Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah draws mixed reaction in Britain

"Whatever the royal family was expecting from this interview, this was worse"

Haley Ott – CBS News

The front pages of Britain’s newspapers were dominated on Monday by Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, despite the fact that the majority of the British public had not been able to watch it yet. The interview will broadcast in the U.K. on Monday evening at 9 p.m. local time.

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

“Whatever the royal family was expecting from this interview, this was worse,” Valentine Low wrote in an op-ed in The Times newspaper, another right-leaning publication.

But while some of Britain’s right-leaning press has been critical of the royal couple over the interview, especially given the timing of its broadcast as the prince’s grandfather Prince Philip is in the hospital, the BBC’s royal correspondent said the sit-down with Oprah had, “upended the narrative created by Britain’s best-selling newspapers.” 

The U.K.’s biggest-selling newspapers, including The Sun and the Daily Mail tabloids, have published numerous negative stories about Meghan since her relationship with Harry became public.

With the interview, BBC correspondent Jonny Dymond said Harry and Meghan had “revealed the terrible strains inside the palace. They have drawn a picture of unfeeling individuals lost in an uncaring institution. They have spoken of racism within the Royal Family. This was a devastating interview.”

One member of Britain’s opposition shadow cabinet said the palace, which recently announced that it was investigating allegations that Meghan bullied former staff, should also look into the allegations of racism made by her during the interview.

“I would expect them to be treated by the palace with the utmost seriousness, and fully investigated,” Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green told Sky News.

Afua Hirsch, author of the book “Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging,” wrote in an op-ed in the New York times that Meghan’s “treatment has proved what many of us have always known: No matter how beautiful you are, whom you marry, what palaces you occupy, charities you support, how faithful you are, how much money you accumulate or what good deeds you perform, in this society racism will still follow you.”

Left-wing commentator 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.”

Piers Morgan, who co-anchors one of Britain’s most-watched morning shows, questioned the context of the conversation about skin color that Meghan outlined, suggesting it might not have been racist at all. 

His guest, TV-host Trisha Goddard, said: “What gets me is why is everybody else such an expert about racism against Black people? I’m sorry, Piers, you don’t get to call out what is and isn’t racism against Black people.

Nadine White, race correspondent for Britain’s Independent newspaper, wrote 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!”

banner image via CBS News/Harpo Productions

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