A “bruised and vulnerable” Duke of Sussex was advised to “tell the truth” before he gave his dramatic documentary interview, the programme’s presenter has revealed.
Harry and Meghan’s candid on-screen chat with ITV News At Ten anchor Tom Bradby gave a glimpse into the struggles they face as newlyweds and new parents, living in the public eye.
But Bradby, a long-time friend of the duke, said before filming the ITV documentary he knew everything was not entirely “rosy” behind the scenes, and he now hoped everyone would pause for breath.
Speaking on the US breakfast show Good Morning America the presenter said: “We had a couple of private heart-to-hearts before we did the interview and I said, ‘Let’s just go out and tell the truth as you see it.’
“The thing about Harry is, whether in private or in public, if you ask him an honest question he’ll give you an honest answer, for better or worse.”
In the documentary, filmed during the Sussexes’ recent official visit to southern Africa, the duke said he and his brother the Duke of Cambridge were now “on different paths” and have “good days” and “bad days” in their relationship.
Meghan described the past year as a member of the royal family as “hard” and said her British friends had warned her not to marry Harry.
The duchess told the programme she tried to cope with the pressures of her new life by putting on a “stiff upper lip”, but she was not prepared for the intensity of the tabloid interest.
Bradby added: “I knew that everything wasn’t entirely rosy behind the scenes. But all the same I had intended to turn up doing a more conventional, journalistic job, maybe beforehand I told them I was going to have to put some pretty pointed questions.
“The reality I found was just a couple that seemed a bit bruised and vulnerable – with mental health and all the rest of it you have to be careful what words you use – that was the story I found and it seemed the right journalistic thing to do, to try and tell that story as empathetically as I could.”
His comments came as a celebrity friend of the couple, singer James Blunt, praised Harry’s charity work and said the media coverage of the pair was almost akin to “bullying”.
The performer, known for his hit You’re Beautiful, said: “Him I know from the Army, he’s a very nice man, a really phenomenal soldier, who does a lot of work for other people, for charities, for veterans, for Sentebale charity, for children in Africa, and I think under great scrutiny they seem to try a lot for other people.
“So the vitriol seems a bit like leaning on bullying to me.”
A royal source told the BBC William was concerned about his brother following the documentary screening, and hoped Harry and Meghan were “all right”. The source added that the assessment of the Queen and other senior royals was that the couple were “in a fragile place”.
But a source close to the Sussexes told CNN the reaction to Harry’s comments on the ITV programme about being on a “different path” to his brother had been “hysterical”.
The source said the couple had “single-handedly modernised the monarchy” and added they were surrounded by people “afraid of and inexperienced” at how best to “deploy their value”.
Meanwhile, Meghan is the cover star of Tatler, for the magazine’s 310th anniversary issue. The December edition features an archive photo of the duchess, taken by Janick Lauren.
It debates “The Meghan issue”, with the cover headline asking “Does she conquer or divide?”, with writers like Lionel Shriver and Lynn Barber “taking sides”.