Oprah Winfrey’s assertion that Meghan Markle may have been ‘silenced’ by the Crown is ‘ridiculous’ and unfairly paints the Queen as a mob boss like Don Corleone from The Godfather, royal experts told MailOnline today.
Buckingham Palace should also be ‘scared’ after it emerged this morning that the Sussexes’ tell-all interview due for broadcast on Sunday night has been extended from 90 minutes to two hours at the 11th hour.
Oprah pushes Meghan Markle on whether she was ‘silenced’ by the Crown while Prince Harry claims he emigrated to LA with his family because he feared ‘history repeating itself’ after the death of his mother Princess Diana, a new trailer shows.
The Duke of Sussex also describes leaving the Royal Family was ‘unbelievably tough’ and Oprah claims the couple both say ‘some pretty shocking things’ in the bombshell interview that is expected to upset the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William when the show is broadcast on Sunday, March 7.
Oprah promises viewers there will be ‘shocking’ revelations and ‘no subject off limits’ in the heavily-produced teaser complete with dramatic music released online by CBS in the US overnight. In more bad news for the royals, who have already been warned to ‘hide behind their sofas’ next Sunday, the broadcaster also revealed the show has extended from 90 minutes to a two-hour special that will be watched by tens of millions of people worldwide.
Robert Jobson, a biographer of Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh, said the trailer was packed with ‘over the top, melodramatic nonsense’.
He said: ‘The Queen and the Royal Family are not the Corleone family of Windsor. There are no hit men or heavies going around silencing people. Meghan, whilst a working royal, was always protected by a team of Scotland Yard officers. Thankfully, she was never in danger physically and Harry knows that. Talk of being “silenced” is just ridiculous. It suits a narrative, I suppose, but at what cost to the Queen, Prince Philip and the Royal Family and our reputation as a country’.
On the late decision to extend the show, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘An extra 30 minutes could be scary for the Palace. Was this because Harry and Meghan were angry at having their patronages removed or had it always been planned? The interview with Oprah will determine their future relations with the royal family for the foreseeable future’.
Another critic tweeted sarcastically: ‘It’s been so unbelievably tough moving into our $11million home, signing huge deals with Netflix and Spotify, and drawing on my huge trust from my Royal lineage. Like if you want a quiet life, go have one, keyword being quiet’.
The extra half-hour of the show will allow CBS to rake in more advertising, with a 30-second prime time slot believed to cost around $200,000. According to Page Six, the Sussexes are not being paid for the Oprah interview, but experts believe it is part of their plan to build a billion-dollar brand in the US after signing mega-deals with Netflix and Spotify worth at least $100million.
The teaser trailer will likely upset Buckingham Palace days amid fears that the interview will be a no-holds barred airing of the feud with her husband’s family. And while it is not clear exactly how Harry compares their treatment to Princess Diana’s, royal experts have already criticised his decision to raise it.
During the trailer a visibly-pregnant Meghan, wearing a $4,700 black Armani dress, says nothing, and is only shown looking emotional while either cradling her baby bump or holding on to her husband’s hand in the garden of their £11million Montecito mansion.
But in a hint that Meghan will not hold back about Harry’s family, Oprah reveals the former actress calls her 20 months as a royal ‘almost unsurvivable’ and the interviewer brands her account ‘shocking’.
Ms Winfrey then tells her friend: ‘It sounds like there was a breaking point,’ before asking the former actress: ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’ Oprah also says to the camera: ‘Just to make it clear to everybody, there is no subject that is off-limits’ in the interview the Sussexes plan to use to boost their popularity in the US and continue their war with the press.
Harry, wearing a smart grey suit and white shirt, also said he was ‘relieved and happy’ to have his wife by his side, hinting he feared that Meghan would suffer the same fate as his mother, who died 23 years ago.
There will be some disquiet at the palace because it has now emerged that Harry has chosen to reference Princess Diana, who died in 1997 in a Paris car crash along with her partner Dodi Fayed.
He tells Ms Winfrey in the 30-second clip: ‘I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago’. He added: ‘Because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us but at least we have each other.’
