Oprah Winfrey has called her interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “the best” of her career. In terms of royal interviews, it is certainly one for the ages – right up there with Martin Bashir’s infamous 1995 sit-down with Prince Harry’s mother that precipitated her divorce from his father.
Harry and Meghan Markle’s “divorce” from the royal family predated Oprah’s interview with the couple Sunday night on CBS. The legendary broadcaster is being hailed by her colleagues for scoring the first post-Megxit interview with the bitter duo. And it was definitely ratings gold for Oprah and CBS, pulling in over 17 million viewers (more than the Emmys and Golden Globes combined).
It was also history-making – a full-on assault of an institution dating back to Edward the Confessor. The last time the British royal family tangled with an American divorcee it ended in an abdication that put the current monarch’s father on the throne. (Somewhere in the sweet hereafter, Wallis Simpson is lamenting, “If only I’d had Oprah, I could have been queen.”)
Oprah’s interview with the current American divorcee who married into the family didn’t cause an abdication, but Meghan Markle definitely left her mark.
The biggest bombshell in the two-hour pre-taped interview was Meghan’s accusation – or “suggestion” as some media outlets are describing it – that there were “concerns and conversations about how dark [her son’s] skin might be when he’s born.”
This allegation was made during a discussion about why Meghan and Harry’s son, Archie, was not given the royal title of prince and the privileges that go with it, including a taxpayer-funded security detail. This perceived slight to her son seems to be at the root of Meghan’s rift with her royal in-laws.
As Breitbart’s Jack Montgomery explained, the rule of not granting the great-grandson of a sitting monarch (aside from the children of the eldest child of the heir) the title of prince was laid down over a century ago by the current Queen’s grandfather, King George V.
But Meghan has her own theories as to why a 100-year-old royal convention wasn’t overturned for her son, and Oprah helpfully gave her the opening to broadcast her “suspicions” and even gave her a nudge in the right direction.
“You certainly must have had some conversations with Harry about it and have your own suspicions as to why they didn’t want to make Archie a prince,” Oprah said. “What are those thoughts? Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s because of his race? And I know that’s a loaded question. But?”
Meghan sighed and said, “But I can give you an honest answer.”
Then she paused before dropping the big one.
“In the months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” she said.
“What?” a shocked Oprah asked. “Who is having that conversation with you? What?”
Meghan nodded, as if acknowledging the fact that she just kneecapped her in-laws.
“So, um,” she began to say, before a flabbergasted Oprah interrupted again, “There is a conversation — hold up. Stop right now.”
“There are several conversations. There are several conversations about it,” Meghan interjected.
“There is a conversation with you?” Oprah asked.
“With Harry,” Meghan clarified.
“About how dark your baby is going to be?” Oprah finished asking.
“Potentially and what that would mean and what that would look like,” Meghan replied.
“And you’re not going to tell me who had the conversation?” Oprah asked.
“I think that would be very damaging to them,” Meghan said.
“Okay,” Oprah conceded, then asked, “So how does one have that meeting?”
“That was relayed to me from Harry,” Meghan said. “Those were conversations that family had with him. And I think, um, it was really hard to see those as compartmentalized conversations.”
“So, they were concerned that if he were too brown that that would be a problem, are you saying that?” Oprah asked.
Meghan replied, “I wasn’t able to follow up with why, but if that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one, which was really hard to understand, right?”
So, Meghan claims there were “concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born.” And she made certain to clarify that these were “several conversations” between Harry and someone in his family (though she didn’t “follow up with why” on this).
But then later in the interview, Harry seems to claim that it was only one conversation, not several. As to the identity of the alleged royal racist, Harry said he was “never going to share” the name of this individual, presumably because, as Meghan noted earlier, that “would be very damaging to them.”
So, instead of “damaging” that one person, they are damaging their entire family – because the shadow of suspicion has been cast on the whole lot of them. After all, it could be any one of them.
In fact, woke Twitter immediately pointed the finger at Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather who is currently hospitalized. Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has a famously salty and un-PC sense of humor. In fact, you could say the old Duke – a former prince of Greece who fought for Britain during World War II – has been the target of cancel culture his entire life. His mother had to smuggle him out of Greece in a fruit crate when he was a baby in 1922, after revolutionaries overthrew the Greek government. They fared better than their Russian cousins who were murdered by the Bolsheviks just four years earlier. (In fact, 75 years after the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, Prince Phillip provided the DNA sample that researchers used to identify their bones, which their communist killers had crudely buried in a ditch in Siberia.)
Perhaps sensing how nasty it is to accuse a hospitalized 99-year-old World War II veteran of being an anonymous racist, Harry and Oprah backtracked Monday morning. She told CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King that Harry told her off-camera that the alleged royal racist was not his grandmother or grandfather.
