CBS This Morning aired additional portions of Oprah Winfrey’s bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Meghan on Monday, including one clip where Harry talked about the role of racism in he and wife Meghan’s decision to leave the country.
“Did you leave the country because of racism?” Winfrey asked.
“It was a large part of it,” Harry said.
Harry then shared an anecdote of what happened at a fundraiser as he was taking on the British tabloids.
“One of the people at that dinner said to me, ‘Please don’t. Please don’t do this with the media.’ They will destroy your life. This person is friends with a lot of the editors. So I said, ‘Just elaborate by what you mean by that?’ He said, ‘You need to understand the UK is very bigoted.’ I stopped and I said, ‘The UK is not bigoted. The UK press is bigoted, specifically the tabloids. Is that what you mean?’ He goes, ‘No, the UK is bigoted.’ And I said, ‘I completely disagree.’ But unfortunately if the source of the information is inherently corrupt or racist or biased, then that filters out to the rest of society.”
There had been weeks of anticipation over the interview, conducted in Santa Barbara at the home of one of Winfrey’s friends. She said that a challenge was trimming it down from three hours, 20 minutes to the two hour primetime frame.
But even the portions that didn’t make the primetime cut provided a fascinating insight into the royal household, as Harry and Meghan described a symbiotic relationship between “The Firm,” the nickname for the monarchy, and the tabloids. The couple described the relentless attacks by the press and the refusal of the monarchy to go on the record and respond to defend them.
Still, they both were relatively reverential toward the Queen, but suggested that there is the institution of the monarchy that holds tremendous sway.
“I took away from that … that there are people surrounding the family who are advisers to the family who have been there for a long time, and that is a part of the hierarchical structure, and those people have a lot of influence and also input,” Winfrey said.
In another clip, Harry pushed back against reports that the Queen was blindsided when the couple announced in January, 2020, that they would step back from royal duties. He said that they were then invited to spend time with her, but then he was informed that the Queen was busy.
Harry said that he phoned her and said that he was thinking about coming anyway, but she said “there was something in my diary that I didn’t know that I had.”
“So I said, ‘What about the rest of the week?'” Harry said. “She goes, ‘That is busy now as well.’ I didn’t want to push because I kind of knew what was going on.”
Then Winfrey asked, “Doesn’t the Queen get to do what the Queen wants to do?”
“No, when you are the head of The Firm, there is people around you that give you advice, and what has also made me really sad is some of that advice has been really bad,” Harry said.
Winfrey also addressed one of the criticisms of Harry and Meghan for doing the interview. If they want privacy, they are sitting down with her.
“I don’t think the American public really understands — we attempted to but weren’t able to really show you — what the barrage of daily vitriol and negativity on a regular basis, on a consistent basis, does to your personal psyche,” Winfrey said. “It wasn’t just a couple of stories. It’s a business, and [Meghan is] a commodity, and an asset to that business. And so the point that they made in the interview that we weren’t able to show is that yes, they want privacy, but they understand that they are public figures, and the privacy is not to be intruded upon, the same thing that everybody else in the world wants. And there is a difference between privacy and intrusion, and being able to have boundaries.”
Winfrey said that she did hear from Meghan via text on Sunday in which she said, “How’s it going?” “She was putting Archie to bed, waiting on the West Coast feed, and had no idea what was happening on the East Coast. I said, ‘I don’t either. From what I can tell it’s going well. I know it’s airing.'”
“I will probably have a conversation with them later on today,” Winfrey said.
Winfrey also shared details of a conversation she had with Meghan in 2018, when she had just joined the royal family. Meghan told her that she had been given advice “that it would be best if she could be 50% less than she was. That was the quote, if she could be 50% less. And I remember hearing that in 2018, and said specifically to her, ‘I don’t know how you are going to survive, being half of yourself.”