
She also describes the host as Lilibet’s “Auntie Ellen”.
The show’s Ellentube.com website said: “The activist and co-founder of Archewell will chat with Ellen about growing up and returning to California, as well as her New York Times bestselling children’s book The Bench.”
The interview comes a week after Meghan apologised to the UK Court of Appeal for forgetting she had authorised an aide to brief the authors of the controversial Finding Freedom biography about her and Harry.
The appeal by the publisher of The Mail On Sunday, Associated Newspapers Limited, over the privacy case surrounding a letter the duchess wrote to her estranged father, also heard how in text messages Meghan chose to address Thomas Markle as “Daddy” because it “would pull at the heart strings” if the letter was leaked.
DeGeneres first met Meghan by chance at an animal shelter some years ago and encouraged her to adopt her first dog, Bogart.
She has previously described Harry and Meghan as “the cutest couple, so down to earth” and defended them when they faced criticism for taking a series of flights on a private plane.
After meeting their son in 2019, DeGeneres said: “I mean I can’t tell you how sweet they are. But the most important thing is I got to hold Archie. I fed Archie. I held Archie.”
The couple have so far not released public pictures of Lilibet, who was born in the US in June and is eighth in line to the throne.
She was named after the family nickname used for Queen Elizabeth II, but has yet to meet her great-grandmother, her grandfather the Prince of Wales, or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in person.
Meghan and Harry accused an unnamed member of the royal family of racism during their bombshell chat with Winfrey eight months ago.
They also said the institution of the monarchy had failed to support Meghan when she had suicidal thoughts, and spoke of Harry’s strained relationships with his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William.
In the trailer for The Ellen Show, the duchess, in a white blouse with cutaway detail on the sleeves, chatted about how she used to drive to the same Warner Brothers site for auditions.
Meghan said: “To drive in today was very different.”
She said she would drive her “very, very old” Ford Explorer Sport and the key stopped working in the driver’s side door.
“I would open the trunk and climb in and then pull it shut behind me and crawl over all my seats to get out, that’s how I would come to and fro,” the duchess said
Asked by DeGeneres if anyone saw her, Meghan replied: “No, I would play it off. I go like, ‘Oh, I’m just looking for my resume and my highlighters or my script’.”
DeGeneres wrote on Twitter: “A lot has changed since the last time Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, was on the Warner Brothers lot. Don’t miss the rest of our interview tomorrow.”
Comedian and actress DeGeneres announced in May that she was stepping down from her eponymous TV show after the 19th series.
She said the decision to end her show, which finishes in spring 2022, was not the result of allegations of a toxic workplace environment.
She apologised to staff in 2020 after an internal review by Warner Bros found “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management”.
Meghan was accused of bullying in March, with The Times reporting that the duchess allegedly drove out two personal assistants and “humiliated” staff on several occasions, which she denies.
Buckingham Palace has appointed an external legal team to help its human resources department investigate the claims.