Why the Stakes for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Oprah Interview Are So High

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Victoria Murphy
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Photo credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions
Photo credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

From Town & Country

When the world sits down to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey this weekend, many will view it as a compelling Sunday evening diversion. The anticipation of the couple revealing all over two hours is, perhaps, a bit like waiting for the finale of a drama that has had you gripped all week.

There can be no doubt that the viewing figures will be astronomical, and the magnitude of the revelations may very well be as great—but the stakes are the highest of all. It could well determine who will win this battle for public opinion, now being waged between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and ‘The Firm.’

I almost laughed today, thinking back to reporting two years ago on the Cambridges (Prince William and Kate Middleton) and the Sussexes splitting their households, and how it was happening as a natural progression, because the couples were on “different paths.” It was what was being briefed at the time, and of course was not untrue. But what was not said then, and has become very clear since, is that there was significant turmoil and misery behind the scenes.

In contrast, we are now in possession of—by modern-day standards, at least—an extraordinary amount of information about what has gone on behind closed doors. Meghan and Harry have already been vocal in short interviews; there have been court documents full of details; and now usually tight-lipped aides have even come forward to tell their story anonymously to the Times. The stage has been set for a very public battle.

It is the opposite of how the palace likes to do things.

Photo credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions
Photo credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

The allegations of bullying against Meghan will no doubt make many pause to think while watching her give her version of events in the Oprah interview. But the Sussexes are a couple who have for a long time polarized opinion, with so many having already firmly made up their minds. The real test of this interview will be in whether any minds are changed. Is there any flesh on the bones of Meghan’s accusation, revealed in a preview clip of the interview, that the Firm was “perpetuating falsehoods?” Will the Sussexes offer something more than how they feel, and tell us some facts we didn’t already know about what was said or done? If so, it could have serious consequences for the monarchy.

The very sad thing is that at the heart of this is a family, who is having a very bitter fallout in the full glare of the spotlight. And, like in many family disputes, it's very likely that there is fault to be found on both sides. But if they were just an ordinary family, the potential repercussions would be very different—because in addition to its internal relationships, the monarchy has a relationship with its public that remains vital to its survival. The institution simply cannot afford to lose public opinion.

So, for the Firm at least, the stakes here are very high, and at the moment it’s hard to see how everyone—or even anyone—can win. It's likely to be some time before the dust settles on this explosive interview. And then we will see which bridges—and which reputations—have been damaged the most.

You Might Also Like