Meghan and Harry Oprah interview: US media rides to Duchess's defence
8th March 2021

US media seizes on Meghan and Harry bombshells to claim they expose a life of ‘racism and stoicism’ behind the royal ‘fairytale’ – but others dismiss Oprah interview as ‘full of bull’ and call Duchess ‘pitiless and cruel’

  • Meghan and Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah has aired in the US 
  • American media largely sided with Meghan and led criticism of the Royal Family
  • Forbes said the interview revealed the ‘racism and stoicism’ behind the royals’ fairy tale image while CNN said it had exposed the Palace’s ‘hypocrisy’   
  • But others said Meghan was ‘full of bull’ and was a ‘manipulative piece of work’

American media outlets rushed to defend Meghan Markle today after she levelled astonishing claims of racism, cruelty and emotional neglect at the Royal Family.   

Forbes said Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah had exposed the ‘racism and stoicism’ behind the royals’ fairy tale image, CNN said it laid bare ‘hypocrisy’ within the Palace, while the Wall Street Journal described the monarchy as an ‘oppressive system’ from which Harry had ‘escaped’. 

But others were sharply critical of Meghan – with the New York Post calling her a ‘manipulative piece of work’, said her answers to Oprah were ‘full of bull’ and that she had been ‘pitiless and cruel’ towards her husband’s family while demanding same pity for herself.

The interview, the most significant with a royal in over two decades, also exposed a stark difference of opinion between the US – where newspapers and social media users were broadly supportive of Meghan – and the UK – where she came in for criticism.

Meghan and Harry sat down for their bombshell interview with Oprah on Sunday night, with US news outlets rushing to her defence afterwards

Piers Morgan used a segment on Good Morning Britain to describe the ‘shameful’ interview as a ‘disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family’.

Meanwhile tabloid front pages branded her a ‘Megxile’, focused on Charles and Williams’ ‘immense sadness’, and Meghan’s assertion that Kate made her cry.

The Daily Star ran a front page which said ‘we were going to stay up to watch that interview, but then we couldn’t be arsed’.

The New York Post was an exception among US outlets – with columnist Maureen Callahan calling Meghan a liar, pointing out inconsistencies in her and Harry’s account of events, and took a swipe at Oprah for failing to clear them up. 

Meanwhile Miranda Devine used her column to call Meghan a ‘manipulative piece of work’, ‘pitiless and cruel’ and attack her central claim that the royal family were set on denying son Archie a title and protection because of the colour of his skin.

‘You only have to remember how cruelly she treated her own father and sister after she met Harry to understand how pitiless she is,’ she wrote.

‘Now she is intent on inflicting the same cruelty, or worse, on her husband’s family.’

But Erin Vanderhoof, a writer for Vanity Fair, gave a very different view of that same remark – saying it was ‘past the line’.

‘That taboo against interracial marriage and the ways that it does still survive are some of the things that we do know as being racist,’ she said. 

Asked bluntly by the BBC whether the row with Meghan had changed the way American people see Britain, she added: ‘On the one hand clearly the Royal Family is not representative of all British people.

‘But in a lot of ways Meghan is the realisation of a certain meritocratic idea in America.

‘To see someone who, in their own way, was a self-made person, to see them be so roundly rejected or mocked, it does come to very foundational ideas of what Amercians see society as being about.’

In the New York Times, writer Ellen Barry recalled speaking to black Britons at the time of Meghan and Harry’s marriage, saying it ‘really meant something’ to them – and that she ‘hates to think’ what their reaction to this interview will be.

Meanwhile Mark Landler wrote that Meghan had described ‘a royal life that began as a fairy tale but quickly turned suffocating and cruel.

‘Meghan’s blunt answers raised the combustible issues of race and privilege in the most rarefied echelon of British society,’ he added.

CNN drew a comparison between Buckingham Palace’s investigation into claims of bullying against Meghan – aired in the days before the interview – and its defence of Prince Andrew amid claims about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

‘Harry and Meghan expose palace hypocrisy,’ read the headline on an opinion piece by writer Holly Thomas.

‘Though full details of the allegations against Meghan are as yet unknown, the palace’s eagerness to respond to them stands in stark contrast to its previous reactions to other controversies,’ she wrote. 

‘Most notably the substantially more serious complaints against the Queen’s third child, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. 

‘These statements have been minimal and resolutely supportive of the prince – not to mention an illuminating insight into the values the family seems to hold most dear.’

Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal recalled Meghan’s battle with the British tabloid press, saying it had ‘exacerbated’ her misery around the time she confessed to having suicidal thoughts.

The paper also picked up on remarks made by Prince Harry – that his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince William, are ‘trapped’ in the institution – to brand the monarchy an ‘oppressive system’

‘Prince Harry described his family’s exit in terms of an escape,’ the paper wrote.

The US version of Vogue, which Meghan guest edited in the UK before departing for LA, praised the interview as ‘raw and emotional’.

The UK version of the magazine read simply ‘The Duchess Of Sussex Opens Up About Having Suicidal Thoughts During Her First Pregnancy’. 

Opinion was similarly divided on social media as those in the UK called on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to be stripped of their royal titles while Americans praised the couple’s ‘honesty’ and ‘bravery’.

Several viewers took to Twitter calling on the couple to be stripped of their Duke and Duchess rank – while Piers Morgan branded the interview an ‘absolutely disgraceful betrayal of the Queen’.

However, many of Meghan’s American friends rallied behind her, with Serena Williams and make-up artist Daniel Martin are leading the support for the former actress.

In a statement on Twitter after the interview aired, Williams – who was among those to attend Meghan’s wedding to Prince Harry – described her as a ‘selfless friend’ who ‘teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble’.

‘Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced,’ Williams wrote.

‘I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us, to break us down and demonize us. We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism.

Meanwhile, US poet Amanda Gorman said: ‘Meghan is living the life Diana should have, if only those around her had been as brave as she was. Meghan isn’t living a life without pain, but a life without a prison’.

Daniel Martin – who did Meghan’s make-up on her wedding day – shared a picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Instagram.

He posted the photo alongside a poem from Maya Angelou that said: ‘You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I’ll rise.’

‘Very sickening what Meghan had to go through. Abolish this racist, incompetent monarchy,’ one viewer wrote.

‘I’m SO PROUD of Meghan. To come out and speak her truth about the monarchy being racist towards her OWN BABY is incredibly brave,’ said another.

While US viewers praised Meghan for ‘calling out racism,’ those in the in the UK accused her of ‘disrespecting the Queen’.

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