Must-see TV, meet royalty. This Sunday, all eyes will likely be glued to the two-hour Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, which marks Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s first main joint interview since stepping down as senior members of the royal household final yr and transferring to California with son Archie.
Winfrey may have a lot to speak about with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — who occur to be her new neighbors — from their household life in California and just-announced information that they are having one other child following a miscarriage final yr, to the royal drama that is surrounded their 2020 departure. The interview comes on the heels of Meghan’s authorized victory in her privateness lawsuit towards British newspaper Mail On Sunday following its publishing of a non-public letter she despatched her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
As it occurs, that victory was essential to Winfrey’s interview — which has reportedly lengthy been within the works — getting the inexperienced gentle to go ahead, royal correspondent Omid Scobie tells Yahoo Life.
“This Oprah interview wouldn’t have been happening if the outcome of the summary judgment on the Mail case went in a different direction,” Scobie, co-author of the Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom, says. “It was literally the day after getting that victory that they went back to Oprah and confirmed that it could all go ahead.
“I feel individuals typically query the timing of this interview and I feel had this case with the Mail not have gone on for so long as it did, we might have seen them speaking about their previous few years a lot earlier,” he adds. “I feel every thing for Harry and Meghan over the previous yr has not occurred on the authentic time that they might have initially preferred. Of course, we’re in the course of a pandemic; they’ve spent a lot of the previous yr at home. So actually what we’re seeing now could be a pair who’re actually lastly getting into their new chapter.”
But that new chapter doesn’t come with some serious baggage — and a flurry of preemptive criticism from the British press the couple have railed against. As anticipation for royal revelations builds, the pregnant duchess has fielded accusations of bullying her former royal aides, which her team has called “an assault on her character.” (Buckingham Palace, in the meantime, added gas to the hearth by issuing an announcement expressing concern over the claims made in U.Okay. newspaper The Times that Meghan harassed staffers.) In a separate report, the paper charged that the previous Suits star wore earrings given to her by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the CIA has cited as approving the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
As rumors swirl and discord grows, Scobie uses his royal insider status to shed light on what to expect from Sunday’s special.
When is it?
Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special airs Sunday, March 7 from 8 to 10 p.m. on CBS.
Why not? Winfrey’s talk show hosting credentials make her a natural celebrity interviewer, but she also has a personal connection to the Sussexes that’s bound to put the couple at ease. While it’s been widely reported that Winfrey attended the couple’s May 2018 wedding — which she known as a “cultural second” — after spending time with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, Scobie says the “relationship goes a lot deeper.”
According to Scobie, it was Meghan — then dating Harry, but not yet engaged — and rather than her mother who first struck up a friendship with the media mogul in 2017 after being introduced by an L.A.-based business associate. That connection “become a detailed friendship in a short time,” he says, which led to Winfrey offering “a shoulder of help” to Ragland amid the media frenzy surrounding the royal wedding.
In 2019, it was announced that Winfrey would be partnering with Prince Harry on an Apple TV+ documentary about mental health. While that project has been delayed given the pandemic, they remain in close contact — literally. With their move to Montecito last summer, the couple became Winfrey’s neighbors.
“This is a friendship that builds over time,” Scobie says, adding that “Oprah has actually turn out to be an necessary determine of their lives.”
The significance of Meghan’s gown
Previews of the interview present 36-year-old Harry in a grey go well with whereas Meghan, pregnant with the couple’s second baby, wears a black silk Armani gown with a lotus throughout the bodice. Retailing for $4,700, the gown’s hefty price ticket has already stirred up some scorn among the many duchess’s critics, although Scobie says it is unlikely she really paid that a lot for the belted quantity.
“I’d dispute any tales that declare that she has spent that quantity on a gown,” the royal correspondent says, suggesting that a designer discount was probably extended because of Meghan’s “high-profile” status. “I’m certain it got here at a distinct value to her as a result of, after all, the designer advantages significantly in conditions like this.”
Far more interesting, he says, is what the dress — which the former actress paired with Birks earrings and a loose up-do — symbolizes. Scobie says that Meghan “wished one thing that had some which means for the interview” and was drawn to the detail of the embroidered lotus, a flower associated with “rebirth and religious enlightenment.”
“She preferred that again story of the lotus, that it was this flower of resilience that submerges into the water each night time after which comes again within the morning refreshed and energized for the brand new day,” he explains. “As we have seen with Meghan, there’s at all times thought that goes into the outfits. I’d think about that it wasn’t that it was an Armani gown. It was one which kind of ticked the field on having some which means.”
Two equipment worn by the 39-year-old additionally look like loaded with which means: her Cartier “Love” bracelet once owned by the late Princess Diana, and a necklace by jewelry designer Pippa Small, who has previously collaborated with father-in-law Prince Charles. Harry’s suit, meanwhile, is a favorite he’s beforehand worn for milestone moments together with son Archie’s first photograph name.
