The Invictus Games are a major priority for Prince Harry – and since he’s basically the face of the games, he’s been putting his face out there the last few days to generate as much attention on the event, and the athletes most importantly, as possible. This is why he and Meghan Markle, after a lengthy retreat from the spotlight, came out in such a big way this past weekend.
Drawing eyeballs on Invictus though requires media. And for Prince Harry, the media he’s chosen to speak to is American. You can imagine how that’s going over in the UK and how they’re reacting to the two exclusives that Harry has given – to PEOPLE and also The Today Show.
In exchange for the access, PEOPLE put Harry on the cover of their latest issue:
Harry’s comments are centered around service and he and Meghan’s commitment to a life of service, which comes up a lot in both of his interviews. He’s not new to this, and he understands, after a lifetime in the public eye, the kinds of things people want to ask and hear. So he’s getting better and better at answering in a way that circles back to his main point of service and giving back, while still dropping a few nuggets. With PEOPLE, he talked about the role that Invictus played in his relationship with Meghan:
"There is nowhere you can feel more embraced and supported than with the Invictus family," he says. "The Toronto Games were our first time out and about publicly in an official way. We were dating at the time, so it was a lot to take in, but fortunately, we were with the perfect community for that.
"Now, five years later, here we are in The Hague at the fifth Invictus Games, as parents of two, and living in the US. I had always wanted to share these incredible moments with someone special, and to have Meg by my side means everything."
That last part, “to have Meg by my side means everything” is exactly what the PEOPLE editors were looking for. That statement alone made the exclusive worth it.
As for The Today Show, well, they got theirs too. And definitely worth the trip for Hoda Kotb to go to The Hague for the opportunity to talk to Harry on camera – mostly about Invictus, of course, spotlighting several athletes and the mission of the Games, and the focus on mental health. But she did slip in a few non-Invictus questions, which Harry would have been prepared for, both to answer and for how his answers would be interpreted.
When Hoda asked him about spending time with the Queen recently, he talked about how wonderful it was to see her and how she’s “on great form”. What’s making headlines though is the comment he tacked on to the end of this thought:
"She's always got a great sense of humor with me and I'm making sure that she's, you know, protected and got the right people around her."
The read on this from the British tabloids, naturally, is that it’s a dig at his family members and the courtiers and the shenanigans we’ve seen from them over the last few years. At one point he also tells Hoda that, “We have a really special relationship, we talk about things that she can’t talk about with anyone else”.
Well that’s a flex.
And in combination with the “right people around her” thing, there’s no doubt that it’ll be taken in some circles that Harry was taking a shot. Which will likely result in some rebuttals, one of them being that he’s not even living in England anymore, and he swoops in for a couple of hours on a flyover and is “making sure that she’s protected” and has “the right people around her”?
On that note, with respect to where he lives now, it’s in the US and he tells Hoda that that’s home now. Home is where he and his family live – although he predicted that that would be making headlines in the UK, a prince of England referring to “home” as America.
Or perhaps the bigger headline could be that when Hoda tries to get out of him if he misses England and in particular his family, and even more specifically his father and brother, Harry sidesteps that completely and basically just says he doesn’t want to talk about that and would rather focus on the work he’s doing with Invictus and after that getting back to his kids in California.
There were multiple occasions actually where he referred obliquely to how “circumstances” are different now with respect to the royal family that would suggest that the “circumstances”, while probably not as volatile as they were a year ago, are still not all that great. And there is no confirmation from Harry that he’ll return to the UK for the Jubilee celebrations in the summer. “I don’t know” is what he told Hoda, explaining that he’s still trying to sort all that out.
So the negotiations are still happening behind the scenes. Curious to see what impact this American home media tour will have on that.
Watch Harry’s full interview with Hoda at Today.