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Brendan O'Connor on our TV Radio One. Now, as you can't fail to be aware, the Big Harry and Meghan and Oprah interview would be broadcast on CBS tonight at 1:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, our time, but it will be on our titrating tomorrow night. Vallentine Lucroy, correspondent from the London Times, is on the line. Good afternoon, Valentine.


Good afternoon, Brendan Valentine. Can we start with the the optics of the last 24 hours you would think have not been good for Harry and Meghan in that the royal family seem to be spinning quite well here that we had we had William and Kate yesterday doing Commonwealth Day. The royal family very much focussed on the bigger picture, Commonwealth coronavirus, everything saying that, you know, what people are concerned about is schools opening tomorrow in the UK and stuff making Harry and Megan look more and more like these self obsessed people who are not going to take up two hours of our lives kind of giving out about their own problems.


That's certainly the way that I think critics of Harry and Megan would see it. Listen, it's a brave attempt by Buckingham Palace to say this is all a circus. You know, there are more important things to matter. And of course, they're right. But once Megan starts talking to Oprah, I mean, it's going to blow everything else out of the water. People are going to be fascinated by that, that that's what's going to set the agenda.


And the other thing is you got to think about who the audience is here. There's a huge generational difference in how you view Harry and Meghan. If you're over 40, you're pretty quite critical of them under 40. You think they've been badly treated in the United States because that is where Harry and Meghan think their real audience is as the people they're trying to reach, they're much more in favour of them. So all this plucking, spinning by Buckingham Palace, I think it's all going to be quite relevant to the end compared to what Megan has to say for herself.


I know Vallentine the clips we've seen so far. She has been fairly blunt about them and that would suggest, do you think the interview itself is going to be actually much more forthcoming and possibly like aggressive towards the royal family?


Yeah, I mean, if you'd asked me a couple of weeks ago, I would've thought that she might slightly pull her punches. I think she would have wanted to get into the personal stuff with the royal family criticising individual members. But now she's talked about now we know that she talks about the firm perpetuating falsehoods. That's a that's a pretty punchy accusation. You know, whether whether by the firm, she means the institution or the actual members of the royal family.


A little unclear at the moment, but perpetuating falsehoods equals lying. This sounds like it's going to be pretty high octane stuff.


Now, you have written that a source has claimed the cop who believed that the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall were briefing against them. Yeah, that's right. I mean, the impression one gets is that Harry and Meghan existed in a high state of paranoia when they were still within the warm embrace of the royal family. They thought officials were briefing in some other members of the royal family briefing. Basically, they thought it was everyone against them.


And this kind of bunker mentality is what led to their decision to leave. And it's the bunker mentality, which I think we'll see more of in the Oprah interview.


So this was to put the relations between like if Morgan is in Harry's ear telling him that Kate and Camilla are briefing against her. It wants to put the person in relations between Harry and his father and his brother. And a lot of pressure then did it. I think undoubtedly it did. I mean, we all know that Harry's relationship with his brother has been through through the mangle recently, as I'm told. But, you know, in the last few months, there have been attempts by both of them to sort of try and reach out a bit to try and have some conversations.


It's got a long, long way to go. But I think the worry is that after this interview, all that will be set back and their relationship will be back to rock bottom again. I know that William is pretty cross about the fact that they're doing this. He thinks it's a bad idea and perhaps one might have sympathy with him for that.


I know look, you and your paper are kind of central to today's story because, yeah, you had that story about the coming from the palace claims that the duchess herself, Megan, bullied her staff in there. And then the spokesperson for Harry and Megan said that this story was a calculated smear by the palace and that your paper, The Times, was being used to in this battle here. Yeah, I mean, it's a fairly typical response by Harry as Megan whenever a new scene comes out with criticism.


They do two things. One is they get their lawyers involved, very aggressive lawyers who was involved in that case against the mail on Sunday. And secondly, they say it's a smear. And this is Buckingham Palace having a go at Buckingham Palace, getting its retaliation in before the Oprah interview. And I've got to say, Brendan, this had nothing whatsoever to do with Buckingham Palace. This was not a case of the institution, you know, getting its spin machine out against Harry and Megan.


This was a case of individuals who felt they'd been bullied, coming forward and basically wanting their story to be told. They felt they had a very rough time, Megan's hand, when they worked at Kensington Palace and they've been ignored. And ahead of the Oprah interview, they just wanted to say that actually there's another story out there. Megan has done a good job of portraying herself as a victim in all of this. But actually, there are other victims and it's more complex narrative that perhaps Megan would like to accept.


OK, we're expecting as well, are we to hear a discussion of racism in Britain in this interview? We certainly are. There are lots of people who believe that Megan was a victim of racism, whether at the hands of the tabloids or the royal family. We'll have to see what she says. But I know that people within the palace are very concerned about this, because if she starts throwing accusations of racism at either the institution or the or individuals of the royal family, that is going to be explosive.


Everyone I've spoken to, I think people went out of their way to try and welcome to the royal family to try and make it work, to try and accept that this was a different she was different from the normal run, a royal brides. And they might have to be a more flexible, more imaginative about how they made it work. But they certainly did try that. And personally and this is my point of view, but others may disagree.


I think it's ridiculous and actually pernicious to suggest anything but this was to do with racism. OK. All right.


Look, we can do we can clearly see right side of this. You're on Valentine, and that's fair enough. Listen, did I read in the Express that Harry is coming home on July 1st to unveil a statue of Diana with William, that there's a plan? Well, there certainly is a plan for this statue to be unveiled this summer, and Harry has made it quite clear that he wants to come across. So we'll have to see what happens.


I mean, that's going to be a tricky road. People are going to be watching that very closely will make them come. We come by themself. What's the body language going to be like between William and Harry? I mean, it's it's going to be quite a moment that. OK, listen.


Absolute pleasure talking to you, Vallentine, your royal correspondent for the London Times. Thank you very much. So that's only tonight. If you don't have time to watch it, I'd imagine that we'd be getting all the nuggets from it as it happens. OK, let's take a quick break.


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