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The 60-year-old returns to screens tonight as he joins co-host Davina McCall on ITV’s moving show Long Lost Family: What Happened Next?. The heartwarming programme aims to reunite close relatives after years of separation, and is a topic particularly close to Campbell, who has previously spoken about how he traced his own birth parents after he was put up for adoption as a child. He was adopted as a four-year-old by Sheila Campbell and her husband Frank Campbell, but this month shared how he wished he had allowed his birth mother Stella Lackey “into my life”.
The BBC Radio 5 Live presenter is renowned for speaking his mind – particularly on the airwaves – and is known to be blunt in delivering his verdict on listeners’ phone calls.
And the star once confessed how a scandal that involved Prince Harry would make his early morning shifts working on radio come to life, as it helped him get energised.
Harry himself is no stranger to controversy, and last month his new life with wife Meghan Markle in the US went under the microscope courtesy of his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
During the discussion he spoke passionately about his family, telling Oprah that his brother Prince William and father Prince Charles were “trapped” inside the monarchy.
Nicky Campbell admitted Prince Harry scandal made day ‘burst into song’
Nicky Campbell is back on screens tonight
He and Meghan also launched other allegations towards the Royal Family, including that they did not support the Duchess of Sussex during her struggles with mental health.
But when Harry found himself in hot water for wearing a Nazi costume to a fancy dress party, Clarence House moved quickly to back the Duke of Sussex quickly – and shut the story down.
These types of controversial stories, Campbell noted, helped make his life on radio much easier.
Describing a typical shift for The Guardian in 2008, Campbell detailed his usual routine of waking up 3.45am, to be ready to meet his BBC production team around an hour later.
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The Queen alongside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
He wrote: “It can be a grim time, but when you get to work, it just takes the night editor to say: ‘Prince Harry has dressed up as a Nazi’ or: ‘We’ve got Gordon Brown’ and the day bursts into song.”
The now-infamous Nazi outfit saga erupted in 2005 when Harry and William went to Maud’s Cotswold Costumes to pick out costumes for a party.
While William decided to wear an animal outfit, Harry would soon be snapped in the Nazi uniform, causing widespread condemnation from the public – and the press.
Such was the outcry, Clarence House issued a statement on behalf of Harry, which said he was “very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone”.
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry left the Royal Family last year
He added: “It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise.”
And according to royal biographer Robert Lacey, this could actually have been the first sign of a falling out between Harry and William.
Reports of a rift between the pair have continued to gather momentum, particularly after Harry and Meghan split away from the Royal Family last year to lead a “financially independent life”.
The brothers have only spoken sporadically, and in the aftermath of his interview with Oprah, the two siblings reportedly held “unproductive” talks over the contents of the broadcast.
Royal rift: Prince Harry and Prince William
Last year, Mr Lacey told Entertainment Tonight that the incident 16 years ago may have sparked the beginning of the end for their relationship.
He said: “This is the first time we discover the conflict between the brothers, and Harry starts resenting this stereotype that is forced on him.
“William is the King of the castle, and he’s the dirty rascal. And when Kate comes along, he happily falls into the role of number three and it’s all so far so good.
Royal Family tree
“Then Harry falls in love with Meghan and that really turns things around, and she makes him see things in a new way so that’s where the rift really started with William and Harry. When he saw how deep he was falling in love with Meghan.”
Harry, then aged 20, was due to join the Army later that year, but Labour MP – and former Armed Forces Minister – Doug Henderson said the incident showed he was “not suitable” for the military academy Sandhurst.
The brothers are set to reunite on Saturday, as they both attend the funeral of their grandfather Prince Philip, who sadly died at the age of 99 last week.
Long Lost Family: What Happened Next? airs tonight from 9pm on ITV.