What Oprah Winfrey has said about her friends Harry and Meghan

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read

Watch: Harry and Meghan to talk to Oprah

She has landed what is set to be the royal interview of the year.

Oprah Winfrey will sit down with Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, for an "intimate conversation" before they are joined by Prince Harry in a special 90-minute interview.

It's the first interview the couple have done since they stepped back as senior members of the Royal Family - and it's said nothing is out of bounds.

Winfrey attend the royal wedding in Windsor in May 2018, and has hinted at the friendship she has with Meghan on her Instagram.

But according to The Times, Winfrey, 67, and Meghan had met just once before the wedding, despite her claiming to be there as a friend of the pair.

The paper reports the two women met in Kensington Palace after Oprah found herself in London in early 2018, and was subsequently invited to the wedding.

US presenter Oprah Winfrey arrives for the wedding ceremony of Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. (Photo by Ian West / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read IAN WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
US presenter Oprah Winfrey at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. (Ian West/AFP)

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Meghan, 39, is said to have been excited when the chat show host texted her the following day.

With no social media herself, Meghan has not made an obvious public display of a friendship with Winfrey.

Winfrey does not chat frequently about her bond with the duchess, but has previously made her support for the couple clear.

In January 2020, after the couple had announced their plans to step back, she told street journalist Adam Glyn: "I support them 1000%.

"I believe that when you have thought about this as long as they have, and even in the Queen's statement, where the Queen says this has been going on for months, these discussions have been going on for months, and when you have thought about if for months and what Harry said in that charity statement [for Sentebale] - he said he had to make the decision to back away from his family to move forward in peace for his new family, I don't know how they came up with those words but who doesn't feel that?"

She continued: "Who doesn’t feel what that takes to make that decision? To give up everything you’ve known in your whole life to say I’m going to choose this new life for what I believe to be the truest vision for myself. Who are any of us to stand in judgment of that?"

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are seen with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, Britain May 8, 2019. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Oprah praised how Harry and Meghan handled the photocall after Archie was born. (Dominic LipinskiReuters)

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Harry had told his charity supporters at Sentebale that it had not been possible to serve the Queen and to carve their own path, and said: "But I hope that helps you understand what it had to come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life."

Asked about whether Harry was inspiring, Winfrey said: "I won’t even say inspiring. I’m saying he did what he needed to do for his family. That’s all I will say about that and I don’t think anybody else has any right to say anything.

"When a person has sat and thought about what is the best decision I’m going to make for my family and then he makes that decision, none of us have any right to say anything about that. That’s his decision for his family."

But in the same month, Winfrey was denying reports of an impending tell-all interview.

Nicole Nichols, chief spokesperson for the Oprah Winfrey Network told Buzzfeed there were no discussions at the time.

Before the step back, Winfrey spoke of her pride in Meghan ahead of Archie's birth, in May 2019.

Meghan chose a different to route to many other royal mothers, waiting to share details of going into labour until after her son was born, and avoiding the immediate photocall outside the hospital too.

Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight: "I'm so proud of her decisions.

"To be able to stand up and say this is what I really want for my baby and my family and now I'm going to do it a different way when it's been done that way for a thousand years? I'm just so proud of her."

She added: "Who is ready to walk out and stand before the world and put that face on, you know, a day after you've had a baby?

"So I think for her and him - I'm sure it was a mutual decision for the two of them - I think it's a great thing."

Winfrey also stuck up for Meghan in April 2019, saying press coverage of the duchess was "unfair".

UNSPECIFIED - NOVEMBER 12: In this screengrab, Oprah Winfrey speaks during the GCAPP EmPOWER Party & 25th Anniversary Virtual Event on November 12, 2020 in UNSPECIFIED, United States. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for GCAPP)
Winfrey is a friend of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and she has defended them. (Getty Images for GCAPP)

Read more: How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are choosing to speak for themselves

She said: "I think she’s being portrayed unfairly, and I feel that if people really knew her they would know that she is not only everything we perceive of her, in being graceful and dynamic in holding that position, but she just has a wonderful, warm, giving, loving heart.

"I think it’s very unfair."

The two women have sent gifts back and forth to one another since forming a friendship.

Winfrey sent Archie – Harry and Meghan's firstborn – a set of books, marked with 'Archie's book club' stickers.

And Meghan sent Winfrey a basket of wellness lattes after she invested in the company behind them.

Sharing the details of the drinks on Instagram, Winfrey noted the gift was from 'M' and said "Yes that M" including a crown emoji.

It's reported the interview is being filmed this week and will air on CBS on 7 March.

Watch: Harry and Meghan set to complete family and welcome new baby