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Meghan and Harry interview: Dignified silence from Royal Family isn’t enough to shut this one down

Written by on 9 March 2021

All day we’d been talking about it, but it was only at 9pm on Monday that a mass UK audience got to see that Oprah interview for the first time.

The moment that the Royal Family was exposed from within.

Harry and Meghan accusing the firm of being unsupportive, uncaring and at worst racist.

Watching parts of Meghan’s compelling and at times jaw-dropping conversation with Oprah for a second time, I was left wondering if this was newcomer legitimately lifting the lid on what challenges the institution still has to overcome if it’s to be truly modern?

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Meghan claims Archie’s skin colour was discussed

Or was this a woman who’d been made to feel like an outsider who had scores to settle?

That is one of the fascinating aspects of the impact of this interview, and the whole narrative around the Sussexes since they announced they wanted to step back. Even before the interview many had either opted for Team Sussex or Team Windsor.

I’ll watch with interest to see if the interview in any way shifts the sympathy scales towards Harry and Meghan.

It won’t be easy to win over some here in the UK where ever since they announced they wanted to be financially independent there has been a sensitivity to any snubs or potential signs of disrespect towards the Queen.

No matter how heartfelt Meghan’s testimony, there are those who see their decision to speak out as another step too far.

Meghan during her interview with Oprah. Pic: CBS Image: Meghan during her interview with Oprah. Pic: CBS

But for Harry and Meghan I’m not sure that really matters anymore. Britain isn’t the be all and end all. They see themselves as a global couple and this was designed to resonate with an international and primarily American audience.

With even President Joe Biden saying how brave Meghan was to speak out, it appears to have had the desired effect.

It was Meghan who delivered the killer lines.

First revealing that they’d faced questions from within the family about the colour of Archie’s skin before he was born, but also making some troubling admissions about her own mental health, saying that she contemplated suicide because she felt unprotected and alone.

It is primarily those lines from Meghan that have led to the strongly worded headlines in the newspapers, words like “crisis” and “turmoil” and “emergency”, a sign of the repercussions.

Those more serious allegations and the questions they raise are increasingly difficult for the monarchy not to answer. We do need to split the personal family dynamics from the family business.

It’s one thing them falling out as relatives but what does this tell us about what is acceptable within one of the UK’s most powerful institutions?

You just need to look at the last year to see how influential the Royal Family has been during the pandemic, setting the right example on everything from lockdown working to having the vaccination. What they stand for matters.

These latest claims could potentially undermine work they have done in the diversity sphere or as cheerleaders promoting better mental health support.

This is of course Harry and Meghan’s word against theirs, but this time it feels like a dignified silence from the rest of the Royal Family isn’t enough to shut this one down.