A friend of Prince Charles has laid into Harry and Meghan, as royal insiders scramble to come to terms with the couple's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The tell-all included a string of shocking allegations, including that an unnamed royal questioned their son Archie's skin colour, that the palace refused to help Meghan after she experienced suicidal thoughts – and that Prince Charles had stopped taking Harry's calls, and had cut him off financially.
But it didn't take long for holes to emerge in the Duke and Duchess' story about money in particular, with a "well-placed source" telling The Telegraph Charles was fed up with the constant calls from Harry for more money".
"He ploughed a lot into the wedding and the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage [the couple's Windsor home] and did his utmost to make them feel financially supported but when they said they were upping sticks, they asked for even more," the source said.
"If he was less inclined to take calls, it might be because he didn't want to be treated like a cash dispenser. I think a lot of parents will be able to identify with that."
Harry is also believed to have inherited anywhere between $14 million to $19m from Princess Diana, with The Times also reporting his great-grandmother the Queen Mother left him $5.8m after her death in 2002.
Prior to the Sussexes' decision to leave the UK, Prince Charles had supported the couple to the tune of about $5m annually, according to the Duchy of Cornwall's most recent accounts.
Prince Harry lashed
While the official response to the interview has so far been characteristically measured, an unnamed friend of Prince Charles has hit back forcefully, telling The Sunday Times that Prince Harry's money claims didn't add up.
"Harry said his father financially 'cut him off'. What f****** hypocrisy," the source told the publication.
"When Harry and Meghan left last year, they wanted to become 'financially independent'."
Meanwhile, the biggest question of all has begun to emerge – what Harry and Meghan actually hoped to achieve by their unprecedented Oprah move, which has quickly become one of the biggest scandals to rock the royal family in modern history.
'We don't know what they want'
The Times article points out that the timing of the interview also couldn't be worse, with the Queen's 95th birthday only a month away, 99-year-old Prince Philip enduring a lengthy hospital stay after undergoing a heart procedure, and a renewed republican push among some Commonwealth nations.
"The question nobody seems able to answer is what are the Sussexes trying to achieve with this?" a palace source told The Times.
"We don't know what they want. If you think the Queen is great, then why are you trying to trash everything she and the family stands for?"
Others labelled the act as "verging on treasonous" and "an incredible act of disloyalty".
A hint at the couple's motive emerged last week, with British race relations commentator and broadcaster Jonathan Sacerdoti pointing out that while Meghan and Harry claimed their departure from the UK and the royals was in order to seek privacy, the Oprah interview proved their "true aim" was to build the value of their own brand – even if that involved throwing their family under the bus – and they were actually focused on "controlling their publicity and attention, rather than avoiding it".
PR battle with no winner
Australian public relations expert Nicole Reaney told news.com.au she believed the Sussexes spoke to Oprah for one reason – to boost their image.
"The interview was devised to provide an uninterrupted platform for Meghan and Harry to portray their version of events and an insight into their perspective," she said.
"It was strategic and considered to hold the interview on home soil with a leading celebrity interviewer who would build and attract a global audience – a perfect publicity formula – while being supportive and emotive to every issue raised by Meghan."
But Reaney said the interview was so damaging to both camps that "neither side wins this PR battle".
"For the royal family, many stand by the manner they have dealt with the fallout, while others, namely based in the US, stand by Meghan where mental health, pregnancy and race are highly sensitive topics," she said.
"The three-sentence media statement by the royal family was a highly intelligent response to a two-hour tell-all that attracted 50 million viewers, and enabled them to 'buy time' and quickly defuse the allegations."