The royal book of the season is royal expert Robert Jobson’s latest, Our King: Charles III: The Man and the Monarch. It broke juicy bombshells like the Princess of Wales saying the Windsor Castle walkabout alongside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle two days after Her late Majesty died was “one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do”; that the late Queen called Harry and Meghan’s behavior “quite mad”; and that Harry cursed his father (then known as Prince Charles) out over money. Jobson is a legend in the royal reporting space, even winning an award in 2005 for breaking the news about Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles’ engagement.
Now, it’s Charles’ turn to be profiled by Jobson, who has also written books on Princess Diana, Prince Philip, and Prince William. Marie Claire spoke with Jobson exclusively about how he believes Harry will be received at the Coronation this weekend, whose idea it was to take part in the aforementioned joint Windsor Castle walkabout, and whether William or Harry will ever reconcile—or even speak to one another—again.
Marie Claire: The book, as its title suggests, centers around King Charles. What have been your impressions of the King’s reign, nearly eight months in? Has it been better, worse, or about the same as what you expected?
Robert Jobson: About the same. In reality, I think it’s slightly better than I expected. He’s showing strong leadership at a time when a lot of people needed it. The Queen was such a constant figure in our lives, and he’s done pretty well. People have been more analytical and more questioning of his abilities now, before he gets crowned [at Saturday’s Coronation]. A lot of things have happened that have resulted in that, the cause of that mainly being the Netflix documentary, Harry and Meghan—a lot of things have been said and done that can’t be undone. He’s basically done, I think, pretty well, even with his own son doing what he’s done with the book and the Netflix documentary. It has damaged the monarchy internationally, there’s no doubt. [The monarchy] has lost a lot of relevance in that [twentysomething] age group, and I think that should be a concern for the King. He should have no complacency whatsoever.
MC: What is the King like when the cameras are off?
RJ: He’s a very charming man. He likes the arts, he likes walking, he likes the poetry of Dylan Thomas, Shakespeare—Henry V is his favorite play. He loves music, he loves to paint when he has time. He’s an interesting man—slightly eccentric. Someone that I think is a kind and loving person, and a deeply spiritual man.
MC: What are your expectations for the Coronation?
RJ: They’re very high. I think if [the Coronation] matches the TV audience for the Jubilee, it will be really good; if it comes anywhere near the drama and spectacle of the Queen’s funeral, it would be amazing. I think it’ll be somewhere in between.
MC: How will Prince Harry be received by the royal family?
RJ: I think he’ll be received very well. He’s a very personable person. If they [Harry and the rest of the royal family] do get a chance to spend some time together, it’ll be a very good thing for the monarchy—no more of this squabbling.
MC: Why do you think Meghan declined her invitation to the Coronation?
RJ: It could well be [Archie's] birthday. A lot of parents, with two major events happening—the Coronation and Archie’s birthday—they’ve decided not to drag the kids halfway across the world. In a way, I admire her for that. It can be seen as an excuse, but I don’t think it is.
MC: When she married into the family, it was never thought Camilla would be Queen—rather, it was said at the time she would be known as Princess Consort. Now, the Palace is very much declaring her Queen Camilla, as evidenced in the Coronation invitation. What are your thoughts on this, and what is the public reception?
RJ: I wrote in 2005, I said that he’d be King, and she’d be Queen Consort. It’s a fact: She’s a woman married to a King. The jury’s out. People who know her are very pleased with it. She’s a very personable lady. She makes the King happy, is witty, funny, a natural lady. The thing is, though, a lot of people don’t know her. They see her as a pariah who wrecked a marriage, and they’ll always have that issue, and it’s unfair. She’s very much country gentry—smiley, friendly, and will always call you by your first name. She’s a really good egg, a really good person.
MC: As you write about in the book, why was the King insistent that Meghan not go to Balmoral on the day Her late Majesty died?
RJ: There was no real reason for her to be there. There were no other wives of grandchildren there. Kate wasn’t there, so there was no need for her to be there at all. And they had felt so much disquiet with Meghan.
MC: While at Balmoral, why did the King have a private dinner with Prince William, but not Prince Harry?
RJ: At that time, they were at loggerheads over Netflix.
MC: Is there any hope for a reconciliation between Prince William and Prince Harry? Do you think there is hope for them even speaking again?
RJ: Yeah, I do, I do have hope for a chance of reconciliation—if [William] sees fit, if he makes it happen. Harry won’t make the first move. It’s difficult to say or look into the future, but from what I know I’d say yes, if you base history on repeating itself.
MC: One of the biggest bombshells from the book was that Kate said the Windsor Castle walkabout two days after the Queen died was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do. Whose idea was it to do that walkabout? Was it William’s?
RJ: It was. He reached out to Harry. There’s clear animosity between the two women [Kate and Meghan]—you can see it in their body language.
MC: What is the cause of that animosity?
RJ: Everything that’s gone on, and I think they genuinely clashed in their personalities. It’s difficult to say why, but clearly there is no love lost there.
MC: Have you heard rumors about Meghan writing a memoir, à la Spare?
RJ: There’s been a lot of talk. We don’t know, but if she did that, goodness me. How many bombshells do they want to drop? How much money do they want to make?
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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