A longtime friend and biographer of Prince Philip said the late royal advised his family against giving personal interviews to avoid casting details of their private lives into the public spotlight.
Gyles Brandreth told ITV News that the Duke of Edinburgh, who died at 99 on April 9, shared this bit of advice with his children and possibly his grandchildren.
"I know that the Duke of Edinburgh’s rule was, 'Don’t talk about yourself, don’t give personal interviews,'" Brandreth said. "I know that, and I know he told his children that because he told me. I imagine that’s the advice he would have given his grandchildren as well."
This "rule" begs the question of how Philip may have felt after his grandson Prince Harry and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, disclosed their personal issues in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.
The couple alleged racial prejudice, bullying and cold indifference within the royal family in their explosive interview with Winfrey that had the family denying being racist and mulling over whether to hire someone to oversee diversity efforts.
According to Brandreth, Philip strongly disapproved of even conducting the interview in the first place.
"I know from someone close to him that he thought Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey was 'madness' and 'no good would come of it,'" Brandreth told The Daily Mail. "I was not surprised because that is exactly how he described to me the personal TV interviews given by Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, back in the 1990s."
The husband of Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving consort in British history, and he valued the institution of the royal family above all.
"He wanted to separate the role of the monarchy from the people involved," Brandreth told ITV News. "It is an institution, and he said to me, 'Well, I have done my best to help keep it going while I have been here.'"
Philip believed that while the royal family should grant interviews, they should steer clear of talking about their private lives, according to Brandreth. The royal feared doing so would turn their lives "into a soap opera," Brandreth told ITV News.
"The fact that the Meghan and Harry interview was aired while Philip was in hospital did not trouble him," Brandreth also told The Daily Mail. "What did worry him was the couple's preoccupation with their own problems and their willingness to talk about them in public. 'Give TV interviews by all means,' he said, 'but don't talk about yourself.'"
Despite his displeasure with the Winfrey interview, Philip maintained his love for Harry and considered him a good man.
"He said to me: 'People have got to lead their lives as they think best,'" Brandreth said.
Philip also disagreed with Harry and Meghan's controversial decision to step down as working members of the senior royal family. Philip had been captain general of the Royal Marines for 64 years before Harry succeeded him in 2017 and then relinquished the title only three years later.
"The Duke of Edinburgh was not pleased, nor did he believe that Harry and Meghan were doing the right thing either for the country or for themselves," Brandreth told The Daily Mail.
Harry is now back at Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle for the first time in more than a year as the royal family prepares for Philip's funeral Saturday.
Harry and his older brother, Prince William, both issued statements Monday paying tribute to their grandfather. This week also marks the first time the brothers have been together since the interview with Winfrey.