Prince Charles hails ‘courage’ of Commonwealth during COVID crisis as hype builds over Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview

The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to the “extraordinary determination, courage and creativity” of people throughout the Commonwealth during the COVID crisis, as the Royal Family carry on with their work amid the hype around Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah.

Prince Charles delivers the speech during a television programme due to be broadcast tomorrow ahead of Commonwealth Day on Monday.

Speaking from Westminster Abbey, where he was last seen publicly with Meghan and Harry, he says: “The coronavirus pandemic has affected every country of the Commonwealth, cruelly robbing countless people of their lives and livelihoods, disrupting our societies and denying us the human connections which we so dearly cherish.

“Amidst such heart-breaking suffering, however, the extraordinary determination, courage and creativity with which people have responded has been an inspiration to us all.”

Talking about how it has made many refocus on the environment he adds: “This pandemic has shown us the true nature of a global emergency. We have learned that human health, economic health and planetary health are fundamentally interconnected and that pandemics, climate change and biodiversity loss are existential threats which know no borders.”

The programme featuring the Royal Family celebrating the Commonwealth will be screened a few hours before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

In extracts released over the past few days, Meghan has criticised the constraints she faced as a working royal, and said it was “liberating” to be able to “say yes” to a request for an interview with the US chat show host.

She accused The Firm – as the Royal Family is sometimes known – of “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and Harry.

But the Windsors have continued their official work in recent weeks despite the hype around the interview, and the Duke of Edinburgh being admitted to hospital.

Commonwealth Day is one of the most important days of the year for the Queen, who has made the Commonwealth a cornerstone of her official work during her 69-year reign.

A pre-recorded message from Her Majesty will feature in the programme along with contributions from other members of the family.

In a video call between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and a medic in South Africa, Kate says it’s sad that it’s taken a pandemic to make the world wake up to the contribution of medical staff.

She says: “Here in the UK there’s been masses of public recognition of the amazing work the front line are doing and it’s sad, almost, that it’s taken the pandemic for the public to really back and support all those working on the front line.”

Camilla is featured speaking to broadcaster Clare Balding about how her interest in books was inspired by her father Major Bruce Shand’s love for literature.

The duchess says: “I’ve always had a passion for books. Books have been part of my life for so long. I started reading when I was very, very young with a father who was a fervent bibliophile. So from the age of two or three he used to sit and read to us children, take us on wonderful adventures… all over the world.”

While Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, speaks by video link to three women from around the Commonwealth, to hear about their experiences of supporting other women and their wider communities.

It was at Westminster Abbey’s Commonwealth Day service in March last year when the Sussexes were last seen with their family, sitting close to the Queen, Charles, Camilla and William and Kate.

Their much-anticipated interview with Oprah will air on Sunday night in the US.

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