How to watch — and what to know about — Harry and Meghan’s ‘shocking’ Oprah interview
Oprah Winfrey’s highly anticipated interview with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry will air Sunday and is promising to be a “shocking” tell-all with the news-making royal couple who began their defection from the British monarchy early last year.
“Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” will air on CBS at 8 p.m. Pacific after airing on the East Coast in the same time slot earlier.
For the record:
1:49 p.m. March 5, 2021An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Prince Philip’s age. He is 99, not 90.
The interview, in which Winfrey says Meghan will speak “her truth,” can also be streamed with a paid subscription on Paramount+, Hulu with LiveTV, fuboTV, AT&T TV Now and YouTube TV. Britain’s ITV will air it Monday night across the pond.
The two-hour, post-“Megxit” interview has been billed as an intimate, wide-ranging conversation between Winfrey and the Sussexes, who put on a united front in teasers released this week in speaking about their royal rift. In one teaser, Meghan calls it “liberating.” It’s also their first joint sit-down TV interview since their 2017 engagement, and Winfrey’s bestie, CBS journalist Gayle King, said Winfrey believes this new interview is one of her best ever.
The airing of Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah lands nearly one year after the couple made the U.S. their home.
“There is no subject that’s off limits,” Winfrey said in a trailer.
The former daytime TV queen is a friend of the couple and attended their 2018 wedding in Windsor Castle. She also lives in a neighboring home in the affluent coastal California town of Montecito. The interview was pretaped in a garden at a friend’s home.
It’s not the first time Winfrey requested to interview the couple. In an extended clip released Friday, she said she asked to interview the couple before their wedding, but Meghan had to decline.
“I remember that conversation very well. I wasn’t even allowed to have that conversation with you personally, right? There had to be people [representing the monarchy] sitting there,” the duchess said. Now, however, they “have the ability to make our own choices.”
“I couldn’t have said yes to you then, that wasn’t my choice to make,” Meghan said. “So as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes. I mean, I’m ready to talk.”
The British royal family — sometimes referred to as “the firm” — doesn’t generally fare well in televised interviews. Several members — namely, Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, and more recently Prince Andrew — have had an infamously turbulent history when attempting to set the record straight amid the crown’s scandal du jour.
Harry’s uncle Andrew pulled back from royal duties after his interview regarding convicted child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein went awry. Harry and Meghan’s sit-down comes while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip, the husband of Britain’s stalwart Queen Elizabeth II, remains hospitalized.
But Winfrey’s chat already feels different and almost vindicating for the couple. In a teaser released last Sunday, she asks the former actress: “Were you silent or were you silenced?” It’s a loaded question addressing the duchess’ volatile relationship with Buckingham Palace and intense scrutiny from British media.
Amid legal action against tabloids, Meghan Markle opens about her struggles as a new mom and royal in the documentary “Harry and Meghan: An African Journey.”
Reception of the couple diverges among Americans and Brits. Americans, who treat the couple as celebrities or entertainment figures, can often be sympathetic to the “Suits” star and the reformed prince. Meanwhile, British media and royal watchers will take a critical, anti-monarchist or more detracting view of them and the institution they represent.
Just this week, after the Winfrey interview was filmed, the couple was the subject of a U.K. newspaper report alleging that the duchess bullied palace aides. The couple, through a spokesperson, dismissed the story as a “calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation” and a “defamatory portrayal” of Meghan ahead of the interview’s air date.
Buckingham Palace has said it will investigate the allegations.
In another teaser released Thursday, Meghan says: “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. And if that comes with risk of losing things, there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”
Winfrey apparently broaches those topics, as well as their marriage and life under intense public scrutiny. At one point, Harry says he’s worried about history repeating itself and empathizes with his late mother.
“I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago,” Harry said of his mother. “Because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us. But at least we have each other.”
His late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, also had a fraught relationship with the royal family but had a knack for working the media. The so-called “People’s Princess” emerged as a global favorite, especially during her tumultuous marriage to Charles, cheating allegations and their discordant divorce. She died in 1997 after a Paris car crash that happened during a pursuit by the paparazzi.
Ahead of Winfrey’s sit-down, Harry also participated last month in a silly and humanizing interview with CBS host and pal James Corden that aired late last month. In it, the royal rode around L.A. in an open-air tour bus, used the bathroom inside “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” exteriors house and competed in a military-style obstacle course. The duo also chatted about the portrayal of his family on Netflix’s hit series “The Crown,” his public service and Harry and Meghan’s son Archie getting a waffle maker from his great-grandmother, the queen.
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