John Humphrys’ dig at Meghan Markle for ‘wanting HRH title without royal duties’

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The veteran journalist, 77, returns to BBC screens tonight for one of his final shows, hosting Mastermind. Humphrys announced his departure from the quiz programme last month and revealed he was “not sure” if he “envied” his successor. The TV star, who used to front Radio 4’s Today show, has spent 55 years at the BBC and is well known for his combative nature.

While on radio airwaves, Humphrys regularly grilled politicians and also had several clashes with the Royal Family.

Once the star recalled Prince Philip swearing at him for mistakenly taking his car.

The Queen rejected his interview requests three times, including once when she flatly stated she would never consider talking to him, according to Humphrys.

The journalist has also taken a few swipes at Prince Harry and Meghan over the years.

Humphrys, a self-professed “ardent republican”, has called for an end to the royals’ reign on a number of occasions.

In an opinion piece for YouGov last year, he argued that ‘Megxit’ could lead to a reduction in the number of senior royals and suggested there was a possibility the monarchy could come to an end.

Humphrys highlighted the coronavirus pandemic meant the Firm was unable to travel to carry out as many royal duties.

He argued that COVID-19 had “deprived us of this service for a while”, which he downplayed as merely “hand-shaking”.

Humphrys continued: “As with everything else we’ve done without over the last few months, the question arises – do we actually need this service or can we do with less or even none at all?”

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Previously, he questioned whether the number of working members of the Royal Family should be “reduced in size”.

Humphrys argued that the public could consider some royals “hangers on” and “leeches on the public purse”.

He continued: “Inheritors of ludicrous titles they do nothing to justify and expecting a deference they have done nothing to earn.

“‘Cull them!’ seems to be the cry of the knitters at the base of the guillotine.”

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Humphrys suggested that Harry may have been “envious of the freedom” of Peter and Zara Phillips.

He believed this could have “affected his attitude to the family profession”.

Humphrys then questioned why Meghan joined the Royal Family.

He said: “At least initially, it was supposed that in marrying him and joining the Royal Family, Meghan Markle fancied a bit of hand-shaking too.

“Why else would she join since that is what they ‘do’?

“Maybe she was misinformed.

“It would now appear that she thought she could become a duchess and an HRH without having to put on the white gloves.”

Humphrys countered his snipe at Meghan by questioning whether Harry wanted to marry outside of the Royal Family to allow him to leave the Firm.

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He felt that he could have “got all this the wrong way wrong” before by only seeing ‘Megxit’ from a “Britain-centric point of view”.

Humphrys added: “It wasn’t so much that Meghan married into the Royal Family as that Harry married into the family of Hollywood celebrity.”

He then mocked the lives of Meghan and Harry since their move to the US.

Humphrys said: “There’s not so much hand-shaking required over there.

“You can join the family and spend more time lounging by the pool.”

Humphrys’ remarks came as Harry and Meghan sought to establish financial self-sufficiency outside of the Royal Family.

The royal couple have negotiated deals with Netflix and Spotify, reportedly worth £81million ($112million) and £29million ($40million).

The Telegraph claimed they could earn up to £710,000 ($1million) for each public speaking event too.

John Humphrys presents Mastermind, which airs at 7.30pm tonight on BBC Two. His tenure as host will reportedly end after March.

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