by Alejandro Erco Gamarra
On Sunday, the 7th of March at 8:00 in the evening, the primetime US television spot, CBS aired the highly anticipated interview between Oprah Winfrey and Meghan Markle. The interview makes a serious number of stark allegations against the Royal Family, many which range from race, mental health, their duties as royals, and their relationship with other Royal Family members.
The former Duchess of Sussex has claimed she and her husband, Prince Harry, were not paid for the interview. However, CBS has paid a fee reportedly between $7 million and $9 million to Oprah Winfrey’s production company. This just gives an added showmanship feel to the interview as the two are close friends and Oprah is getting paid seven to nine million dollars to sit down in a Californian mansion garden to talk to her friend. People of the United Kingdom and around the world have the utmost respect for the Queen in particular, above anyone else in the Royal Family. While Meghan has repeatedly said that she has a great relationship with Her Majesty and still maintains Zoom calls, by bashing and criticizing the monarchy and the institution, which the Queen heads and represents, is equal to criticizing the Queen herself. For that reason, I would like to expand and focus on two issues surrounding the interview.
Firstly, with the race accusation, Meghan stated that an unnamed member of the Royal Family asked Prince Harry what the skin tone of baby Archie could be. The Prince decided against further discussion with Oprah as this made him uncomfortable. The way in which Meghan presented the issue, the claim implicates the Queen and higher members of the Royal Family, which is why I have an issue with the framing of the accusation. It was not until the following morning that Oprah had to clarify that this accusation did not mean to involve the Queen or her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. On a more personal note, I am struggling to see the racism that is involved with a family member asking about the skin colour of a future member of the family, even more so if it is the first mixed race child and there had been nothing but excitement in the build up to the birth of Archie. In my opinion it sounds more like genetic curiosity than outright racism.
Secondly, the main scrutiny of the content of this interview is the façade surrounding it. It involves two millionaires complaining about their oppression and suffering to their billionaire interviewer friend, in a beautiful Californian garden, amid a global pandemic which has taken over 2.5 million lives and countless jobs. To complain about how you only were left with Princess Diana’s inheritance, which by the way, is worth over £10 million, after the Royal Family stripped them of any security and income, due to their complete backing out as Senior Royal Family members. To me this is just completely tone-deaf and out of touch. The couple went on to further claim that they were the worst treated members of the Royal Family. Have they forgotten about his poor mother, who the Prince likes to constantly compare to his wife? Meghan and Prince Harry also, thanks to the advice of their friend, managed to get deals with Netflix and Spotify which are each reported to earn them hundreds of millions of dollars. I would be much more sympathetic to these poor millionaires if it would not be more obvious how this is a PR campaign to promote their images and story for future business endeavours. The couple claimed at the end of the interview that they are happier and thriving after making the decision to leave the family, so why just spend 85 minutes complaining about the mistreatment and how you were pushed out?
This interview is just a classic example of “he said, she said”, which may not have any serious future implications, but I personally find it extremely disrespectful that two former members of the Royal Family could speak out and drag a lot of their family members through the mud.
The tone-deaf claims and allegations that were discussed have dominated and will continue to dominate global headlines. They are extremely out of touch. To be extremely clear, I believe that any mental health issues brought up by Meghan should be taken extremely seriously and she should receive the help that she sought out. However, being a working member of the Royal Family is a personal sacrifice to the people of the UK which Meghan clearly was unwilling to make. The reason for such strong backlash and criticism towards Meghan in the UK is because to the British public, her comments are out of touch, she is making very strong allegations against the institution which Her Majesty, the Queen who has been the Head of State for almost 70 years. Furthermore, to make such allegations and claims in the midst of a pandemic, does not give Meghan the best image or perception, as it just seems like baseless whining and complaining on issues she should have had a better understanding when she married into such a complex family.