WEDNESDAY, March 10
The Queen has broken her silence over Prince Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview, saying allegations of racism were “concerning” and they would be handled by the royal family “privately”.
It came as the fallout from the interview continues to make waves around the world with the British Daily Mail newspaper using its page one to call for the couple to be stripped of their titles.
In the statement, released by Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen, it is said “recollections may vary” about issues raised in the bombshell interview but they would be “taken very seriously”.
It is the first statement released by the palace in the two days since the Oprah interview aired, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex speaking openly about racism and mental health issues they experienced as working members of the royal family.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan,” the statement read.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.
“While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
Pressure had been mounting on the palace to respond after Meghan said during the interview that an unnamed member of the royal family had asked Harry “how dark” the skin of their unborn child would be.
Winfrey later said that Harry had clarified to her that neither the Queen nor Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, had made the comments.
The Queen’s statement made no specific reference to claims Meghan had sought help for her mental health problems, including having suicidal thoughts, only to be turned away by “one of the most senior” people in the royal institution.
“I just didn’t want to be alive any more. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. And I remember how he [Harry] just cradled me,” Meghan told Winfrey in the interview.
Asked if she thought of harming herself or had suicidal thoughts, she said: “Yes. This was very, very clear … and very scary.”
The interview was watched by 12.4 million people in the UK and more than 17 million in the US, where it first aired on Sunday night on the CBS network.
Last month Harry and Meghan informed the Queen they would no longer be working members of the royal family, which in turn led to them being stripped of their royal patronages.
The decision came 11 months into a 12-month review agreed to by the duke and duchess with Buckingham Palace about their future roles, after announcing they intended to take a “step back” from the family and be part-time royals in January 2020.
In the wide-ranging interview Prince Harry said he had been cut off from his father, the Prince of Wales, both financially and emotionally during their protracted departure from their roles.
He said Prince Charles even stopped taking his calls at one point.
“I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar,” Harry told Winfrey.
Meanwhile, British TV presenter Piers Morgan has abruptly left his job on the ITV show Good Morning Britain following the backlash against his vociferous criticism of Meghan Markle.
“Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain,” the network said in a curt statement today.
“ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”
Actor Jameela Jamil was one of the first to respond to Morgan’s sacking on Twitter.
She claimed that she “almost killed myself a year ago because of Piers Morgan’s relentless campaign of lies and hate against me”.
In one of several furious rants after the Sussexes’ interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which Meghan described her struggle with suicidal thoughts, Morgan declared: “I don’t believe a word she says.”
However, ITV’s chief executive later revealed that she did believe Meghan and said Kevin Lygo, the channel’s top programmer for media and entertainment, had spoken with Morgan in recent days.
Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert says she was beaten and injected with a tranquiliser while being held in an Iranian jail for more than two years.
She has also revealed she once escaped onto the roof of the prison where she was being held to protest against her mistreatment by Iranian authorities.
And she has cast doubt on the Australian government’s strategy to keep her case out of the media for more than a year after her arrest, suggesting that widespread publicity might have helped release her earlier.
Dr Moore-Gilbert has revealed the new details of her ordeal in an interview with Sky News — the first she has given since being freed from prison late last year.
Kylie Moore-Gilbert was sentenced to 10 years in jail for espionage.(Supplied: Department Of Foreign Affairs And Trade)
The academic says she harboured suicidal thoughts during the first four weeks of her arrest when she was placed in “extreme” solitary confinement.
She has accused the Iranian government of deliberately mistreating her in an effort to “break” her.
“It’s psychological torture. You go completely insane. It is so damaging” she said.
“I felt physical pain from the psychological trauma I had in that room. It is a two by two metre box … there is no toilet, there is no television,” she said.
“I felt if I have to endure another day of this, you know, if I could I would just kill myself. But of course I never tried and I never took that step.”
Dr Moore-Gilbert said she was never physically tortured, but two prison guards once beat her after she tried to get a letter out of the prison. She says she was also injected with a tranquiliser against her will.
“The guard went crazy because she knew she would be punished. So she called a male colleague of hers and both of them assaulted me,” she said.
Dr Moore-Gilbert also revealed she repeatedly urged her family and the government to publicise her case in the months following her arrest, but they ignored her wishes.
“The line being run by the government was that trying to find a solution diplomatically behind the scenes with Iran was the best approach for getting me out, and that the media would complicate things and could make Iran angry and piss them off, and make things worse for me,” she said.
She has not directly criticised her family for embracing that logic, and she has heaped praise on the federal government for its work in eventually freeing her.
But Dr Moore-Gilbert also said she was never convinced by the argument that it was better to resolve her case quietly.
“When it did become public, I did notice that [there was] much greater attention to my health and condition. So I certainly saw benefits from that,” she said.
The father-in-law of alleged conwoman Melissa Caddick believes she could still be alive, saying the discovery of the Sydney woman’s severed foot doesn’t prove her death.
Ms Caddick went missing from her $7 million Dover Heights home to go for a run on November 12, the morning after authorities raided her home over claims she had duped investors out of more than $25 million.
On February 21, her decomposed severed foot was discovered in her Asics trainer after it washed up on Bournda Beach on the NSW south coast.
Despite extensive searches, no more of Ms Caddick’s remains have since been found.
The 49-year-old’s father-in-law, Rodo Koletti, is not convinced she is dead, suggesting she could still be alive and in hiding.
“There are still too many unanswered questions. How much of the foot was in the shoe? How was it severed from the rest of the body?” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“Why did the forensic scientist say that the shoe did not appear to be more deteriorated if it had been in the sea since November? Alive or dead, suicide or murder … who knows? The proof will come out eventually.”
Mr Koletti isn’t the only person who thinks Ms Caddick could still be alive, with an international aquatic forensics expert saying a key detail in her shoe suggests she was alive well after she disappeared.
Earlier this week, Murdoch University expert Dr Paola Magni told The Daily Telegraph that the shoe would have had barnacles and marine growth on it within two weeks of being in the water.
She said if the shoe had been in the water since November when Ms Caddick disappeared then the lack of barnacles was odd.
“But if a shoe was underwater protected perhaps in a plastic bag or submerged in a car there is less chance of barnacles maybe. Barnacles can attach on a shoe in 15 days in my experience,” she said.
Last month, Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Newcastle, Dr Xanthe Mallett, also noted the discovery of Ms Caddick’s foot didn’t mean she was dead, pointing out “you can survive without your foot”.
She told Weekend Today that if more remains were found then it would be confirmation of the alleged conwoman’s death, but with just a foot she “would be sceptical”.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller entertained the theory that Ms Caddick could still be alive during an interview on 2GB on Monday.
“There’s always a chance she cut her foot off and is still alive, though it’s pretty fanciful,” he said.
British actress and comedian Dawn French led tributes to her Vicar of Dibley co-star Trevor Peacock after he died aged 89 from a dementia-related illness.
Peacock played cheeky Jim Trott in the comedy series between 1994 and 2015.
He was a memorable character on the parish council and was famous for his catchphrase: “No no no no.”
French paid tribute by posting a photo with Peacock on Twitter and wrote: “Night Trev. I love you.”
A statement on behalf of his family said: “Trevor Peacock, actor, writer and songwriter, died aged 89 on the morning of March 8 from a dementia-related illness.”
Trevor was diagnosed with dementia in 2009 and later retired from acting after one last appearance on a Vicar Of Dibley Comic Relief special in 2015.
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