Queen praises 'dedication to duty' before Harry and Meghan interview

Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday spoke of the importance of "dedication to duty" in a television address hours before the screening of US chat show host Oprah Winfrey's eagerly-anticipated interview with Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II signs her annual Commonwealth Day Message in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, Windsor, west of London on March 5, 2021. Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP
The speech by the British monarch during a Commonwealth Day Service comes ahead of the airing of the tell-all interview which has opened a rift between the Buckingham Palace and the US-based couple.

In the pre-recorded message from London's Westminster Abbey, where last year at the same service Meghan and Harry made their last appearance before giving up royal duties, the queen praises those across the commonwealth who have put others first during the pandemic.

"Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the commonwealth, stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every commonwealth nation and territory," she said.

"The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others," she added at the event celebrating the commonwealth, an association of nations from the former British Empire.

Harry and Meghan, who have relocated to California, agreed last month they would not return to their roles as senior royals.

The issue of service and duty became a point of contention as Meghan and Harry severed ties. They said in a statement last month: "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

Last month, Buckingham Palace said the couple had confirmed they would not "continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service".

Since Harry and Meghan's departure last year and in particular in the weeks leading up to the interview with Winfrey, public disagreements between the couple and "the firm", as the royal family is sometimes described, have intensified.

The interview is expected to lift the lid on what goes on behind the scenes in the royal family with the US chat show host saying no question is off-limits in clips released during the build-up to Sunday's broadcast.

The Sunday Times said the queen would not watch the interview and the newspaper reported the palace will only look to respond if individual members are attacked in the interview.

Ahead of the queen's address, other senior royals -- Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, his eldest son William and their wives Camilla and Kate -- paid tribute to the world's frontline workers during the Covid outbreak in a series of special video clips.

Topics: Queen Elizabeth II , Oprah Winfrey , Prince Harry , Meghan Markle
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