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The BIG Drive Home

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Harry and Meghan: The celebrities and influential figures who make up their LA inner circle

Written by on 8 March 2021

Prince Harry and Meghan have given an explosive tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey, opening up about racism concerns, suicidal thoughts and Royal Family rifts.

The two-hour prime-time interview with the US chat host – where “no subject is off limits” – has given the couple their chance to tell their story and left many reeling from the unexpected revelations.

As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex admit they walked away from life as senior royals because they felt “trapped”, we look at the network of famous and influential figures they’ve got on speed dial now they’ve built a new life in the US.

Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey will air on Sunday Pic: CBS Image: Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview has made headlines across the world. Pic: CBS

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

While the Royal Family remain staunchly apolitical, Prince Harry and Meghan’s departure from “The Firm” has allowed them freedom to have a more friendly relationship with political movers and shakers.

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill, walk out for the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Pic: AP Image: President Joe Biden and his wife Jill have known Harry for quite some time. Pic: AP

Harry’s past work on military issues bought him into close contact with the Bidens, and First Lady Dr Jill Biden has been a supporter of the prince’s charity work since meeting him in 2013 during the his visit to Washington DC.

Harry sat with the Bidens at the Invictus Games in Orlando in 2016 – with Joe Biden joking that his wife “spent too much damn time with Prince Harry”, and again at the event in Toronto in 2017 – the event the couple first made their relationship public.

The Obamas

Like Harry and Meghan, Barack and Michelle have deals with Netflix and Spotify Image: Like Harry and Meghan, Barack and Michelle have deals with Netflix and Spotify

The former president and first lady are firm friends with Harry and Meghan, despite being left off the royal wedding invite back in 2018, as no political leaders were allowed.

Barack and Michelle’s production deal with Netflix in 2018 may well have inspired The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Netflix agreement to create documentaries, feature films and other shows just last year.

And as the Sussexes announced another partnership, this time with Spotify, late last year, Mr Obama has followed suit teaming up with rocker Bruce Springsteen to host his own podcast series too.

Hillary Clinton

She got to meet baby Archie for cuddles at Frogmore Cottage when he was just six months old and has previously condemned “racist and sexist” treatment of Meghan.

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a concession speech after being defeated by Republican president-elect Donald Trump in New York on November 9, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images) Image: Hillary Clinton visited Archie at Frogmore Cottage. Jewel Samed/AFP

During their time in the royal household, Harry and Meghan also hired Mrs Clinton’s former campaign adviser, Sara Latham, to head their communications team.

Serena Williams

A long-time friend of Meghan’s, the Grand Slam tennis star has always been quick to support the duchess over the years.

Pic: Associated Press Image: Serena Williams has known Meghan for over 10 years. Pic: Associated Press

The 39-year-old athlete met Meghan at a Super Bowl party in 2010, with Meghan writing on her former blog, The Tig, at the time that they bonded over “good old-fashioned girly stuff”.

Williams, who was one of the guests at Meghan’s wedding to Harry in 2018, tweeted shortly after Oprah’s interview aired in the US, paying tribute to her “selfless friend”.

The Clooneys

George and Amal Clooney shared suppers and convivial evenings with Harry and Meghan when they lived in the UK, while the couple lived at Frogmore Cottage.

George and Amal Clooney were at the royal wedding. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Image: George and Amal Clooney were at the royal wedding. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

During their time in the US the actor and human rights lawyer have been advocates of the royal couple, with George in particular often defending Meghan to the media.

The 59-year-old star also shares a birthday with baby Archie but has denied he’s one of the toddler’s godfathers after much speculation.

Oprah Winfrey

The chat show queen of course scooped the exclusive interview with the couple that every late-night host was clamouring for.

Oprah Winfrey at Harry and Meghan's wedding in May 2018 Image: Oprah Winfrey at Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May 2018

A guest at their wedding too, Meghan has said she was previously banned from talking to Oprah by royal aides and has said the chance to now speak freely is “liberating”.

As well as being a personal friend, Oprah is also working with Harry on an Apple TV+ series looking at mental health.

BRITS ABROAD

James Corden

James Corden interviewed Harry from the top deck of an open top bus in the run up to the Oprah interview – in something of a PG warm-up for the main event.

James Corden and Prince Harry toured LA on an open air bus with afternoon tea Image: James Corden and Harry toured LA on an open air bus

In the candid Late Late Show chat, the prince told the Gavin And Stacey funnyman turned US late-night TV star the British press was “toxic” and said it was “destroying” his mental health.

Corden also attended the royal wedding with his wife Julia and emceed at the after-party.

Elton John

Sir Elton and his partner David Furnish were among the guests at the royal wedding, and they’ve since lent the couple their private jet for a stay at their home in Nice.

Sir Elton was one of Archewell Audio's first guests. Pic: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello Image: Sir Elton was one of Archewell Audio’s first guests. Pic: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

The Rocketman singer also appeared on first episode of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new podcast Archewell Audio, opening up about 2020 being “the worst year” he’d ever known.

BFFs

Jessica Mulroney

Fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney is said to have helped Meghan organise her royal wedding and, along with her husband, Ben, she reportedly helped the couple find privacy when they were first dating.