With days to go until the bombshell interview is broadcast, it also emerged:
- Brand experts believe this could be start of couple’s partnership with Oprah to help them break US and build a $1billion brand;
- Prince Philip, 99, begins a third week in hospital with an infection – believed to be his longest medial admission of his life;
- The ‘Sphinx-like’ Duchess of Sussex maintains an ‘enigmatic’ smile as she speaks to Oprah Winfrey in the first trailer for their bombshell interview in echoes of Princess Diana on Panorama, a body language expert has told MailOnline;
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Prince Harry reveals his ‘biggest fear was history repeating itself’ in new teaser for bombshell sit down interview with Oprah
Prince Harry appears to fear that Meghan could suffer the same fate as his mother Princess Diana
Sitting down with Meghan alone, Oprah asks her in the first teaser: ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’
CBS’ Gayle King claimed this sit-down with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is ‘the best Oprah has ever done’, and it has now been decided to extend it from 90-minutes to two hours
Pregnant Meghan Markle cradles her baby bump in trailer for bombshell Oprah interview – but remains quiet as TV mogul probes her about ‘un-survivable’ royal life, and asks if she was ‘silenced’ by palace
Sitting down with Meghan alone, Oprah asks her, ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’ in what appears to be a question about the Duchess’ relationship with the Royal Family
Pregnant Meghan Markle proudly cradled her baby bump while showing off her growing stomach in a teaser trailer for her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey – her most high-profile appearance since she and Prince Harry revealed they are expecting their second child later this year.
The 39-year-old emphasized her blossoming baby bump in a $4,700 black Armani dress, which was belted above her stomach and featured floral embroidery over one shoulder. She paired the look with some simple heels from designer Aquazurra and wore a necklace from sustainable designer Pippa Small.
Meghan placed a hand on her bump while fielding questions from 67-year-old TV mogul Oprah – who asked her about her brief time as a royal, and her decision to quit palace life with her husband last year.
Meghan says nothing in either of the short teaser clips that have been released, however Oprah’s line of questioning makes clear the sensitive topics that will be covered – some, if not all of which will likely send fears through the palace over what potentially-uncomfortable revelations may come to light during the primetime sit-down.
In what could be seen as a warning to the Royal Family, Oprah reminds viewers that ‘there is no subject that is off limits’ while sitting opposite the former Suits star, who simply nods her head in agreement with the bold statement.
Oprah then asks a somber-looking Meghan: ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’ in what appears to be another jab at the Royal Family – this time over the palace’s treatment of the Duchess.
Later in the interview, Oprah refers to comments Meghan appears to have made about life in the Royal Family being ‘almost un-survivable.’
It came days after Harry’s 17-minute interview with his friend James Corden on the Late Late Show last week.
On that show Duke of Sussex said the move to California last year was about ‘stepping back rather than stepping down’ as royals. The Duchess of Sussex also made a brief appearance on the show during a FaceTime call, revealing her pet name for Harry is ‘Haz’, while her husband calls her ‘Meg’ throughout and reveals that his grandmother bought their son Archie a waffle maker for Christmas.
There is already tension between Harry and his family after their ‘horribly disrespectful’ swipe at The Queen after she took away their patronages, telling Her Majesty that ‘service is universal’, left Prince William and courtiers furious.
The way the couple blindsided the Palace and the Queen with the Oprah deal also sparked anger and prompted the announcement that they would lose their royal patronages.
In a second, 30-second teaser posted Sunday, Harry said he was ‘relieved’ to be opening up with Meghan by his side – and said he can’t imagine what his mother went through ‘going through this process by herself. Oprah’s with Prince Harry and Meghan is scheduled to air on CBS at 8pm on March 7.
Oprah called her interview with the royal couple ‘the best she has ever done’, according to her best friend Gayle King.
King, 66, who is an anchor for CBS, made the comments on This Morning on Friday while reporting on the Duke of Sussex’s appearance on James Corden’s Late Late Show.
King said the interview with Oprah, which was filmed before Harry’s appearance with Corden, is the couple’s ‘first major broadcast interview since giving up their senior royal duties.’
