Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have dominated the headlines with their pregnancy announcement on Valentine’s Day, revealing their happy news a few days after Meghan’s legal victory over the Daily Mail. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of saltiness happening. Even more so since it was then confirmed yesterday that the Sussexes are doing an interview with Oprah for CBS for a 90 primetime special that will air on March 7. This is their first joint sit-down interview since their engagement and according to the press release:
"Winfrey will speak with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, in a wide-ranging interview, covering everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure. Later, the two are joined by Prince Harry as they speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family."
90 minutes is a long time. I’m imagining that 90 minutes isn’t just the two of them, initially, and then the three of them when Harry is brought into the conversation, just sitting across from each other. You know how these work. At some point, there’s going to be a walk and talk, right? Harry and Meghan live in Montecito now, not far from Oprah’s estate. Oprah’s a pro, she knows the value of that shot, the she’s gonna want that shot (any television producer would) – not to the point of pushing it, but if it’s available, she’s taking it.
The UK reaction to the news that Oprah will be interviewing the Sussexes is, naturally, backlash. And there’s some angst about what exactly they’ll say about the British royal family and how they were treated and what role that treatment would have played in their decision to step down from their senior royal positions. Courtiers seem to be so worried that they’ve already started leaking to the Daily Mail that there is “now no way back to official duties” for Harry and Meghan, making it sound like this interview with Oprah sealed the deal for them to be permanently outcast. Apparently they’ll also be stripped of their patronages – the suggestion being that decision was made as a direct reaction to the Oprah news.
I don’t know if I buy that timing. It’s convenient for the tabloids, of course, and the courtiers, to imply that this outrageous move on their part to speak to Oprah has resulted in punishment when in fact, a decision like that is not made overnight and not without a lot of thought and consultation – if it’s even true. We don’t know yet, for sure, if that’s how it’s shaking out but there is 100% no way that should Harry and Meghan no longer be attached to their royal patronages, it was something that happened, like, yesterday.
What makes more sense is that they’re coming up on a year and, you’ll recall, back at the beginning of 2020, when it was first confirmed that the Sussexes would be leaving, there was to be a one-year review period after which all parties would reassess the situation. Those conversations have undoubtedly been happening over the last several weeks. And the specific date of Oprah’s primetime special with Harry and Meghan, March 7, just happens to be … the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of their final stretch of appearances as senior royals.
You remember those days, don’t you? For that week, knowing what it signified, Harry and Meghan gave us some of the most memorable images from their relationship so far. Including this now famous shot:
That was March 5, 2020.
This was March 7, 2020.
And this was March 9, 2020, for Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, their final appearance as senior royals:
Scheduling this interview with Oprah on March 7, 2021 will be of course, as advertised, the Sussexes reflecting back on the year that was but it may also be them marking a milestone – and I’m not sure this is just a coincidence. There have to have been negotiations happening behind the scenes leading them to this point, to the point where they are finally ready to talk. And whatever “consequences” result from it probably aren’t consequences at all; rather, more likely, they are already decisions that are in place. But the idea that whatever this “punishment” is that will befall them is actually a punishment? I mean, that’s debatable. The royal family may be trying to make it seem, through the tabloids, that Harry and Meghan are worse off without them and will eventually regret their choice but… are they really and will they really?
Isn’t that the real problem here?
People seem to be assuming that Harry and Meghan will tell Oprah about all their grievances but what if it’s the opposite? What if they’re like…this is the best thing we ever did and we are where we belong and we’re happy and we are working on our causes and championing the organisations that are helping people and we have purpose and are fulfilled, no looking back.
The whole point of the game is to believe that being royal and part of the team is the f-cking jackpot of everything. But if these two peaced out, and seem to be thriving, how does that work with the royal image? Wouldn’t that undermine the idea that being royal was the best possible option for Harry and Meghan? And, perhaps, anyone else? Wouldn’t that hit at the very heart of the royal identity?