Prince Harry Tells Oprah How Queen Elizabeth Avoided Him Upon Decision to Step Away With Meghan Markle

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in January 2020 they would be stepping back as working members of the royal family, plans to meet with his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, were abruptly changed. The revelation came a little more than a year after they announced as the couple sat down with Oprah Winfrey for their first joint interview since leaving the U.K., with Harry revealing the reactions of members of the British royal family in an unaired clip shown during CBS This Morning on Monday.

According to Harry, he and Markle were invited by the Queen to her Sandringham estate to "come for tea" and "stay for dinner" shortly after they shared the news with the world they would be retiring as senior royals. However, when they landed in the U.K. following their trip to Canada, Harry received a message from his private secretary from his grandmother's private secretary saying. "Please pass on to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that he cannot come to Norfolk." According to Harry, he was told that "the Queen's busy. She's busy all week." He and Markle were uninvited to Sandringham and told, "do not come up here."

Harry told Oprah that after receiving that message, he called his grandmother and told her, "'I was thinking of coming anyway, but I hear you’re now busy.'" The Queen told him that there was something in her schedule that she "didn't know I had.' And I said, 'Well, what about the rest of the week?' She said, 'that's busy now as well.'" Harry said he "didn't want to push" the matter because he "kind of knew what was going on." When Winfrey asked, "Doesn't the Queen get to do what the Queen wants to do?" Harry replied, "When you’re the head of 'the firm,' there are people around you that give you advice. And what has also made me very sad is that some of that advice has been very bad."

Harry and Markle shocked the world when they announced last year their plans to retire as working royals. Although it had initially been believed they had decided to live a more private life, Harry revealed during the interview that their decision to take a step back came from "a lack of support and lack of understanding," also noting that he had been cut off financially at the start of 2020 and his family would no longer receive security. In another unaired clip from the interview, the couple said the royal family offered no apologies about the reasons why the couple decided to leave, Harry noting, "the feeling is that it was our decision and therefore the consequences are on us."