‘I’ve heard from reliable sources, this is Oprah talking, that it’s the best interview she’s ever done so I’m curious. That’s saying something,’ King said.
King revealed on February 16 that Oprah had been given permission to ask Harry and Meghan ‘anything she wanted’ and that ‘nothing was off limits’ during the interview.
News of the interview likely sparked fresh fears for Buckingham Palace over what embarrassing revelations could come to light – particularly in the wake of the Queen’s decision to remove the couple’s remaining royal patronages and honorary titles, a move that prompted the Sussexes to bite back in a petty public statement.
On Monday, it was revealed that the Queen address the UK in a pre-recorded speech that will air on BBC One before the interview with Harry and Meghan.
The Queen was due to attend the annual Commonwealth Service on March 8 – but this has been cancelled for the first time in nearly half a century due to COVID-19, Westminster Abbey announced on Monday.
Instead, the Queen has chosen to share her annual message 24 hours earlier with a show of support from Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
The Royal Family will also take part in the Queen’s A Celebration For Commonwealth Day show, hosted by Anita Rani to share their royal perspectives on the importance of Britain’s Commonwealth links.
On Monday, it also emerged that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s incendiary interview with Oprah may have to be re-edited or even partially re-shot due to the rift it has caused with the royals and 99-year-old Prince Philip’s hospitalization.
Some previously claimed that the interview, believed to be completed two weeks, could even be toned down – though new trailers show that seems unlikely.
Harry’s decision to mention his mother and any suggestion by the couple they were silenced is likely to cause upset with the Royal Family
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were pictured holding hands in the interview while discussing their decision to leave the Royal Family
Buckingham Palace previously announced that Harry and Meghan had been stripped of their remaining roles following their move to California
Where can I watch Meghan and Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey next Sunday?
The TV interview of the year so far involving the Sussexes will air on Sunday night in the US.
CBS will broadcast the show at 8pm EST – and revealed today that it will now be two hours instead of 90 minutes. This is at 1am in the UK.
A UK broadcaster is expected to show it in full in the following week or so – but no deal has been announced yet.
Harry and Meghan’s ‘tell-all’ with Oprah has sparked a bidding war for the UK rights, with ITV said to be the front runner.
The programme, which is likely to make uncomfortable viewing for the Royal Family, will be broadcast on CBS in the US on the evening of March 7.
Confirmation that it is also likely to be aired in Britain, probably the following day, will not go down well at Buckingham Palace, who were kept in the dark by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about their plans.
A source close to the couple, who last week confirmed they had fully quit as working royals, said they would be ‘speaking their truth’.
Channel 5 and Channel 4 are said to be vying with ITV for the rights. The BBC and Sky are believed not to be bidding.
It has also emerged that Meghan is expected to speak about the feud with her own family on her father Thomas’ side in the interview with Oprah.
This Morning host Holly Willoughby said that Oprah’s team had been in contact with ITV for footage of an interview with her half-sister.
In the January 2020 broadcast Samantha Markle said the former Suits actress and Harry owed her and their father an apology for ‘incredibly wrong, untoward, and shocking’ behavior after the royal wedding in 2018.
‘Oprah Winfrey’s team contacted This Morning requesting footage from our interview with Samantha Markle in preparation for the interview with the Duchess of Sussex,’ Willoughby said on Monday.
She added: ‘So, we don’t know whether or not they used that in the interview, but what we do know is nothing was off limits.’
Insight into the no-holds-barred interview with Oprah has prompted further questions about why Harry and Meghan chose to take part in such an explosive sit-down, in spite of their continued insistence that the media respects their privacy.
Those same questions arose after Harry’s interview with Corden aired – while critics also outrage over his decision to defend Netflix show The Crown, despite its very negative portrayal of his grandmother, parents, and wider members of the family.
Harry, who, along with his wife, inked a very lucrative deal with Netflix last year, told long-time friend Corden that he has watched The Crown, and said that the show is ‘fictional’ but ‘loosely based on the truth’ and captures the feeling of being expected to put ‘duty and service above family and everything else’.
