Buckingham Palace released a short, 61-word statement in response to the interview on behalf of the monarch two days after it aired

By Simon Perry and Stephanie Petit
March 18, 2021 09:00 AM
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Queen Elizabeth's statement in response to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey contained a line that stood out.

Buckingham Palace released a short, 61-word statement on behalf of the monarch, 94, two days after the interview aired in the U.S. While the Queen said the family was "saddened" to hear of Meghan and Harry's challenges and stated "Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members," she also remarked that "some recollections may vary" when it comes to the issues and concerns raised in their interview.

The comment was an "underlying jab" and indicates dissent among the family at some of the claims made in the interview, a royal insider tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.

3/29 cover story

During the interview, Meghan said she was "silenced" by the institution, adding that she was denied help when she was suffering a mental health crisis and that there were "concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie's] skin might be when he's born" voiced by a member of the royal family. Although they didn't want to name the family member, Oprah said Monday morning on CBS This Morning that it was not Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip.

Queen Elizabeth, Meghan, Harry
Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

The family and their aides were in crisis talks as they formulated a response to the interview, which was watched by more than 17 million viewers in the U.S. and 11 million viewers in the U.K.

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Prince harry and Megan and Oprah
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey
| Credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

There is also the heated issue of a probe launched by the palace into claims that Meghan bullied staffers, something the Duchess of Sussex has strenuously denied.

Before the Oprah interview, The Times in the U.K. reported that the Duchess of Sussex faced a bullying complaint made by one of her close advisers during her time as a working royal at Kensington Palace.

The palace has set up an inquiry and will likely bring in an outside law firm to assist. "For [some staffers] there was real stress and real trauma," one source tells PEOPLE.

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In a statement, a spokesperson for Meghan said, "The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma," a spokesperson said in a statement.