On March 7th, the CBS network aired a Primetime Special attracting a live audience of 17.8 million viewers with millions more watching after. This special was a controversial “tell-all” interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Oprah Winfrey sat down with Meghan and Harry to reveal the behind-the-scenes details of royal life at the palace, or otherwise referred to by Meghan as the Institution. At the beginning of the show, Meghan and Oprah made it clear that in this interview nothing would be held back, hence its “tell-all” nickname. The interview was watched by millions and is, “…the largest primetime audience for any entertainment special during the current 2020-2021 season, and for any entertainment special since the Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020, according to Nielsen Live+same day ratings” (Petski).
In the interview, Meghan talked about meeting Harry’s family. When asked about meeting the queen, Meghan said she was not nervous. In fact, she was shocked that she needed to curtsy before the queen and Harry had to bow before her, even outside the public eye. She shared that she did not know this prior to the car ride on the way to meet the queen. Meghan was quickly taught how to curtsy by Harry’s aunt. She discussed that when entering the royal family she was unprepared and did not know the hardships her position would entail. Throughout the interview, viewers learned that some royals may have been jealous of Meghan because she was excellent at her job despite that she was only starting out.
Meghan also mentioned that she was very vocal about women’s rights before entering royal life, however, she suddenly fell silent. Oprah asked Meghan, “Were you silent, or were you silenced?” Meghan responded by implying she was, in fact, silenced. She talked about how she was under strict security and could not leave the palace easily, even to have lunch with her friends! Meghan was constantly in the press, therefore the Institution preferred that she kept her public appearances to a minimum. In the interview, Meghan said, “I was everywhere, but I was nowhere.” This statement implied that everyone was constantly talking about her and publishing her story in every newspaper/magazine, yet she wasn’t able to go anywhere. Viewers learned that she had to hand in her passport and other documentation to the palace. She relayed that she almost lost her name and her identity. Meghan said that members of the royal family expressed concerns about the skin color of her future children, as she has a black mother and caucasian father, making her bi-racial. This shocked Oprah and many viewers, including myself.
Harry joined the interview and talked about the royal palace environment. He said, “It’s a very trapping environment that a lot of them are stuck in.” Harry communicated that he actually feels sympathetic towards his brother and father that they are “trapped within the system.” Harry talked about how his father went through something comparable with his mother when she was harassed by the British tabloids. Harry expressed that he felt hurt that his father was deserting him during this tough time, especially when he went through something so similar.
The interview brought many unknown details of royal life to light. For myself, I now understand that being royal is not just about looking pretty and having tea parties, but rather it is so much more than that. In fact, it seems like a challenging life. Meghan and Harry shared their pain and anguish with the world through this interview. They opened up about information never shared before. Although the interview stirred up controversy within the royal family, Meghan and Harry do not seem to regret speaking up.
CBS Primetime Special
Petski, Denise. “Meghan Markle & Prince Harry’s Oprah Interview To Re-Air Friday As CBS Reschedules ‘MacGyver’, ‘Magnum P.I.’ & ‘Blue Bloods’ Originals.” Deadline, Deadline, 9 March 2021, https://deadline.com/2021/03/meghan-markle-prince-harry-oprah-interview-re-air-friday-cbs-reschedules-macgyver-magnum-p-i-blue-bloods-originals-1234710935/. Accessed 4 April 2021.