While sitting down for the widely-publicized interview, which partly took place on an open-air double-decker bus in Los Angeles, Harry hit out at the ‘toxic’ media – blaming the press for his decision to quit the UK and relocate to the US.
The Duke said the pressure of being in London was ‘destroying my mental health’, but insisted that he never ‘walked away’ from the royals – instead describing the move as a ‘step back’.
‘It was never walking away. It was stepping back rather than stepping down. It was a really difficult environment, which I think a lot of people saw. So I did what any father or husband would do and thought: ‘How do I get my family out of there?’ But we never walked away.’
And while the interview was carried out before the Queen stripped the Sussexes of their royal patronages, Harry appears to know what was coming.
‘My life is public service, so wherever I am in the world it’s going to be the same thing. As far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side [in Britain], I will never walk away,’ he said.
Let the battle commence: Gayle’s comments about Oprah’s interview were made just hours after James Corden’s sit-down with Prince Harry aired on CBS
The Archewell website had featured this picture of a young Prince Harry sitting on the shoulders of Princess Diana, taken at Highgrove in Gloucestershire in July 1986
Opulent for Oprah! Meghan Markle stuns in £3,300 Armani floor-length black gown for interview
Pregnant Meghan Markle, 39, could be seen proudly cradling her baby bump in a teaser trailer for her discussion with the media mogul which is her most high-profile appearance since she and Prince Harry, 36, revealed they are expecting their second child later this year.
The Duchess showed off her growing stomach in the £3,300 dress for the interview, which was belted above her stomach and featured floral embroidery over one shoulder.
Meanwhile she paid tribute to her late mother-in-law by borrowing a dazzling diamond tennis Cartier bracelet from Princess Diana‘s jewellery collection, which retails for an eye-watering £17,700.
The Duchess is known for her love of designer brands, and her first maternity wardrobe is believed to have cost over half a million pounds. It was further boosted by decadent jewellery, which adds financial value to several of her outfits.
Meghan Markle, 39, pulled out all the stops as she donned an Armani dress and thousands of pounds worth for her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey
The Duchess of Sussex wore a sweeping floor length gown from Armani as she sat down with the Duke and Oprah for the interview
Meghan Markle’s ‘enigmatic’ smile in response to Oprah’s explosive questions echoes Princess Diana’s Panorama interview while her gestures show she’s ‘protective’ of Prince Harry, body language expert claims
The ‘Sphinx-like’ Duchess of Sussex maintains an ‘enigmatic’ smile as she speaks to Oprah Winfrey in the first trailer for their bombshell interview in echoes of Princess Diana on Panorama, a body language expert has claimed.
During the 30-second trailer, Meghan Markle, 36, does not speak but is seen smiling slightly in response to Oprah saying ‘no topic was off limits’ for their TV special, which airs this Sunday.
It calls to mind Princess Diana’s behaviour during her 1995 tell-all interview with Martin Bashir, body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL.
The teasers reveal Meghan will discuss what made royal life ‘almost unsurvivable’, and show Oprah asking: ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’ Oprah also says to the camera: ‘Just to make it clear to everybody, there is no subject that is off-limits.’
Elsewhere in the trailer, filmed at the couple’s £12million California manion, Meghan clutches Prince Harry’s hand in a ‘protective’ fashion as he compares their situation to the one faced by his mother and says he fears it would be a case of ‘history repeating itself’.
Here, Judi breaks down the key moments of the TV trailers…
ECHOES OF DIANA
ENIGMATIC SMILE THAT ECHOES DIANA: The ‘Sphinx-like’ Duchess of Sussex maintains an ‘enigmatic’ smile as she speaks to Oprah Winfrey in the first trailer for their bombshell interview in echoes of Princess Diana on Panorama, body language expert Judi James said
DIANA’S BOMBSHELL INTERVIEW: The princess speaks to Martin Bashir on Panorama in 1995
The Duchess of Sussex doesn’t say anything during the interview – but her facial expressions and gestures still convey plenty of meaning, Judi James noted.
