The tell-all interview with Oprah was the first the Sussexes gave since announcing their controversial decision to quit royal life. The two-hour conversation has been as polarising as their decision to step down from royal duties, with numerous celebrities and high-profile figures either backing or criticising the claims the couple made.
US talk show host Oprah Winfrey said she had no idea that the interview Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave to her would have such a “reverberating impact”. Speaking on TalkShopLive, Winfrey said she was surprised that Meghan Markle made allegations of racism against the Royal Family.
“Our shared intention was the truth. They wanted to be able to tell their story and tell it in such a way that allowed them to be as truthful as possible. What? You’re going there? You’re going all the way there”, Winfrey exclaimed to host Nancy O’Dell.
The talk show host was praised for posing balanced questions and creating an intimate conversation, however, Winfrey refused to take credit for the interview and said it was the couple’s decision to speak openly that made it so impressive.
“The reason why it was such a powerful interview … was when you have somebody else who is willing to be as open, as vulnerable, as truthful as they were”, Winfrey said.
She then revealed she warned her crew against leaking the content of the interview before it went to air because the couple’s claims could have been “misconstrued”.
What Did the Sussexes Say?
As mentioned before, the tell-all interview has become as polarising as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to quit the Royal Family in January 2020. During the interview, which according to CBS TV, was viewed by almost 50 million across the globe, the pair made several sensational claims against the Royal Family.
The most explosive claim, however, was made by Meghan Markle. The Duchess, who is half black, alleged that one member of the family was concerned about the potentially dark skin of their first child, Archie.
“Because they were concerned that if he were too brown, that would be a problem? Are you saying that?”, Oprah Winfrey asked.
“If that’s the assumption you are making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one”, Meghan replied.
The pair refused to reveal the identity of the royal, but later off air told Winfrey that it was not the Queen or her late husband Prince Philip.
Other claims made during the interview include:
- The Duke of Sussex said one of the “saddest parts” of their life as royals was when more than 70 MPs condemned the media coverage of Meghan Markle, which the couple deemed racist, but none of the family spoke out against the issue. Prince Harry says this was an opportunity to “show some public support”;
- Meghan said she had suicidal thoughts when she was pregnant. She alleged that when she turned to the palace’s HR department for help, they refused to assist her;
- The Duchess of Sussex accused the palace of perpetuating falsehoods about the couple and said she was “silenced” by the Royal Family;
- Harry stated he was let down by his father Prince Charles and that he is on a different path from his brother William, but said he loves his sibling to bits. He also said that Charles and William are “trapped within the system” of the Royal Family.
The allegations caused an uproar across the globe and prompted calls to abolish the monarchy in the United Kingdom. Numerous celebrities and high-profile figures showed support for the couple, while others criticised the Sussexes, questioning the veracity of the accusations and the pair’s motives.
How Did Buckingham Palace Respond?
The Royal Family released a statement saying it would privately address the shocking allegations of racism. The palace called the accusations “concerning” and said the whole family is “saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan”.
Prince William, Prince Harry’s elder brother, dismissed Meghan’s accusations in a conversation with reporters, saying: “We are very much not a racist family”.