“There’s a big guessing game all around the world. ‘Who was it, who was it, who was it?’” Gayle King asked Oprah.
“He did not share the identity with me,” Oprah told her. “But he wanted to make sure that I knew, and if I had the opportunity to share it, that it was not his grandmother nor his grandfather that were part of those conversations.”
“He did not tell me who were a part of those conversations. As you can see, I tried to get that answer on camera and off,” she added.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 8, 2021
Though Gayle King says that she “thought it was very touching that Harry still is choosing to protect the identity of whoever that was,” it’s hard to see how dropping an accusation like this and declining to offer any further context or clarification is kind to the members of his family who are all still under suspicion.
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the Queen’s history will know that accusing her of racism is absurd. Breitbart’s Joel Pollak notes that “Queen Elizabeth, now 94, was among the first white leaders to embrace African liberation figures in the 1960s, dancing with Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah at a time when racial segregation was common elsewhere.”
As a constitutional monarch, the Queen stays out of political debates. She has never publicly taken a political position in all her 68 years on the throne. But there was one exception to this. The only time the public learned of the Queen being at odds with her prime minister was in 1986 when she disagreed with her government’s reluctance to issue sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. That was the issue she was willing to stick her neck out for. Keep in mind that this is a woman who, on her 21st birthday in 1947, dedicated her “whole life whether it be long or short” to the British Commonwealth of nations, most of which are located in African and Asia.
But none of this context was provided by Oprah. There was no mention of the 100-year-old convention barring Archie from getting the title of prince. No mention of the Queen’s personal history of anti-racism. No mention – until the next day after her 17 million viewers had already tuned out – that Harry had told her that the alleged royal racist wasn’t his grandmother or grandfather. Oprah certainly could have taken the time to include this information at some point during this two-hour pre-taped interview, filmed on two massive California estates, that included everything from an introduction to Meghan and Harry’s pet chickens to assurances that no topic was off limits.
But none of this matters now. The damage is already done. “They have thrown a big hand grenade into the Royal Family and the monarchy,” royal biographer Robert Jobson said. “They have accused the Royal Family of being racist, but they have not said who. That is cowardice. You cannot make that slur.”
Actually, that wasn’t the only slur they made. In new clips of the interview released Monday, Harry also accused the entire British media of being racist, but he seemed to stop short of accusing the British public of being racist, though he did confirm that racism was “a large part” of why he wanted to leave his country. (No word on whether he thinks the United States is less racist.)
Never Complain, Never Explain
We shouldn’t expect an answer from the royal family. When it comes to the press, their unofficial motto has always been, “Never Complain, Never Explain.” They rarely, if ever, respond to news stories at all, even when they are incorrect.
Ironically, this is one of the things Meghan told Oprah she was upset about. She expected the palace to defend her like a celebrity’s PR shop, issuing endless corrections to every negative tabloid story.
But the “firm,” as members of the royal family call the institutional monarchy, doesn’t operate that way. This is nothing new. King Edward VII’s daughter reportedly kept a scrapbook of all the inaccurate newspaper articles written about her family that she titled, “Things We’ve Never Said or Done.” It goes without saying that none of this Edwardian fake news was corrected by the family at the time. The scrapbook was the princess’s way of letting off steam.
The royal family has a sort of symbiotic relationship with the British tabloid press. The tabloids need the royals to sell papers. The royals need the tabloids because if you want to remain relevant to your people, you need to appear in the popular press that your people read. Fear of losing public approval is hardwired into the Windsors. They remember what happened to their European cousins 100 years ago. And even before World War I wiped out Europe’s royal dynasties, the English beheaded one of their kings; no monarch since Charles I takes that history for granted. You could say that the monarchy’s very existence depends on good publicity.
But, at the same time, the British royal family doesn’t believe in responding to every bit of bad publicity. To do so would not only be an exercise in futility, it would cheapen them. The Queen doesn’t engage with the tabloid press the way celebrities do because doing so would make her little more than a reality star, not the head of a constitutional monarchy stretching back a thousand years and embodying the heritage of a proud nation. No one would curtsey to the Kardashians or sing an anthem imploring God to save Kim.
This is something Meghan doesn’t seem to grasp. But it is this very reticence on the part of the royal family that makes Meghan and Harry’s bombshells so cruel. Harry knows that his family won’t respond to these accusations. In fact, he said as much when he told Oprah that his brother and father “are trapped” within this system of royal protocol. So, of course, the best way to help them out is to slander them, knowing that they can’t and won’t clap back. And he accused them of something that he must know will be toxic to his family’s public favorability and his father and brother’s positions as future monarchs.
