Prince Harry took his place as the guest editor of Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, where he revealed that his fiancee, Meghan Markle had a “fantastic” Christmas at Sandringham, and talked of climate change with Prince Charles, plus grilled former US-President Barack Obama.
The Prince was asked about his upcoming nuptials by presenter Sarah Montague as he appeared in studio, to conclude the three-hour show. The 33-year-old Prince said that the Royal Family ‘loved’ having the 36-year-old American actress to celebrate with them at Sandringham, a tradition that is usually reserved for senior members of the Royal Family.
Harry also mentioned that the Windsors are “the family she has never had”.
“We had great fun staying with my brother and sister-in-law and running round with the kids,” Prince Harry said. “Christmas was fantastic.”
The presenter then asked the Royal whether there were any family traditions that had to be explained to Ms Markle for the festive stay – the Royals are known for their kooky gifts! Harry replied: “Oh plenty, I think we’ve got one of the biggest families that I know of, and every family is complex as well.”
However, Prince Harry refused to say whether he will be sending a wedding invitation to President Obama, stating that he didn’t want to “ruin that surprise!”
Harry said: “We haven’t even put the invite or the guest list together, who knows if he’s going to be invited or not!
At the end of the live part of the show, the former-army captain sounded positive about what the future holds: “And as I said we’re really looking forward to new year and looking forward to 2018.
“Because, you know, I’m determined to make sure that myself and the young generation and everybody else this pendulum is going to swing and 2018 is going to be a fantastic year and we all need to play our part.”
Earlier in the programme, the pre-recorded interview with President Obama was played, where Harry chatted to him about a range of issues such as social media. The President warned that the irresponsible use of social media is distorting the public’s understanding of complex issues, leading to the spread of misinformation. Many think this was a hint at President’ Trumps erratic behaviour on Twitter.
Prince Harry and Obama spent the bulk of the interview talking about an issue that they both care passionately about: empowering a new generation of leaders worldwide. The President said: “This generation is the most sophisticated, the most tolerant in many ways, the most embracing of diversity, the most tech-savvy, the most entrepreneurial”, but expressed concern about social media’s impact on young people:
“The question is: how do we harness this technology that allows a multiplicity of voices, a diversity of views but does not lead to a Balkanisation of our society but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground?
“All of us in leadership have to find ways to recreate a common space on the internet. One of the dangers of the internet is people can have entirely different realities. They can be just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”
Harry also grilled him on his preferences, from ‘boxers or briefs?’ – “We don’t answer those questions!” came the response – and whether he preferred the “Queen or The Queen.” Mr Obama quickly answered Elizabeth II.
Obama also commented on how it felt to leave office, and how he enjoys the slower pace of normal life as an ordinary citizen. Speaking about the day he left office, Obama said, “Overall there was serenity there, more than I would have expected,” but he admitted that he did think of “all the work that was left undone.”
The ex-President spoke of life after public office, noting how he can now “spend an extra 45 minutes talking to Michelle or having a long breakfast”, something he couldn’t do as President.
“I haven’t done that many interviews but it was quite fun, especially interviewing President Obama despite the fact he wanted to interview me,” Prince Harry explained, when he was asked how it felt to be the interviewer, instead of the interviewee. “It’s been a big learning curve but also these are incredibly important topics we all need to think about and need to be discussed.”
The full-40 minute version of the Obama interview can be heard below.
The Today Programme also featured an audio diary made by the Prince at the Invictus Games, recorded in Toronto in September. In it, Harry praised the athletes that participated, and spoke of the encouraging atmosphere at the games.
Finally, the fifth-in-line to the throne sat down with his own father, The Prince of Wales, to discuss climate change.
During the short chat, Prince Charles revealed that he is happy that people are finally listening to his “dotty” opinions on the environment. He added that it was “amazing” that Prince Harry was also listening to his father, and taking up the issue.
At the start of the interview, Prince Harry referred to his father as ‘Pa’ and said it was ‘very nice’ to see him. He asked his father to name one issue to focus on.
Charles spoke about his work on the environment and climate change: “Which is now, whether we like it or not, is the biggest threat multiplier we face because what is happening now is what I was dreading.
“Which is we are having to deal all the time with the symptoms that are springing up all round the world, and they are diverting us off down all these different channels to try and deal with ghastly conflicts and humanitarian and natural disasters, and goodness knows what else.
“But at the root of it all, much of it, is climate change which is causing untold horrors in different parts of the world.”
Harry then responded: “Moving on, I know the two of us could end up talking about this for hours and hours and hours of which we always do but not with a microphone in front of us.
“But do you feel optimistic about the future, for the world that William, myself, your grandchildren and everyone else out there is going to inherit?”
Charles replied, “Well my dear boy if I must say so, the fact you’re saying this, gives me enormous optimism. I haven’t obviously put you off when banging on all these years!”
At the end of the interview, The Prince of Wales praised his son; “Well, darling boy, it makes me very proud to think that you understand.”
Harry then joked: “And that I’m listening?”
“Well that’s even more amazing”, Charles said.
Listen to the father and son’s chat below.
During the programme, it was announced that The Queen’s grandson has been appointed President of African Parks, a conservation NGO that Harry has worked with in the past.
Another part of Harry’s show saw him talk to artificial intelligence expert, Demis Hassabis, and Russell Stilwell of RSE building services who spoke about mental health in the workplace; the company won an award for prioritising mental health in the construction industry earlier this year.
Other topics Harry chose to focus upon for his stint on the radio was youth violence, the Armed Forces, and the future of the Commonwealth.
The full three-hour show can be listened to here for UK readers.