Name-Calling to Sympathies: How UK Media Covered Meghan-Harry Chat
The couple garnered international headlines and praise from several sections of the society, but not all were kind.
The British media had varied takes on the tell-all-interview of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle with Oprah Winfrey, which aired on CBS, Sunday night, 7 March, in the United States. It is the first time the couple are seen talking about severing ties with the Royal family.
The coverage of the interview ranges from newspaper commentators asking for investigations into the allegations Meghan has raised, one such being of racism by members of the Buckingham Palace, as well as coverage by tabloids who are heavily criticising the couple’s move.
Meghan alleged that senior aides ‘perpetuated falsehoods’ about her, a recurring claim that the aides leaked information to British media as part of a smear campaign, an allegation the Buckingham Palace has denied in the past.
The couple made claims that garnered international headlines and praise from several sections of the society, but not all were kind to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
‘Royal Catch’: The Guardian UK
The edition reported that Harry had “recalled a conversation at a dinner where he was told that it will be hard for the couple because the UK is a bigoted country. He said that he thought British press, rather than the whole country, is bigoted.”
The Guardian’s front page had a photograph of the couple with the headline, “Royal Catch’... Broadcasters Bank On Harry and Meghan Ratings Boost”.
‘We Should Be Ashamed’: The Independent UK
The Independent, a popular E-paper in the UK, published a commentary by Josh Marcus titled ‘We Should Be Ashamed: How People Are Reacting to Meghan and Harry’s Interview With Oprah’, noting the wave of relentless public scrutiny faced by the couple.
The Independent cited reactions from several journalists among others on Twitter and wrote, “There seemed to be a general consensus that the press hadn’t quite gotten it right when covering the royals, allowing the hunger for tabloid drama to demoralise the people they were covering.”
Another piece by Rachel Brodsky was headlined ‘Harry and Meghan Expose a Ruthless, Racist, Anti-Fairytale in Their Primetime Oprah Interview.’
‘Queen Highlights Duty’: Times UK
Times UK, a daily newspaper, had a series of articles on the issue, with one commentary piece by Clare Foges titled, “Harry and Meghan must pay the price of their burnt bridges.”
The article in jest called the interview “the couple’s latest act of compassion towards family and nation,” referring to the couple’s foundation motto of changing the world “one act of compassion at a time.”
“The Sussexes cannot enjoy the perks of royalty while trashing the – it is time to remove their titles,” said the Times UK article.
The print edition focused on the Queen who gave a speech hours before the interview was aired. The story is titled, “Queen highlights duty as Meghan speaks out.” The Daily Express UK had a similar headline for an article saying, “Queen: Duty And Family Unite Us.”
‘Strip Them of Their Titles’: Daily Mail UK
Tabloids in the media took on a harsher tone calling on experts to critique the couple. Daily Mail UK, the country’s highest circulating tabloid, had a headline which seemed to hammer the couple for choosing financial independence – “Back to basics' at their $14.5million mansion.”
Another story on the digital edition was titled, “Meghan makes sensational claim that Royals banned Archie from being a Prince because of concerns over how 'DARK' he would be and told her he would get no police protection but Harry refuses to reveal who made racist remark.”
The front page of the Daily Mail read, “As royals face fallout from Meghan and Harry’s bombshell interview, Queen tells Commonwealth what real service is. Duty Means Everything”.
The tabloid prominently featured stories which called for stripping of the royal titles like, “Now strip them of their titles: British viewers call on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to lose Duke and Duchess rank for being ‘disrespectful’ to the Queen during bombshell Oprah interview.”
‘MEGXILE May Never Return After Oprah Bombshell’: The Sun
UK Tabloid The Sun had several articles snubbing the American actress, one titled, “MEGXILE Meghan Markle may never return to Britain after angering Royal Family with bombshell Oprah interview”.
The tabloid coined ‘MEGXILE’, an adaptation of an earlier nickname British media put on her for leaving the Royal family, which was ‘MEGXIT’ – a play on the UK Brexit.
The article labelled the interview as “whingey teasers,” and had a contradictory approach to the concerns Meghan raised, having quotes from royal staff calling Prince Harry as “Meghan Markle’s hostage,” and claims that Palace staff have dubbed the conversation as “Moperah.”
The article did not address Meghan’s concerns, but rather raised controversies that Meghan has been associated with, such as 2018 accusations of Markle bullying palace staff, claims that say Meghan “went mental” during a party at Sandringham for Prince Harry’s friends, and generally depicted allegations showing Meghan as a ‘woman who gets furious over blankets not being the correct shade of red’, and being ‘genuinely unkind’.
What Meghan Said
In the tell-all interview with Oprah, Meghan, who is a bi-racial, described as to how the Royal family was concerned that her son Archie might be born with 'dark' skin tone. Meghan added that it was hard for her to understand why there were concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin tone.
Meghan describes feeling suicidal during her first pregnancy with Archie, and admitted to feeling lonely and not having the support she needed from the Royal family, whom she referred to as “The Firm”.
“I just didn’t see a solution. I just didn’t see a solution. I would sit up at night, and I was just, like, I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out (by the British Press). I was really ashamed to say it at the time, and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry especially, because I know how much loss he has suffered. But I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it – and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. That was a very clear and real and frightening, constant thought,” she said to Oprah.
Meghan and Harry, who is Queen Elizabeth II's grandson, quit frontline royal duties in March last year and now live in California.
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