Prince Harry: Expert on move Palace felt was 'unnecessary'
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Meghan Markle and Harry have been inundated with media appearances in recent months. The pair’s publicity frenzy started with a bombshell interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey. It was here that the couple alleged that the Royal Family had failed Meghan in helping her struggles with mental health, as well as issues surrounding racism with their first child, Archie.
Harry has since appeared in two broadcasts, the first with celebrity Dax Shepard’s podcast, ‘Armchair Expert’, the second in the first episode of his and Winfrey’s new Apple TV+ series exploring mental health, ‘The Me You Can’t See’.
Both stints provoked furore, with reports suggesting royal aides were outraged at Harry.
It all stems from his and Meghan’s breakaway from the Royal Family last year in what was quickly dubbed Megxit.
The pair divided opinion when they announced they would be moving to North America to pursue private lives, only then going on to push and cash-in on their personal brands.
One celebrity who waded into the debate was Steve Coogan, the actor whose character Alan Partridge recently returned to screens with his new venture, ‘This Time with Alan Partridge’.
Coogan has become renowned for his outspoken opinions on topics such as Brexit, and made clear his stance on the Megxit saga shortly after the announcement.
Speaking at a screening of his film, ‘Greed’, in London, he said he sympathised with Harry for making the bold move.
Coogan said: “I’m not a royalist but Prince Harry didn’t choose his role, it was thrust upon him, so I have a great deal of sympathy for them.
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“On a human level, of course, I’m sympathetic to their treatment.”
The actor, who has been a longstanding critic of certain sections of the media and was a core participant at the Leveson inquiry into press standards, added: “The press need to create a soap opera so they can create a narrative that hurts people to sell newspapers, and that was always the way.
“I have more sympathy for those people who don’t have any resources and find themselves being dragged into stories by the press just to sell newspapers, and they are powerless and they don’t have the resources to take legal action.”
However, last year, on being asked by Page Six, he rejected the claim that Meghan and Harry had been treated poorly.
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He said: “I don’t think they have… Although I have some sympathy, I have sympathy for anyone subject to press abuse.
“I would say that members of the Royal Family aren’t top of my sympathy list.”
The comments contrasted with those he expressed during the film premiere.
Before Megxit, Coogan had spoken about where he stood on the Royal Family.
In 2013, ahead of a stint he was set to give promoting his film, ‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that the monarchy should be abolished.
He said: “We have some comments we’re going to make tomorrow at the premiere when I am dressed as Alan – he will be attacking republicans.
“Now, there’s an example where I really am the opposite of Alan, I would abolish the Royal Family tomorrow if I had any power.”
Coogan has on numerous occasions talked of attempts to distance himself from Partridge.
Yet, he admitted his character often “says things that I instinctively think are right”.
‘This Time with Alan Partridge’ airs on Fridays on BBC One at 9:30pm.
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