Meghan, Harry and Oprah: What we learned about the royals and the media
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey this week laid bare bitter rifts at the heart of the House of Windsor. The revelations of Meghan’s suicidal thoughts during her pregnancy, the allegations that another member of the family made racist remarks about her unborn child, and that the Prince of Wales had refused to take his son’s calls made headlines around the world. The Palace took two whole days to respond before issuing a statement that said the issues of race were ‘concerning’ but would be dealt with privately.
But there was another powerful institution other than the Palace that Meghan and Harry directed their anger at: the British media. Harry told Oprah that the racism from the tabloid press was a large part of why the couple had left the UK, and talked about how the royals were trapped and in fear of media coverage. Perhaps proving the Sussexs’ point about hostile coverage, the GMB host Piers Morgan, one of Meghan’s fiercest critics, said he did not believe a word she said. After 41,000 complaints were made about him to the broadcasting regulator Ofcom, he and ITV parted company.
In today's episode we interrogate the symbiotic and often fractious relationship between the royals and the media. How should royals be reported on – were the Sussexs naïve or justified in their criticisms? What role did race play in the coverage of Meghan? Were she and her sister-in-law portrayed as two different archetypes? And why was Oprah Winfrey so successful in getting the scoops from the couple?
Joining us are three guests: Dr Hannah Yelin is a senior lecturer in media and culture at Oxford Brookes University and has just co-edited the publication Race, Royalty and Meghan Markle: Elites, Inequalities and a Woman in the Public Eye. Miriam O’Donkor is a freelance journalist who has reported on Black women’s reaction to Megxit. And Karla Adam is the London correspondent for the Washington Post who’s been reporting back to the US about British reaction.
Presented by: Dr. Glenda Cooper and Dr. Lindsey Blumell
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