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Meghan Markle Says Palace 'Perpetuated Falsehoods' In Upcoming Oprah Interview

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Duchess of Sussex is having a public fight with her in-laws. Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, stepped back from their royal duties last year, and now she's given an interview to Oprah Winfrey on CBS that is critical of the royal family.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MEGHAN MARKLE: I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I - there's a lot that's been lost already.

INSKEEP: OK, by the firm, she means the royal family. Now, just as that interview is released, news reports have spread that the royal family is investigating accusations that Meghan bullied staff. Richard Fitzwilliams has followed the lives of the U.K.'s royals for years. He's on the line. Good morning, sir.

RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS: Good morning. Yes, hi. Royal drama and the world will be watching.

INSKEEP: How serious are the accusations?

FITZWILLIAMS: Well, I think the accusations of bullying should have been investigated by the palace when there was an email which detailed them in 2018. But nonetheless, Meghan likes seeing herself as a victim. And if you have an interview with no holds barred, there are those clearly who feel they, too, could contribute to this, the palace human resources team of investigating these allegations of bullying. I mean, there were a series of rumors - we'll have during what is going to be a two-hour interview where we will find out or probably expect to find out the state of relations between William and Harry, something that's a highly sensitive topic. And we're also wondering - Meghan believes that the firm, as she calls the royal family - it's actually a term invented for it by Prince Philip - is briefing against her. What will be revealed? The people who are tuning in will want to know why they stepped down after under two years as senior working members of the royal family.

INSKEEP: Yeah. Let's explore one aspect of that. Meghan Markle identifies as being mixed race. It's widely believed that must have had something to do with the rest of the royal family not really accepting her. Do you believe that?

FITZWILLIAMS: Well, I certainly believed that this marriage was going to be, I thought, a fantastic - Meghan being American, biracial and also a divorcee, former actress. This was a new monarchy. This was a contemporary look at it. And it also meant so much more for Britain and the Commonwealth in going forward in a dynamic way. And this is not what's happened.

In fact, this is a very sad situation. And I'd emphasize that, particularly since this interview is going out at a time when the Duke of Edinburgh, who's 99, is hospitalized. He's just undergone a successful procedure for a preexisting heart condition. But there is concern. And it's therefore, in that sense, inappropriate. Everything has been set in motion with advertising and rights abroad. But the facts of the matter are that there's a lot here. Why didn't Harry and Meghan tell the queen? Was this interview really necessary? And also how - the bullying allegations - what more will come out?

And we've seen two trailers. I mean, as a film critic, I know perfectly well the purpose of a trailer. Oprah says, unsurvivable, how shocking. These are things that people will want to know answers to. But what will they reveal and what precisely will they say about the queen, about Prince Charles and about William and Kate, who came off badly in the "Finding Freedom" book, which they were - unquestionably the inner circle was behind.

INSKEEP: Mr. Fitzwilliams, thanks so much, many questions posed, and we'll listen for the answers - really appreciate talking with you.

FITZWILLIAMS: A great pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.