What we learned about Prince Harry and Meghan in that James Corden interview

Prince Harry's 17-minute TV sketch with one of the biggest talk shots hosts in the US - James Corden had been carefully planned.

Talking about the kind of things Harry discussed - the rift with his family, his mental health, his new life in California, the toxicity of the British tabloid press, and what the Queen bought Archie for Christmas - is a whole lot easier when the interviewer is also a good friend.

James Corden was one of the select few who got an invitation to Harry and Meghan's evening wedding reception in 2018 and in many ways Harry could not have chosen a better-matched interviewer as Corden is also a UK native who is now predominantly based in California.

So Harry was never going to get a hard time from Corden, but that didn't stop him being asked about some sensitive matters, not least the decision by the Duke and Duchess to quit as working Royals.

Harry said that life in the UK was "destroying my mental health" and he denied that he and Meghan had "walked away" preferring to describe their departure as "stepping back".

He recorded the interview a few weeks ago, before the Sussexes' divorce settlement with Buckingham Palace was finalised and the interview goes some way to explaining why Harry and Meghan chose to end their statement last week with that sharply-worded phrase about service being "universal".

"My life is always going to be about public service and Meghan has signed up to that", he said as they drove around Los Angeles on an open-top bus.

Harry referred to Buckingham Palace - and his old life - as "that side" and pointed into the distance suggesting there is more than just an ocean and a lot of miles between LA and London.

The gap between the Sussexes and the Royal Family is both geographical and personal.

"Whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away," the Duke said adding that he simply needed "to get my family out of here."

Harry added: "I did what any husband and any father would do".

A lot of the blame for the split was placed on the British tabloid press which he accused of fabricating stories and packaging them up as news.

"We all know what the British press can be like", he said.

And he acknowledged that he has fewer issues with the storylines in The Crown on Netflix than he does with the stories he reads about himself - because The Crown doesn't "pretend to be news".

"It's fictional but its loosely based on the truth", Harry said to Corden when asked how he felt about the series.

"I am way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself".

That is interesting given that The Crown recently devoted much of the last season to the unhappy marriage of Harry’s father and mother.

The Crown is "obviously fiction" Harry said but he has a "real issue" when false stories are "reported on as fact because you are supposedly news".

But he also knows he will have an actor play him in a future series and said actor Damian Lewis would be his preferred choice.

Meghan's nickname for her husband is 'Haz'. Credit: The Late Late Show

Other things we learn from the chat - which took place on an open-top tourist bus as it drove around LA:

  • The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh Zoom into Harry and Meghan's home to talk to Archie

  • Prince Philip abruptly slams the laptop shut at the end of the chat

  • The Queen bought Archie a waffle-maker for Christmas

  • Meghan makes an organic waffle mix most mornings

  • Archie's first word was "crocodile"

  • Harry knows the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme tune (they visited the house where it was filmed)

  • Their evening routine is cooking, and watching TV in bed

  • He needs a toilet break in the middle of a filming session (it was included)

  • Meghan's nickname for Harry is "Haz"

  • When Corden asked to dial Meghan, she was in Harry's contacts as simply "M"

  • Harry said he had never been on an open-top bus before

  • Harry said he "hit it off" with Meghan and their relationship went from 0-60 in two months

  • Dating a royal, said Harry, happens "upside down" as it has to be done in secret before you can go out

  • Archie is, says Harry, "hysterical" and has started stringing words together

  • Harry is still pretty good on an Army-style assault course following his 10 years in the British Army

  • Harry thought Damian Lewis was called "Daniel" Lewis

An interview Meghan has done with her TV friend, Oprah Winfrey is due to be aired on Sunday 7 March in a "primetime special" in the US.

Today, a joint friend, the CBS breakfast anchor Gayle King said, Meghan's interview with Oprah is "the best she's ever done".

Both interviews will inevitably raise some eyebrows given the Sussexes are inviting cameras into their private lives – but outside the Royal Family Harry and Meghan are showing that they can choose what media access to grant and they can do it on their terms.

And by all accounts they can have a lot of fun doing it.