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Crown of thorns Royals braced for 'all-out war' ahead of Harry and Meghan's explosive Oprah interview

You could probably only describe that relationship now, between the two sides, as all-out war”

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, after the announcement of their engagement (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, after the announcement of their engagement (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, after the announcement of their engagement (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Buckingham Palace was last night bracing itself for an explosive interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as one royal pundit called the shattered relationship between both sides “all-out war”. 

Last night it was revealed that CBS paid at least $7 million - and possibly up to $9 million - for Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the couple, amid expectations that it would be a ratings smash in the US and worldwide. The sum was paid to Winfrey’s production company.

Several other countries have already bought the rights to the interview from CBS including ITV in the UK. The interview will air on RTÉ on Monday night.

The network is expecting such huge audiences to tune in that it’s charging advertisers a premium rate of $325,000 for a 30-second slot - twice the normal rate.

“You could probably only describe that relationship now, between the two sides, as all-out war,” Sunday Times royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah told CBS News last night.

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The couple on their wedding day (Chris Jackson/PA)

The couple on their wedding day (Chris Jackson/PA)

The couple on their wedding day (Chris Jackson/PA)

Royals at War author Dylan Howard, speaking ahead of a new documentary about the deepening rift, said that there will be a huge fallout. “It's almost like Prince Harry is driving a wedge with a sledgehammer through his relationship with Prince William.

“William, as a staunch advocate of everything that the Royal Family means, is obviously going to be dragged into this. I expect this interview to not only reverberate in the United States and England, but to rock the establishment at its core.”

Tens of millions of Americans are expected to tune into the interview on Sunday night, a traditionally busy night for TV consumption. The interview is scheduled to air following the network’s top-rating news show 60 Minutes.

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The royal family will be waiting to see what the Sussexes say (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The royal family will be waiting to see what the Sussexes say (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The royal family will be waiting to see what the Sussexes say (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Oprah Winfrey landed the high-stakes interview with Harry and Meghan, broadcast in the US on Sunday. Under the agreement between CBS and Winfrey’s company Harpo Productions, the network will license the interview internationally the following day.

The interview will be the first with the couple since they stopped royal duties and moved to the US. The couple recently revealed that Meghan was pregnant with their second child. It will air in two segments - in the first, Oprah will have a one-to-one chat with the former Suits star about stepping into life as a royal. In the second segment, Harry will join them to discuss their future.

The interview is only likely to fan the war of words between team Harry and Meghan and the Royal Family as both sides struck out this weekend.

Following claims that unnamed royal staff members accused Meghan of “emotional cruelty and manipulation”, forcing two of them to quit, Buckingham Palace took the unprecedented move of issuing a public response to the newspaper report.

The Palace said that it was “clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times,” and that its human resources team "will look into the circumstances outlined in the article."

In a newly released clip from the interview, recorded two weeks ago, Meghan accused the Place of telling lies about them. When asked by Oprah how the Palace would feel about hear her speak out, she replied: “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.”

This weekend, several of Meghan’s high-profile friends lashed out at bullying allegations levelled against her. Suits actor Patrick J Adams, who played her husband in the hit show, wrote: “Meghan Markle and I spent the better part of a decade working together on Suits. From day one she was an enthusiastic, kind, cooperative, giving, joyful and supportive member of our television family. She remained that person and colleague as fame, prestige and power accrued.

“She has always been a powerful woman with a deep sense of morality and a fierce work ethic and has never been afraid to speak up, be heard and defend herself and those she holds dear. Like the rest of the world, I have watched her navigate the last few years in astonishment. She fell in love, moved to a new country, became a household name across the entire globe and began the difficult work of trying to find her place in a family dynamic that can at best be described as complicated and at worst, seemingly archaic and toxic.

“It's OBSCENE that the Royal Family, who’s (sic) newest member is currently GROWING INSIDE OF HER, is promoting and amplifying accusations of 'bullying' against a woman who herself was basically forced to flea (sic) the UK in order protect her family and her own mental health.”

Meanwhile, Meghan’s friend Jessica Mulroney took to Instagram following the allegations. The top fashion stylish wrote: “I don’t know that anyone has ever had to deal with the pressure, the politics and the press like this woman. In the face of it all, I have never seen her waver from kindness, empathy and love.”

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