What will likely be mentioned
Two trailers for Sunday’s interview present Harry addressing the pressure of the British media scrutiny — which he informed James Corden final week was “destroying my psychological well being” — on the couple as well as his mother. “I am unable to think about what it will need to have been like for her going by way of this course of by herself all these years in the past, as a result of it has been unbelievably powerful for the 2 of us, however no less than we had one another,” he says in one clip in reference to Princess Diana. The royal has previously called out the media’s culpability in his mother’s 1997 death from a Paris car crash while being pursued by members of the paparazzi.
In a second preview he tells Winfrey, “My largest concern was historical past repeating itself.”
While Winfrey builds up the drama that “there is not any topic that is off-limits,” and has soundbites alluding to Meghan being “silenced,” reaching a “breaking level” and finding her situation “unsurvivable,” Scobie cautions that viewers may not necessarily be bombarded with bombshells. For example, he notes that Harry has publicly spoken out about his mental health struggles and made comparisons to Diana before.
Scobie doesn’t anticipate the couple calling out members of the royal family, given Harry’s positive comments about his grandparents during his James Corden interview, but will likely be candid about the royal institution itself and the pressures that come with it.
“I feel that is the place we’ll get numerous revelations for the primary time,” he predicts, “as a result of it’s the first time that they’ll talk about that with out fear of punishment.”
That said, Scobie speculates that “there are a lot of issues that they won’t tackle throughout this interview… It just isn’t a tawdry tell-all.”
It stands to reason that Meghan’s miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy, her recent legal battle and the projects they’re undertaking through Archewell, including deals with Netflix and Spotify, will also be up for discussion. But, as Scobie says, the interview is currently very much “beneath lock and key” until it airs Sunday night.
Why the timing is causing controversy
The March 7 airdate is raising eyebrows with royal watchers for two reasons, and both involve Harry’s grandparents. Queen Elizabeth II’s pre-recorded address marking Commonwealth Day will be broadcast on BBC One in the U.K. earlier that day in lieu of an in-person service. (Last year’s Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, incidentally, marked Harry and Meghan’s final public appearance with the royal family before formally stepping down.)
A Westminster Abbey spokesperson revealed that the queen’s plans were confirmed before the Winfrey interview was announced, news that some Harry and Meghan critics have taken as a slight to his family. But Scobie says the timing is more of a coincidence than a conflict.
“This has individuals reaching for an issue that does not really exist,” he says, noting that whereas the interview will certainly air on CBS within the U.S. that night time — round 1 a.m. GMT — U.Okay. audiences will not be capable to view it till Monday night time, when it is broadcast on the ITV community.
He acknowledges, nonetheless, that the timing in gentle of Prince Philip’s hospitalization is extra “unlucky.” The 99-year-old was taken to a London hospital to treat an infection on Feb. 16, and has since been transferred to a different hospital for observation of a preexisting heart condition. The interview with CBS, meanwhile, had been announced just two days before.
“It was mere days after they confirmed this interview with Oprah that Prince Phillip wanted additional consideration medically,” Scobie says. “And that is a state of affairs that continues to loom closely within the background… each the queen and prince are very expensive to [Harry]. It’s a relationship that has continued at power for the previous yr since stepping away. I’m certain it is a very tough time. At the identical time, it is a resolution that they’d already made; the wheels have been already in movement. The interview had already been wrapped and I do not suppose anybody, together with senior members of the royal household, would have ever thought that Phillip would have stayed in hospital for so long as he has.”
How viewers might react — and why Harry and Meghan are sharing their story regardless
Given the reports being published in the days leading up to the interview, it stands to reason that critics will be ready to pounce. A common refrain from their detractors is that the couple are being hypocritical by complaining about the invasive media attention they received as royals, but then keeping public profiles. (Even their recent pregnancy announcement drew ire from critics accusing them of seeking attention.)
According to Scobie, it’s not that the Sussexes want to be “nearly nameless” — they just want to live on their own terms while maintaining the “elementary human rights to privateness.” Voluntarily sharing a photo of Archie on social media, for instance, allows them to be public but also in control; being followed by members of the paparazzi does not.
“Harry and Meghan, as we have seen through the years, are damned in the event that they do and damned if they do not,” Scobie says. “But there may be this false impression that they need this nearly nameless life — that they solely wish to be on the market relating to their charity work. But this can be a couple which have clearly been very comfy within the public eye.”
He adds that while Harry and Meghan may be opening themselves up to criticism by taking part in any interview, that critics are bound to target, it’s important for them to take the time to set the record straight on some matters, and address them in their own words, and not via anonymous royal sources.
“Everyone has spoken about them other than them,” he says.
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