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Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah draws criticism, praise in Britain

By Tanya Lara Published Mar 09, 2021 5:21 am

The jury’s out and it’s split.

In Britain, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s sensational interview with Oprah Winfrey’s drew mixed reaction: anger towards Buckingham Palace and criticism for the couple, and support for both.

Aired Sunday night in the US, Brits saw snippets of the interview all over social media on Monday morning. When it aired on British television that night, they saw the extent of revelations made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who were married in a fairytale wedding beamed across the globe in 2018.

Two of the most damning allegations were that someone in the Royal Family was worried how dark their baby’s skin would be, and that Meghan at one point in her pregnancy has suicidal thoughts and was prevented from seeking help.

The reaction—at least by famous people—was a mix of trashing, support, and the traditional British upper lip.

I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle—but for Harry to let her take down his family and the monarchy like this is shameful.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “I have always had the highest admiration for the Queen and the unifying role that she plays in our country and across the Commonwealth… All other matters to do with the Royal Family, I have spent a long time now not commenting on matters and I don’t intend to depart from that today.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married in 2018; stepped back from their royal duties in 2020; and gave a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. 

The LA Times quoted royal biographer Anna Pasternak telling the BBC, “It was a very soft-serving, soapy interview in Meghan’s favor. None of Meghan’s real behavior was questioned. It was an absolute exercise in torching the house of Windsor.”

TV host Piers Morgan was more direct on Good Morning Britain. “They’ve trashed everything the queen has worked so hard for, and we’re supposed to believe they’re compassionate?”

He also said, “This interview is an absolutely disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family. I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle—but for Harry to let her take down his family and the monarchy like this is shameful.”

Editor and royal watcher Tina Brown, who is British born, likened the British royalty to the House of Saud. “It almost sounded like the Saudi royal family, quite honestly,” she said on CBS of Meghan being prevented to seek help when she was having suicidal thoughts.

Taking Meghan’s mental struggle to heart, Leigh-Anne Pinnock of Little Mix wrote a lengthy post on Instagram, saying in part, “What people may wish to believe and view as a ‘privileged life,’ let this be a lesson to all of us. When you become known to the public there is no safety net to protect you from what people can fire out and say about you.

Worst royal crisis since The Abdication of 1936… and racism is undeniably at the core.

“We witness this all the time, particularly concerning women and more to the core, women of color. Meghan has been dragged from the start and we have all witnessed it. I praise her strength and determination for speaking out on her experiences showing the underlying racism lying within the royal establishment. I praise Harry for standing by his wife and child and being brave enough to say enough is enough, we’re out.”

Meghan told Oprah that at one point she “could not feel lonelier.”

When Oprah asked if she thought of harming herself, the former actress replied, “Yes. This was very, very clear. Very clear and very scary. I didn’t know who to turn to in that.”

The Telegraph quoted US President Joe Biden rather than reveal its opinion in writing its own headline. “Duchess has shown courage, says Biden,” its front page read.

Camilla Tominey wrote in the same paper, “It was both everything we had come to expect—and not what we were expecting at all. Make no mistake, this was a pregnant woman blaming the institution—and those within it—for failing to help her at her lowest ebb.”

In an op-ed piece in The Times, Valentine Low wrote, “Whatever the royal family was expecting from this interview, this was worse.”

Political commentator and columnist Owen Jones said, “Meghan Markle’s interview hasn’t just exposed the truth about the monarchy, a shadowy institution shrouded in secrecy despite supposedly embodying the nation. It’s currently exposing everyone who doesn’t care about either racism or suicide.”

Meghan Markle pregnant with baby Archie. The couple is expecting their second baby. 

The Independent race correspondent Nadine White said on Twitter: “Worst royal crisis since The Abdication of 1936… and racism is undeniably at the core… While we are here, let’s normalise reporting about race in the media!”

Across the Commonwealth, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “I’ve said before that I’ve not sensed an appetite from New Zealanders for significant change in our constitutional arrangements, and I don’t expect that’s likely to change quickly.”

Australian actor Hugh Jackman called the couple’s interview “courageous.” He said, “When someone’s brave enough to ask for help, we must listen.”

Canadian netizen Tarin Gill said, “Canada let’s quit the Commonwealth and get that dinosaur off our money.”

Harry and Meghan stepped back from royal duties in March 2020 and have since moved to Los Angeles.