Tuesday morning UK news briefing: Palace silent in racism crisis

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Barricade of silence from Buckingham Palace

It has been met with a royal wall of silence. After the Duchess of Sussex’s “bombshell” interview with Oprah Winfrey, Buckingham Palace is under intense pressure to react to the claims that sparked a racism crisis. In the most damaging allegation for the Royal family, Meghan said that when she was pregnant with her son, Archie, “concerns” had been raised with the Duke of Sussex about how dark the baby’s skin might be. US President Joe Biden was among those to praise her “courage” for speaking out. But the Palace failed to issue a response within 24 hours of the interview being aired in the US. It is understood that officials have prepared a statement, but the Queen had not signed off on it last night as she wanted more time to consider it. Associate Editor Gordon Rayner has the inside story of how the Royal family held grimly to a trusted PR strategy. These are the other key claims the Palace will be poring over.

The interview aired on ITV last night. It was 90 minutes filled with talking points, but how did revelations from the Sussexes’ bombshell conversation with Ms Winfrey match up with what we already knew? Guy Kelly examines what the world missed during five key moments. Reviewer Anita Singh thought the “mesmerising” royal scandal was delivered by a “master interviewer”. But Celia Walden thinks Meghan “deserves an Oscar”. See how the world reacted. And Matt sums up the experience of the viewing public with today’s cartoon.

Blower cartoon


Cartoonist Blower’s view on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview

What next: Are there more bombshells to come?

Two hours of the interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex failed to make it into the final edit, raising the prospect of further revelations being drip-fed by US television. It emerged that Ms Winfrey interviewed first the Duchess – and then Meghan and Harry jointly – over three hours and 20 minutes. But only one hour and 25 minutes made it into the prime-time programme that was broadcast on the US network CBS on Sunday, and repeated last night on ITV for a fee of £1 million. Chief Reporter Robert Mendick explains what may follow.

Bryony Gordon: Storm could have been avoided

Almost 18 months ago, the Duchess of Sussex confided in The Telegraph‘s Bryony Gordon about the troubles she was having with her mental health. Bryony remembers “quite clearly the visceral feeling I had in my stomach” as Meghan told her that she had been denied help. As the debate now rages over who is in the right and who is in the wrong, she asks: could there have been another way forward?

Coronavirus briefing: Today’s headlines

Tests fiasco | Children who receive false positives when tested at school will still be banned from the classroom for 10 days and told to self-isolate, the Government said. Ministers are accused of pursuing a “ridiculous” policy on lateral flow tests that has “no scientific basis” and will result in youngsters missing out on school unnecessarily. It came as millions of children returned to classrooms for the first time in months.  

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Around the world: £400m debt ‘linked’ to Nazanin

Britain is looking at ways to pay off the £400 million debt that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, believes is linked to her detention in Iran, a former senior diplomat has confirmed. Senior Foreign Correspondent Roland Oliphant reports the process is “in the endgame”. View more striking world pictures in our gallery.

Richard Ratcliffe and his daughter hold a picture of Nazanin outside the Iranian embassy


Richard Ratcliffe and his daughter hold a picture of Nazanin outside the Iranian embassy


Credit: Ian West/PA

Comment and analysis: Harry and Meghan interview

You’ve got this: Getting you through lockdown

  1. Wish you weren’t here… Just moved to the country? What your neighbours really think
  2. From operas to film festivals | Madrid shows how the arts can flourish despite Covid
  3. Relationship strains | ‘I found myself googling for divorce lawyers at 3am in lockdown’

Business and money briefing

Boot stepping into Foot | Terry Boot will step into the position of finance chief at Shoe Zone after his predecessor Peter Foot walked away. The AIM-listed chain, which has 430 stores in the UK, posted a drop in sales of 24.3 per cent to £122.6m for the year to the end of October.  

Sport briefing

Backing the boss | Jurgen Klopp has the full backing of Liverpool’s American owners to lead the club’s revival from their wretched form, regardless of a catastrophic title defence. Chris Bascombe reports that questions over the coach’s future have been privately dismissed.  

Tonight’s dinner

Beetroot and apple with caraway, sour cream and hot-paprika butter | A colourful vegetarian dish by Diana Henry. View the recipe. Try our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

Brush with law | Could there be a Mr Big with a passion for Baroque art behind this mystery worthy of Insp Morse? Alastair Sooke has the inside story of an extraordinary heist at Oxford.

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