Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview: what time does it air on ITV tonight and what will they talk about?
Prince Harry and Meghan have gone on the record. They recorded an exclusive interview with the queen of chat shows herself, Oprah Winfrey, which aired in America last night.
While the content of Oprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special was largely under wraps, the US network released a couple of preview videos last week and this week.
The Duke of Sussex told Winfrey his biggest fear was “history repeating itself”, a reference to the death of his mother, as he explained his decision to leave royal life.
Meanwhile, his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, appeared to suggest that her experiences in Britain had been “almost unsurvivable”. And in a devastating shot at the Palace, she claimed that it was “perpetuating falsehoods about us”. She goes on to say: “If that comes with risk of losing things, I mean… there is a lot that has been lost already.”
When did Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview first air?
The interview first aired on March 7 on CBS News, one of America’s largest TV networks, at 8pm PT/ET and 7pm CT (or 1am UK time). It began with Meghan discussing “stepping into life as a royal, marriage, motherhood” and how “she is handling life under intense public pressure”. She was then be joined by Prince Harry, and the couple talked about their move to the US and future plans.
ITV is showing the interview at 9pm today after the BBC dropped out of the race – with a source for the latter telling The Telegraph: “We won’t be pulling out the cheque book out for this.” ITV reportedly paid £1 million for the rights.
Meanwhile, the BBC instead broadcast a Celebration For Commonwealth Day last night, featuring a message from the Queen alongside contributions from the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex.
Prince Harry and Meghan did not get paid for their appearance – nor did they ask for a donation to their charity. This was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Oprah Winfrey Network who said: “The couple won’t be collecting a pay cheque and no donations are being made.”
But with an estimated combined net worth of $40m, and lucrative Netflix and Spotify deals confirmed, the Duke and Duchess probably won’t be feeling the pinch.
What does Oprah Winfrey discuss?
Oprah Winfrey is a close friend and neighbour of the Sussexes. She attended their wedding in 2018, and even promoted a vegan latte business which Meghan is invested in. The interview is not confrontational and doesn’t provide the kind of gotcha moments that Emily Maitlis’s explosive Newsnight encounter with Prince Andrew did.
But Winfrey does not shy away from controversy. In 2005, she challenged author James Frey over aspects of his best-selling alcoholism memoir A Million Little Pieces which, it transpired, had been fabricated. And in 2013, she was one of the first interviewers to publicly confront Lance Armstrong over the doping controversies which torpedoed his cycling career.
CBS confirmed that the “tell-all” interview would focus on Meghan’s experience in the public eye. That gave them a lot to unpack. She says she was “silenced” by the Royal family and claims that the Palace was “perpetuating falsehoods about us”. But she did not touch on the bullying allegations that have recently emerged against her as these were first reported after the interview was announced and presumably recorded.
Oprah and Meghan touch on the couple’s first son Archie, and reveal the sex of their impending second child. Asked whether it would be a boy or a girl, the Duke responded: “It’s a girl.”
Press intrusion has been a constant theme during the couple’s marriage, too. In 2019, Prince Harry used a post on their website to condemn a “ruthless campaign” against Meghan, saying he lost his mother to “powerful forces” in the press and feared that history was repeating itself. It is widely understood that the couple’s move to the US and decision to step back from Royal duties was partly driven by the intense scrutiny they were under.
Since then, they have been fiercely protective of their privacy. On February 12, Meghan won her High Court privacy case against the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts from a 2018 letter to her father, Thomas Markle, following her marriage to Prince Harry. Speaking about the judgement against Associated Newspapers, she said: “The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.” And the Oprah interview does not let the press off the hook.
Oprah asks how Prince Harry feels about the recent announcement from Buckingham Palace that they would be formally stripped of their royal patronages. The Sussexes have appeared to hit back at the official statement stating that their decision to step down as working royals was not compatible with “a life of public service”, responding: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
But while that change is symbolically significant, arguably Oprah is interested in its personal consequences. Prince Harry’s once-close relationship with Prince William was evidently strained by the pressures of Megxit and is raised during the tell-all. Prince Harry also divulges that his father Prince Charles stopped taking his calls while discussions about the couple’s future role were ongoing.
In a clip released last week, the Prince said he was worried about “history repeating itself” in relation to his wife; in the past, he has compared the treatment of Meghan with that of Princess Diana, his mother. The Duchess opens the interview by invoking the infamous interview done by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1995.
Since his marriage to Meghan, Prince Harry has become increasingly open about his struggles with mental health in the wake of Princess Diana’s death and growing up in the media spotlight. His chat with Oprah, renowned for winckling confessions from her celebrity guests with her intimate style, is similarly frank and Meghan reveals her mental health struggles.
Away from personal issues, in passing the couple mention their Spotify podcast, Archewell Audio, Netflix contract and non-profit Archewell Foundation – which aims to deliver “compassion in action” by working with partners like Silicon Valley’s Centre for Humane Technology and The Loveland Foundation, which strives to empower black women and girls.
The Sussexes have made no secret of their political beliefs, urging Americans to vote in an online video last September; and, while they did not explicitly endorse either candidate, their call to “reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity” was widely seen as a rejection of Donald Trump. There was some speculation that Meghan is teeing herself up for a shot at office but although there were many bombshell moments in the interview it did not end in a 2024 Presidential bid announcement.
And the revelations aren’t over: Winfrey teased additional bits of the interview would be shown Monday morning on CBS.
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