Jessica Mulroney with her children. Pic: Instagram Image: Jessica Mulroney with her children. Pic: Instagram

After recent bullying allegations made against the duchess during her time as a working royal, Mulroney has liked various social media posts defending her friend.

Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee starred in the musical Waitress. Pic: AP Image: Katharine McPhee starred in the musical Waitress. Pic: AP

A school friend of Meghan’s, actress and singer Katharine McPhee is married to David Foster, a music producer who reportedly helped the couple find the hideaway the couple stayed in in Canada with baby Archie over Christmas last year.

Misha Nonoo

The fashion designer helped Meghan with her wardrobe during her Suits days and also reportedly set her up with Harry.

The Duchess of Sussex (right) hugs designer Misha Nonoo at the launch the Smart Works capsule collection at John Lewis in Oxford Street, London. Image: Misha Nonoo is rumoured to have introduced the couple

Nonoo, who grew up in Bahrain and London, heads a fashion label specialising in minimalist designs. She was previously married to Alexander Gilkes, an old Etonian and friend of Harry.

Janina Gavankar

An actress who appeared in The Morning Show alongside Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, who has been friends with Meghan for 17 years.

Actress Janina Gavankar has defended Meghan. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Image: Actress Janina Gavankar has defended Meghan. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

She also took the cute photo of the couple and baby Archie which featured on their Christmas card in 2019.

She’s jumped to Meghan’s defence on social media in recent weeks, calling her friend “kind, strong and open”.

Priyanka Chopra

The actresses reportedly met at Meghan an Elle magazine dinner in the US in 2016 and have been friends ever since.

Priyanka Chopra met Meghan five years ago. Pic: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP Image: Priyanka Chopra met Meghan five years ago. Pic: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

She was a guest at the royal wedding and is said to have visited Meghan not long after Archie’s birth.

While Meghan and Harry didn’t attend Chopra’s wedding to singer Nick Jonas later that same year, the couples are still said to be friends.

Gayle King

The award-winning journalist – who is best friends with Oprah – is said to have helped set up the show stopping interview.

Gayle King helped organise the exclusive chat. Pic: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Image: Gayle King helped organise the exclusive chat. Pic: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

As well as being close to the queen of chat, the CBS news anchor and host is also a good friend of Meghan.

She was among the select number of guests at Archie’s baby shower and also covered the royal wedding, sharing behind-the-scenes images on Instagram.

Daniel Martin

The man responsible for Meghan’s glowing look on her big day, make-up artist Daniel Martin said she was the most “chill person” ahead of the celebrations and that they didn’t even have a trial.

He has been vocal in supporting the duchess against accusations of bullying during her time as a senior royal, posting photos, messages and even poems on his social media pages defending her against the claims.

Markus Anderson

The director of the exclusive Soho House in Toronto, he attended Meghan’s baby shower in New York and is said to have been a friend for years.

Markus Anderson with Izzy May at Harry and Meghan's wedding Image: Markus Anderson with Izzy May at Harry and Meghan’s wedding

Heather Dorak

Pilates instructor Heather Dorak has been friends with Meghan for more than 10 years and has pictures of the pair on her Instagram account before Meghan joined the Royal Family.

SUITS REUNITED

Patrick J Adams

The Suits star – who played Meghan’s on-screen husband Mike Ross during her time playing paralegal Rachel Zane – has been quick to defend his former colleague and speak out against the Royal Family.

Patrick J Adams called Buckingham Palace “bankrupt of decency” in a long thread on Twitter, going on to accuse the royals of being “archaic and toxic”.

Meghan (then) Markle and Patrick J Adams as Rachel Zane and Mike Ross in Suits Image: Meghan and Patrick J Adams as Rachel Zane and Mike Ross in Suits

The actor was one of the guests at the royal wedding, along with fellow Suits actors Gina Torres, Sarah Rafferty, Gabriel Macht, Rick Hoffman and Abigail Spencer.

Meghan’s royal status was given a cheeky nod in the 2019 series of the show, when Mike asked how his wife was doing. “If I told you how good, you probably wouldn’t believe me,” he replied.

Suits tweeted a clip of the episode, with the caption: “Turns out Rachel is doing REALLY well.”

The duchess retired from acting after announcing her engagement to Prince Harry.

BRAND SUSSEX

When it comes to PR and business, the royal couple have been quick to build up their own brand.

Meghan’s close friend Izzy May is the UK publicist for David Beckham, and rumoured to be one of Archie’s godparents.

The former Freuds and Burberry communications consultant bagged a prime position at the royal wedding, sitting in the second row just behind Serena Williams, Oprah Winfrey and George and Amal Clooney.

There’s also Keleigh Thomas Morgan, a partner at the Hollywood PR agency, Sunshine Sachs, who represented Meghan while she was working as an actress and now represents the duke and duchess in LA.

When it comes to branding, former entertainment lawyer Benita Litt is also a valuable asset.

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Meghan is godmother to her daughters, Rylan and Remi, who were bridesmaids at the royal wedding.

There’s also Ryan Sax, who helped design The Tig, and social media expert David Watkins, who runs the @Sussex Royal Instagram account, which has over 10 million followers.

Harry and Meghan’s interview will air at 9pm on ITV on Monday 8 March for UK audiences and at 9:30pm on RTE for viewers in Ireland.

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