Queen to give TV message in place of Commonwealth Day service, hours before Prince Harry's tell-all

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

  • Though the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey has been cancelled this year amid the pandemic, the queen will appear on television to celebrate the day.
  • The appearance, set to take place on 7 March, will air hours before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.
  • The news comes as Buckingham Palace confirmed last week that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not be returning as senior working royals.

Queen Elizabeth II will appear on television to celebrate the Commonwealth on 7 March - the same day as her grandson Harry's eagerly-anticipated but controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey will air.

She will share her annual message to mark Commonwealth Day, which is on 8 March this year, in a special programme on BBC One that will replace the usual annual service, which has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her appearance will come just hours before Harry and Meghan tell the world about why they left the royal family, in a move that has reportedly angered its remaining members.

Westminster Abbey, where the annual service would have been held, said Monday the programme will also involve Prince Charles, Prince William, and other senior royals.

Harry and Meghan announced last week the "intimate" interview with the US chat show host, in which they are expected to air their grievances about how they were treated inside the family following their fairy tale wedding in 2018.

Shortly after revealing the interview, Buckingham Palace announced the couple had permanently quit royal duties, just over a year after they rocked the monarchy by announcing plans to "step back" from their roles.

The queen said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would relinquish their honorary titles and patronages following the confirmation that they would not be returning as working royals.  

The couple relocated to the United States last year, and have since embarked on several ventures including lucrative tie-ups with the streaming platforms Netflix and Spotify.

They announced on Valentine's Day that they are expecting their second child, and also hit the headlines earlier this month when Meghan won her high-profile privacy claim against a British newspaper group for publishing a private letter that she wrote to her estranged father.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24