Queen Elizabeth II emphasized the importance of unity and family in a royal speech that aired just hours before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s reunion with Oprah Winfrey aired.
In a message broadcast on Sunday, the British monarch also addressed the role of technology in keeping people connected with friends and family amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Although she arrived hours before the long-awaited interview, the queen made no mention of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex or her next interview with Winfrey, which will be on Sunday night in the United States and Monday in the United Kingdom.
“The trying times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual nurture we enjoy in being connected with each other,” the queen said in her audio message.
People have become used to “connecting and communicating using our innovative technology” that allows them “to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues and counterparts,” he said. Online communication “transcends borders or divisions, helping to dispel any sense of distance.”
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The queen also paid tribute to frontline workers helping in the fight against COVID-19 in Commonwealth nations.
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His message of unity stands in stark contrast to the turmoil in the royal family prior to the interview, which promises to provide unprecedented insight into the couple’s departure from royal duties and the stresses they have been subjected to.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left royal life a year ago. The meeting with Winfrey is an opportunity for the couple to explain what led them to leave real life, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.
Pre-released clips have already shown Harry talking about his fears of history repeating itself after his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car accident while being chased by paparazzi. In another clip from the interview, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today.”
In another pre-released clip, Meghan told Winfrey how “liberating” it was to have a conversation with the TV host without the royal caretakers involved.
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It is unclear what public reaction, if any, the queen and other members of the royal family will have to the interview. The UK’s Sunday Times newspaper, citing an anonymous source, reported that the queen would not see him.
In addition to the pandemic and record economic downturn, Prince Philip, Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather, is now recovering from a heart procedure.
Associated Press contributed to this report.