This week, the usual stream celebrity gossip in the British press has almost entirely subsided because there is just one story everyone is talking about: Oprah's interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. The interview originally aired in the United States on CBS on 7 March, then aired in the UK on ITV the following day. There has been a massive amount of speculation around the couple and their relationship with the royal family over the past few years, and this interview marked them finally being ready to speak out.
The majority of the interview was only with Meghan, with Prince Harry just joining for the end. The pair each spoke about several topics that have been widely discussed and debated since. Here’s a run-down of what happened.
Allegations of racism
One of the most talked about allegations from the interview was that conversations had occurred within the royal family about how “dark” their son Archie’s skin would be when he was born. Meghan said: “In those months when I was pregnant… we have in tandem the conversation of, you [and Archie] won’t be given security, not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
The conversation in question was between Prince Harry and another unnamed member of the royal family. Harry said he was "never going to share" the person who had these concerns but later confirmed it was neither the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh. He added: “At the time it was awkward, I was a bit shocked.”
Meghan and Harry’s children
Meghan said her son being refused the title of ‘Prince’ wasn’t an issue for her, calling it “an attachment I don’t personally have”. However, she said: “The idea of the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that the other grandchildren would be was…”
Prince Harry echoed the sentiment that there were issues of racism in the royal family’s relationship with Meghan when he joined the interview. He said: “One of the saddest parts was over 70 members of parliament called out the colonial undertones of headlines written about Meghan – yet no one from my family ever said anything. That hurts.”
The couple also revealed that Meghan is currently expecting a baby girl. Prince Harry called the news "amazing". It is unknown when the baby is due, but it is expected to be some time over the summer. Harry also said that they did not plan on having more children after this one.
Meghan’s mental health struggles
Meghan spoke openly with Oprah about her mental health struggles since marrying into the royal family. During her pregnancy with Archie, she said she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore, and that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought”. She said she had sought help from some senior people in the royal institution, but she was denied help because she is “not a paid employee of the institution”.
She said she had reached out to one of Princess Diana’s close friends “because who else could understand what it’s actually like on the inside?” Prince Harry admitted he “had no idea what to do” and that he was “ashamed of admitting it” to his family.
The media has been in a frenzy since the interview, and there have been several significant events to occur as a result. The Queen – who both Meghan and Harry praised during the interview – released an official statement about the interview, saying the royal family was "saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan". It also said that race allegations would be "taken very seriously" and addressed by the family privately.
The most talked about fallout has been Piers Morgan leaving ITV’s Good Morning Britain. After the interview, Morgan said on Monday’s show that he didn’t believe what Meghan had said about her mental health struggles, remarking: “I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle.” Later in the show, he stormed off set after a colleague said: “I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off… I don’t think she has [said anything about Piers since] but yet you continue to trash her.” Piers later tweeted that Meghan’s revelations in the interview were “a diatribe of bilge”.
Ofcom received over 41,000 complaints about his behaviour in the program and have launched an investigation. ITV later released a statement saying that "Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain".
Ian Murray, the executive director of the Society of Editors, has also resigned in the wake of the interview. The Society of Editors, an industry body for the UK press, previously denied Prince Harry's allegations that some British tabloids were "racist" and "bigoted", calling it an attack that was "not acceptable" without evidence. Murray announced his resignation on Wednesday 10th March, saying he did not intend to defend racism and decided to step aside so "the organisation can start to rebuild its reputation".
The interview has started many conversations in the UK around race, the monarchy and the British press. Social media has been buzzing with contradicting opinions on the issues raised by Meghan and Harry, and that conversation isn't likely to die down any time soon. With several royal family members criticised in the interview, including the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Charles, the public will be waiting to see how the royals respond to the bombshell interview.