Two Russian pranksters claim they duped the Duke of Sussex into making comments about quitting the Royal Family.One of the pair, Alexey Stolyarov, told the BBC Prince Harry discussed various issues after they impersonated teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and her father in two phone calls.In the calls, Prince Harry is said to criticise Donald Trump over climate change and describe his decision to end official royal duties as “not easy”.Buckingham Palace did not comment.Mr Stolyarov – who performs as part of a duo with Vladimir Kuznetsov – told the BBC’s Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford quotes of the two calls published exclusively by the Sun newspaper are “accurate”.The BBC has been unable to verify the authenticity of the phone calls, made on New Year’s Eve and 22 January.
Vladimir “Vovan” Krasnov, left, and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov are known in Russia for phone-based pranks
The Sun reported on Wednesday that, in one call, Harry said of his decision to step back as a senior royal: “Sometimes the right decision isn’t always the easy one.””And this decision certainly wasn’t the easy one but it was the right decision for our family, the right decision to be able to protect my son,” the duke added, according to the Sun.”And I think there’s a hell of a lot of people around the world that can identify and respect us for putting our family first.”
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Media captionMeghan and Harry’s last event as senior royals
In another extract published online, Harry is said to remark of climate policies in the US: “I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands.”Mr Stolyarov said he and Mr Kuznetsov had “dreamed” of speaking to the 35-year-old royal for a long time. He said the pair made a second call after it was announced Harry and his wife Meghan were stepping back from official royal duties.The comedian said the duke spoke for “about an hour”, and was very open.”He wanted to speak out,” Mr Stolyarov said. “It seems like he wanted to get a lot off his chest.”
The pranksters said they impersonated Greta Thunberg and her father during two calls to Prince Harry
Russian state TV has run an extract one of the alleged calls – with a translation – in which the pranksters are clearly making fun of Harry.Speaking as “Greta”, one of the pranksters says she has discovered a royal connection and suggests arranging a marriage to Prince George to help push her climate cause, at which Harry laughs. Mr Stolyarov said he was not deliberately trying to ridicule Harry.He said: “We use details with some elements of funny things like that… so we try to make our prank calls more funny than just a serious conversation.”Mr Stolyarov would not reveal how he had managed to get Harry’s phone number, but said that he and his comedy partner had made other calls in recent weeks posing as Ms Thunberg – including to someone “close to British politics”.The pair have previously duped figures including singer Elton John, US politician Bernie Sanders, and actor Joaquin Phoenix.Harry and Meghan completed their final public engagement as senior royals on Monday when they attended the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
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