The Queen’s youngest son was asked about the breakdown in relations over the past 18 months in a series of interviews to mark what would have been the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday.
In an interview with the US news network CNN, Edward, 57, who also uses the title Earl of Wessex, was questioned about the “family rift which is undeniably there”. He laughingly replied: “Are you euphemistically referring to Harry and Meghan?”
He continued: “It’s very sad, weirdly we’ve all been there before, we’ve all had excessive intrusion and attention in our lives, and we’ve all dealt with it in slightly different ways. And, listen, we wish them the very best of luck, it’s a really hard decision. Fantastic news about the baby, that’s great. I hope they will be very happy and it’s just … families are families, aren’t they, really?”
He added: “It’s difficult for everyone, but as I say that’s families for you.”
His comments came in the wake of the latest flare-up, when Harry and Meghan hit out at the BBC and rejected claims that the Queen had not been consulted about giving their baby daughter her family nickname, Lilibet.
In a separate interview with the BBC, Edward was asked how he is coping with the royal rift. He replied: “I stay well out of it. It’s much the safest place to be.”
Asked whether he felt “any sadness” about the situation, he responded: “Of course. There are all sorts of issues and circumstances there, but we’ve all been through there. We’ve all had that same spotlight shone on our lives, we’ve all been subjected to massive intrusion and all the rest of it, and we all deal with it in different ways.”
Referring to the birth of the Sussexes’ daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, he added: “We just wish them all happiness, it’s fantastic news and, absolutely, we hope they are very happy.”
The “Megxit” saga began in January last year when Harry and Meghan announced their intention to “step back” as senior members of the royal family.
The couple have since moved to California where Meghan and Harry, in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, claimed that a royal had made racist comments about the colour of their first child Archie’s skin.
Prince Edward, who will inherit the Duke of Edinburgh title when his mother dies, was asked how the 95-year-old Queen was coping with the loss of her husband of 73 years in April.
He replied: “I think actually doing remarkably well” and said her growing work schedule as the country comes out of lockdown had helped her cope with grief: “I think that it was a fantastic partnership, but over the last couple of weeks, life has got considerably busier. Things are beginning to open up more, there are more activities so weirdly that sort of fills any particular void. I think there are going to be other times further on in the year where I think that it will become a bit more poignant and a bit harder.”
Prince Edward claimed his father would not have wanted a fuss around his centenary and may even not “really necessarily wanted to reach” the landmark. He added: “I think he just thought there would be too much fuss, and that wasn’t him, that was just not him at all.”
What would have been the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday today has been marked with the planting of a newly-bred rose named after her late husband. The Queen received the gift from the Royal Horticultural Society and watched it being placed in the Windsor Castle gardens last week to commemorate Philip’s centenary.
She described the Duke of Edinburgh Rose, which is deep pink, dappled with white lines and double-flowered, as “lovely” and the tribute as “very kind”.
A year ago, the Queen and Philip were photographed together in the castle’s quadrangle to mark his 99th birthday.