John Humphrys snub: Mastermind star branded Royal Family ‘only good for tutting voyeurs'

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The BBC star has been a vocal opponent on the royals for many years. Humphrys, who appears on Celebrity Mastermind today, has had a number of clashes with the Royal Family. The 77-year-old “ardent republican” was famously rejected by the Queen three times when he asked for interviews.

Humphrys was also once sworn at by Prince Philip after the former Radio 4 star accidentally took his car, and he has regularly criticised Prince Harry.

Prior to the Sussexes’ decision to leave senior roles within the Royal Family, the stars refused to appear with him on the Today programme.

He claimed Harry’s takeover of the show four years ago was a “PR exercise” in a Daily Mail column last year and believed he would have got in trouble.

Humphrys wrote: “I would want to ask what his minders would regard as impertinent or embarrassing questions and that would be the end of that.”

Recently, Humphrys slammed Harry and Meghan Markle for their interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, which airs on Monday in the UK.

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John Humphrys argued that the Royal Family’s purpose should be questioned in the wake of coronavirus (Image: BBC / GETTY)


John Humphrys slammed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for their interview with Oprah Winfrey (Image: GETTY)

On Good Morning Britain, he claimed they had a “sanctimonious nature” on TV and no one should “take notice of them unless they do something noteworthy”.

Humphry’s comments followed a long line of criticisms of the Royal Family, which he said all stemmed from his anti-monarchy beliefs.

Last year, he argued coronavirus highlighted the royals’ services were no longer needed.

Humphrys described The Firm as “professional hand-shakers” because their main “job” was to “rush around the country shaking hands with everyone”.

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John Humphrys felt there was a ‘sanctimonious nature’ about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Image: GETTY)

He said “gainful activity” was “thoroughly kiboshed by the virus” – in reference to COVID-19.

Humphrys quipped the Royal Family had been “truly furloughed” and when they returned to duty, we should debate whether they were needed.

He felt coronavirus had made us question “our way of life” and said the UK should also question the royals’ role within society.

Humphrys said the country needed to consider “whether we want to return to the status quo ante or whether we might prefer something different?”


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John Humphrys has taken numerous swipes against Prince Harry since he left The Firm (Image: GETTY)

Due to travel being limited because of coronavirus, he argued: “Put starkly… what is the point of the Royal Family if there is no hand-shaking?”

Humphrys believed the monarchy only continued to exist because “enough of us wanted it to”.

He suggested there should be a more measured response and we should analyse “our demand for their ‘services’”.

Humphrys said that should “determine how many of them there needs to be” and how differently they are “expected to live”.

He said: “They require deference from us, as that we require that they expect deference from us.


John Humphrys refused to appear on BBC Radio 4’s Today show when Prince Harry took it over in 2017 (Image: GETTY)

“It’s quality control again, we want to shake hands with an HRH, not a mere mister.”

Humphrys argued it wasn’t “just hand-shaking” the public demanded from the Royal Family.

He claimed they acted as “purveyors of goods to tut-tutting voyeurs” and kept “the gossip columns stocked”.

Humphrys felt the “tut-tutting” only happened because they were HRHs.

He said: “Princess Anne’s grandchildren, all commoners, could behave in exactly the same way and pass unnoticed. No paparazzi for them.”

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In one section, Humphrys took a swipe at Harry for leaving The Firm by claiming he “didn’t want to be bothered” with royal duties.

He claimed the Prince had decided to “slope off to a life easier on the hands” and sniped: “There’s not so much hand-shaking required over there.

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

Humphrys debated whether Harry “married into the family of Hollywood celebrity” – opposed to the “belief” that “Meghan married into” royalty.

The star used Megxit as an example of some members of the Royal Family no longer wanting to be beholden to the nation.


John Humphrys returns to BBC screens today with Celebrity Mastermind (Image: BBC)

He reiterated many questions about the royals had arisen since coronavirus.

Humphrys concluded: “Like so much else, Covid has deprived us of this service for a while.

“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?”

Oprah With Meghan and Harry will air on Sunday, March 7, in the US and at 9pm Monday on ITV in the UK.

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