Harry and Meghan’s Oprah chat will mark new era for couple

Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent
·4-min read

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will use their primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey to mark the start of a new chapter in their lives, the PA news agency understands.

Harry and Meghan will sit down with the world’s best known chat show host to discuss life in America, but speculation that the interview will be negative or openly criticise the royal family is likely to be misplaced.

The couple are believed to have been organising the interview for a considerable period and wanted to have their say after seeing thousands of newspaper column inches devoted to their lives.

Public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski described the interview as a “significant moment”, saying it would “supercharge” the couple’s brand.

But a snap poll from YouGov found almost half of those questioned thought the interview was inappropriate (46%), while almost a third (29%) thought it was the right thing to do.

Much has been written about their decision to step down as senior royals for personal and financial freedom early last year – dubbed Megxit.

Harry and Meghan have since forged ahead with their lives, signing lucrative deals – thought to be worth well over £100 million – with Spotify and Netflix that give them the capital to pursue their new lifestyle and public goals.

They have also bought a multimillion-pound home in the celebrity enclave of Montecito in California, launched a non-profit foundation and announced Meghan’s pregnancy after her miscarriage last year.

Harry and Meghan have had an eventful 12 months after moving to America with son Archie. Toby Melville/PA Wire
Harry and Meghan have had an eventful 12 months after moving to America with son Archie (Toby Melville/PA)

Oprah With Meghan And Harry has been described as an “intimate conversation” by US television network CBS, which is to screen the primetime special on March 7.

Speculation has been mounting that Winfrey would interview the couple since she was invited to their wedding in May 2018.

She lives close to the Sussexes and is expected to be a considerate interviewer whose questions will not take the form of a cross-examination.

Mr Borkowski said “millions of people will be tuning in and supercharging their brand” and it would be “well controlled”, but may be staged in their £11 million mansion and could see son Archie make an appearance.

He added: “It will be about the difficulties of being Harry and Megan. They’ll be talking about the stress and the mental health issues, and talking about how low they were at the time of the miscarriage, how they’re coping with a new life in America – what they hope to do.

Oprah Winfrey attending Harry and Meghan's wedding. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Oprah Winfrey at Harry and Meghan’s wedding (Danny Lawson/PA)

“So all of it is primetime TV to give people a view of their brand and of course I don’t think they want to attack the Queen, I don’t think they want to attack the royal family. I think there might be some guarded remarks about the brother-in-law and the sister-in-law, but that’s about it.

“They will lose ground and lose valuable time if they spend too much time digging up many wounds from the past – this is about them and their brand.”

The YouGov poll of 4,334 adults was carried out on Tuesday and found a majority of the 18 to 24-year-olds questioned (52%) were in favour of the interview.

Support for Harry and Meghan’s television chat declined as the participants got older, with just 11% of the over-65s approving of the idea. Disapproval was highest among the over-65s (70%) and lowest among 18 to 24-year-olds (21%).

As the one-year anniversary of the couple formally stepping down as working royals on March 31 approaches, the Queen is expected to review Harry’s honorary military titles.

The duke’s forces appointments – Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving – were put on hold for a year after Megxit, and he is not allowed to take on any roles using them.

But after creating a new life for himself in America and becoming physically distanced from the units, it has been expected for some time that the military honours will be passed on to other members of the monarchy.