Holly Willoughby appears to reject Meghan Markle claim about royal family: ‘I don’t believe that’

Holly Willoughby has disagreed with a claim made by the Duchess of Sussex in relation to how formal the royal family is, even behind closed doors.

The This Morning co-host defended the Princess of Wales after Meghan Markle said she was “surprised” by the formality of the Prince of Wales and Kate during the first time they met.

In the second episode of the new Netflix documentaryHarry and Meghan, the duchess recalled how she wore “ripped jeans and was barefoot” when Prince William and Kate visited her and Prince Harry for dinner.

“I was a hugger. I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realise that is really jarring for a lot of Brits,” she said. “I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside.”

Speaking to TV personality and author Carol Vorderman and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth on Friday morning (9 December), Willoughby pointed to Kate’s “warm” manner with her children as proof she could be informal.

“To suggest somebody is a bit cold, is a really horrible thing to try and brush away,” she added. “We don’t know [Kate]. But from what we see of her, the way somebody is with their own children, I think you get a pretty good idea.”

Vorderman said that Harry and Meghan was “made for an American audience”, which impacted the “language used”.

“It was very much like Notting Hill and everyone speaks like Hugh Grant, acts like Hugh Grant. It was extended, this formality, [Meghan] said ‘a lot of British people are like this’,” she continued.

“Well, love, if you go and mix with that kind of person, that’s fine, but if you go up to Manchester and that, everyone’s hugging like crazy.”

Willoughby jumped in again and said: “But even suggesting that you mix that ‘that sort of person’, that anyone within the royal family isn’t a hugger, I don’t believe that. I actually don’t believe that.


“We saw in the footage, Prince Charles with a thing over his head and playing with the kids, just being normal. Just because you’re posh and you’ve got this [gestures over head] doesn’t mean you can’t go and hug someone. It’s crazy.”

In the episode, Meghan adds: “[I thought there would be] a forward-facing way of being, and then you close the door and go, ‘You can relax now’, but the formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me.”

Willoughby, alongside her co-host Philip Schofield, also discussed a scene during which Meghan recalled being asked if she knew how to curtsy, because she would have to curtsy to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Meghan pretended to reenact how she curtsied to the Queen with a dramatic gesture, but viewers have criticised it as “disrespectful”.

In a separate appearance on Vanessa Feltz’s Drivetime show on TalkTV on Thursday evening, Brandreth called the demonstration “mocking” and “embarrassing”.

The writer and broadcaster said: “Nobody curtsies to the Queen like that, and nobody would have advised her to do it that way.”

You can readThe Independent’s four-star review of the documentary here.

Harry and Meghan is available to watch on Netflix now.