At one point Meghan smiles slightly as Oprah, a close friend, says to the camera ‘nothing is off limits’ during their chat.
The moment, which is captured in the trailer, has clear parallels to the way Diana reacted to questioning during her own explosive TV moment: the Panorama interview that aired in November 1995.
However while Diana was clearly racked with sadness as she discussed Prince Charles’s infidelity, Meghan seems more composed.
‘Meghan’s very subtle mouth-smile in response to Oprah’s dramatic claims does throw up hints of Diana’s interview back in the day,’ Judi explained.
‘But while Diana’s sadness was etched on her face, Meghan’s expressions looks far more enigmatic here.’
However the sneak peek suggests Meghan will not hold back on the night.
REGAL AND READY TO TALK
POISED: The Duchess of Sussex was confident and ready for Oprah’s questions, Judi noted
‘Meghan’s poise here looks regal and suggests confidence, rather than anything more defensive and wary.
‘Her back is straight and she sits central in her chair and we can see both arms splayed in a pit-bare gesture to suggest feelings of self-control rather than any self-diminishing or barrier rituals to hint she might have felt the questions were getting beyond her here.’
It suggests Meghan was well prepared for the questions coming her way.
MEGHAN, THE SILENT MOVIE STAR
SILENT: With the sinister-sounding music swirling about their heads to build up the drama, Meghan is presented as a silent movie star, Judi noted – although revelations are promised
HIDDEN EMOTIONS: The Duchess of Sussex doesn’t speak in the trailers, released yesterday
‘With the sinister-sounding music swirling about their heads to build up the drama, Meghan is presented as a silent movie star here with only a few meagre crumbs of hints about her verbal and emotional input,’ Judi said.
‘Oprah is in full-on jaw-drop mode though, using terms like “silenced” and “unsurvivable” while Meghan sits, sphinx-like and beautiful, with only a head-tilt and small swallow suggesting depth of emotion in terms of her responses.’
PROTECTIVE OF PRINCE HARRY
PROTECTIVE OF HARRY: Harry’s hand looks balled into a fist beneath Meghan’s reassuring hand. The Duchess of Sussex also keeps a hand resting on her baby bump
Judi continued: ‘Meghan looks protective of Harry though and the way that she cradles her baby bump with one hand (also displaying her wedding band) and places her left hand on top of Harry’s when he joins her suggests she is keen to protect both.’
‘Harry sits across his seat in a way that suggest he is keen to talk, but his air of awkwardness is in contrast to his wife’s poise. His hand looks balled into a fist beneath Meghan’s reassuring hand and his free hand is placed between his legs in a “fig-leaf” pose, suggesting a very basic desire to form a protective barrier.’
NO MORE PLAYFUL ‘HAZ’
AWKWARD: Prince Harry looks far less comfortable than Meghan in front of the camera
WORLDS APART: The behaviour is far removed from the light-hearted goofiness seen in his interview with James Corden last week
Meanwhile the Duke of Sussex’s serious expression is worlds apart from the light-hearted goofiness he demonstrated during his interview on the Late Late Show With James Corden, which aired last week.
Judi added: ‘After seeing Harry living his best life recently, sitting barefoot on the grass with Meghan or rapping and exchanging banter with James Corden, the body language in this clip suggests a complete change of mood, with the comical ‘Haz’ swapped for a man sitting on all sorts of anguish and even fear related to the fate of his beloved mother and worries about history repeating itself.’
Is Harry and Meghan’s rebrand a swipe at the palace? New Archewell logo features the word ‘service’ after Queen said their multi-million dollar US media career was not compatible with life of public service
Harry and Meghan rebranded their website yesterday in the build-up to their Oprah Winfrey interview – with a defiant new swipe at Buckingham Palace.
The pair dropped a photograph of Princess Diana and their ‘Letter for 2021’ from the home page of their Archewell website, and replaced them with a lofty new mission statement.
The Archewell logo was also updated, to include the words ‘Service. Compassion. Action. Community.’