But even if the royal family could respond, what would they say to refute the claim that some unnamed person was concerned with Archie’s skin tone? Tina Brown, who wrote one of the definitive biographies of Harry’s mother, told CBS This Morning, “I don’t know how the palace can honestly answer that because the person concerned isn’t named, so it’s impossible really for them to say, ‘Well, no, somebody did not say that.’”
But there are many people who work for the royals and have deep affection for them. We can expect all sorts of anonymous stories to trickle out telling the truth about these allegations. These are the bread crumbles that royal biographers feast on.
In fact, there are already multiple stories about Meghan and Harry’s entitled antics. At least ten former staffers are reportedly eager to cooperate with a palace investigation into Meghan’s bullying behavior towards staff.
Royal biographer Robert Lacey recounted one such story in his latest book, Battle of Brothers, about a fight involving Meghan’s choice of a tiara to wear on her wedding day:
Sometime early in 2018 Meghan went to Buckingham Palace to review what many experts consider the most fabulous and expensive collection of personal jewellery in the world, to be shown round by its owner–the Queen. As so often, there are differing versions of what happened next.
Unconfirmed by the palace–but not denied–we are told that the Queen felt that she had to say ‘no’ to Meghan’s first choice, a beautiful emerald headdress that was said ‘to have come from Russia’. This was code for a sensitive origin, meaning that the treasure was one of those that had found its way into Windsor hands through ‘undefined’ not to say dodgy channels–and for an undisclosed price–in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. There was scandal attached. For this reason, the emerald tiara was seldom, if ever, put on public display, and it would suit neither the palace nor Meghan herself that spring if newspapers started speculating about precisely which Tsarist princess had worn the tiara and how she had been assassinated.
Unfortunately Harry’s ignorance of both history and family tradition meant that he had no understanding of this subtlety. Not for the first time, nor sadly the last, the word ‘no’ pushed a button inside him, and he flew into a rage. There were dressers and flunkies present, guarding and organising the jewels, so it was inevitable that his now-famous exclamation should find its way to the outside world–‘What Meghan wants, Meghan gets!’
Her Majesty did not approve.
‘Meghan cannot have whatever she wants,’ she was reported to have replied. ‘She gets the tiara that she’s given by me.’ Meghan had arrived expecting a starring role and discovered that in terms of royal precedence she had been allotted a walk-on part.
Accounts differ as to whether the exchange took place in the presence of the sparkling tiara itself, plus Meghan, or whether Her Majesty administered her reproof to her grandson later. The official outcome, however, was another beautiful headdress of safer and more respectable provenance for Meghan to wear on her wedding day–Queen Mary’s classic art deco Diamond Bandeau featuring no fewer than eleven sections of glittering diamonds and platinum.”
That story perfectly encapsulates this couple: arrogant, entitled, historically illiterate, more interested in the trappings of monarchy, but none of the responsibilities and burdens of it – including the constitutional restraints to stay out of politics, something the super woke couple refused to understand as they sailed into one divisive political issue after another.
Meghan claims that she was “naive” about all of this. By her own admission, she knew little about her husband’s country or its history. She told Oprah that didn’t even know that the British national anthem is “God Save the Queen.”
“I will say I went into it naively because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the royal family,” she said.
This led Tina Brown to ask, “What kind of misunderstanding did she really have about joining the royal family? Because, as an actress, you would think that she would prepare for the role.”
Apparently she didn’t prepare for the role, and she’s angry that the audience didn’t clap for her. So, of course, they must be racist, right?
No, the British public’s dislike of Meghan has nothing to do with the fact that she’s biracial. It has everything to do with the thoughtless arrogance of this C-list American actress who has so little respect for their country that she didn’t even know its national anthem, but feels entitled to lecture them about her woke politics.
Breitbart’s James Delingpole explained why Meghan – or “Princess Pushy” as he likes to call her – garners such bad publicity in the British tabloids:
[H]ere in Britain, on the whole, we love our Royal Family. Or, rather, we at least love our Queen and the way she has steadfastly and with great dignity and gentle good humour held our country together through thick and thin for nearly 70 years.
One thing we love about our Queen is that she represents all of us. Because she keeps her mouth resolutely shut on contentious issues – she’s much happier talking about horses, about which she knows a lot – she has stayed above the fray of politics.
Princess Pushy, on the other hand, has charged into the most divisive issues of the day like a bull into a china shop – especially regarding anything to do with identity politics.
And now “Princess Pushy” and her husband – with the help of Oprah – have smeared their whole family and country as racists.
Update: Buckingham Palace broke with normal convention today to respond to the Oprah interview. The full statement reads: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.” The astute reader will note that the Palace didn’t directly refute the allegations, but did assert that “some recollections may vary,” which seems like a super polite way of saying “fake news.”
Rebecca Mansour is Senior Editor-at-Large for Breitbart News. Follow her on Twitter at @RAMansour.