The couple’s prominent use of the word ‘Service’ is likely to raise eyebrows at Buckingham Palace, following a row over whether the Sussexes could continue a life of public service after their decision to quit as working royals.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, are preparing for a ‘tell-all’ interview with chatshow host Oprah Winfrey to be shown in the US next Sunday. It is likely to be broadcast on ITV in Britain a day later.
The Sussexes have updated their Archewell website, swapping an image of Prince Harry’s late mother with a picture of the couple volunteering in California (pictured now)
The Sussexes have updated their Archewell website, swapping an image of Prince Harry’s late mother with a picture of the couple volunteering in California (pictured now)
In December last year the pair launched the website of their non-profit organisation, in which they vowed to ‘unleash the power of compassion’ and Harry described himself as his ‘mother’s son’ (pictured in December)
The site still plugs the couple’s commercial ventures – Archewell Audio, the brand they have chosen for their £30m podcasting deal with Spotify. Pictured, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their California home
Sussexes ditch letter about Diana for mission statement
Letter shared 31 December:
A Letter for 2021
I am my mother’s son. And I am our son’s mother.
Together we bring you Archewell.
We believe in the best of humanity. Because we have seen the best of humanity.
We have experienced compassion and kindness, From our mothers and strangers alike.
In the face of fear, struggle and pain, It can be easy to lose sight of this.
Together, we can choose courage, healing, and connection. Together, we can choose to put compassion in action.
We invite you to join us.
As we work to build a better world, One act of compassion at a time.
Harry and Meghan
February 2021 update:
Welcome to Archewell. Through our non-profit work, as well as creative activations, we drive systemic cultural change across all communities, one act of compassion at a time.
The 90-minute chat is expected to focus on Meghan’s experiences as a member of the Royal Family, including why she and Harry decided to quit and make a new life for themselves and son Archie in the US, where they have signed lucrative media contracts with the likes of Netflix and Spotify.
Their updated Archewell website outlined their aims for their non-profit work in a mission statement written in the ‘woke’ language of their new home in California.
It said: ‘Welcome to Archewell. Through our non-profit work, as well as creative activations, we drive systemic cultural change across all communities, one act of compassion at a time.’
The home page previously featured photographs of Harry and Meghan as children with their mothers.
Those images have been replaced with a single picture of the Sussexes handing out supplies for low-income families at a charity event in Los Angeles last year.
A lengthy message, entitled ‘A Letter for 2021’, was also removed from the home page.
The message started with the words ‘I am my mother’s son’ and urged the couple’s supporters to help them ‘work to build a better world’.
The couple, who are expecting their second child later this year, have insisted they will continue to ‘live a life of service’ outside the Royal Family.
When it was announced they would not be returning to royal duties, Buckingham Palace said their new life meant they could not continue ‘the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service’.
The Queen is understood to have told the couple that their commercial careers were incompatible with the impartiality required of those in public service, but insisted they remained ‘much loved members of the family’.
The pair issued an immediate response, saying: ‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’
Their interview for US TV is likely to be one of the most-watched programs this year.
According to a close friend, Meghan declared ‘nothing is off limits’ for the show, entitled Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special.
The photo of Prince Harry and his mother was replaced by this photo of the Duke and Meghan volunteering with Baby2Baby at Dr Owen Lloyd Knox Elementary School in LA last August
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, appeared alongside the Duke, 36, in a 20-second video to plug their Archewell Audio podcast at a Spotify live stream event broadcast earlier this week
Last week Harry took a fresh swipe at the Royal Family when he insisted he had not walked away from royal duties.
The sixth in line to the throne appeared in a 17-minute skit with friend and TV host James Corden on the US entertainment programme, The Late Late Show.
It came as Prince Philip spent a second weekend in hospital battling an infection. The Duke of Edinburgh has been in London’s King Edward VII hospital for 13 nights.
In a segment filmed before he and wife Meghan confirmed they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family, Harry joined James Corden for a double-decker bus tour of Los Angeles where he broke his silence on quitting as a royal
The friends video call Meghan, who in response to Corden’s suggestion they buy the Fresh Prince’s house, quipped ‘I think we’ve done enough moving’ and reveals she calls her husband ‘Haz’