Oprah Winfrey has opened up about the impact of her bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, insisting she had ‘no idea’ that it would ‘reverberate’ the way it did — while admitting she was ‘surprised’ that the Duchess of Sussex ‘went all the way there’ with allegations of racism against the royal family.
The 67-year-old mogul discussed the secrecy around the interview with Nancy O’Dell this week, stressing how important it was that nothing leaked before it aired on CBS so that no clip could be ‘exploited.’
But while she confessed that she was ‘surprised’ by how forthcoming the couple was, she said it makes sense that the interview was so ‘powerful’ because Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, ‘wanted to be able to tell their story and tell it in such a way that allowed them to be as truthful as possible.’
Shocking! Oprah Winfrey says she was ‘surprised’ by how forthcoming Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were during their interview
Praise: She credits the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for being ‘willing to be as open, as vulnerable, as truthful, as they were’
Oprah reflected on the interview, which has continued to dominate headlines since it aired on March 7, during the launch of Nancy O’Dell’s Channel on talkshoplive, where she was promoting her book ‘What Happened To You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing.’
‘I had no idea that it would have the reverberating impact it has had and continues to have. I did a lot of preparation for that,’ she said.
When asked if she was ‘surprised’ that Harry and Meghan were so open and forthcoming in the interview, Oprah admitted that she was.
In particular, she said, she was shocked when Meghan said that royal family members had had ‘conversations with Harry about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born.’
In the moment, Oprah’s jaw dropped, and she paused for a moment before incredulously responding, ‘What?’ — a reaction that has since become a meme on social media.
‘I’m like, “What? You’re going there? You’re going all the way there,”‘ Oprah said of her thought process at that time.
Oprah said that she had only texted with Harry and Meghan before the actual interview, and her only understanding what they were focused on sharing the truth.
‘Whenever I’m doing interviews with anybody for anything that is significant, I have a conversation with them before,’ she said.
‘I didn’t see Harry and Meghan before but I did text them and say intention is very important to me, tell me what your intention is, so that we can be aligned in our goal. And our shared intention was the truth. They wanted to be able to tell their story and tell it in such a way that allowed them to be as truthful as possible.’
Wow! In particular, she said, she was shocked when Meghan said that royal family members had had ‘conversations with Harry about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born’
Truthful: She said Harry and Meghan ‘wanted to be able to tell their story and tell it in such a way that allowed them to be as truthful as possible’
She continued: ‘The reason why it was such a powerful interview — first of all, I know how to ask questions, and you [Nancy] know how to ask questions, we all know how to do our jobs, but what makes it powerful is when you have someone else who is willing to be as open, as vulnerable, as truthful, as they were,’ she continued.
‘So, I don’t give myself credit for that, I give myself credit for asking the questions, but the reason the interview was what it was, was because they answered the way they did.’
Certainly, the fact that no one knew how much the couple would reveal before the interview actually aired also contributed to its bombshell-like impact.
‘It was really important to me that what we put out there in the world was put out at the time everyone could see it and that things didn’t leak, and things weren’t misconstrued before the actual interview happened,’ Oprah said.
‘So I remember when we finished doing the interview and that interview was 3 hours and 20 minutes I think, and I stood up and said to the crew, we all know what was said here, and how important it is to have the trust of the people who just shared that, and so I’m hoping you all will not go out into the world and share what has happened here. And nobody did.
‘And so, as we were releasing clips to CBS, we were releasing them in such a way that whatever was being put out there could not be exploited. So a lot of time and effort and energy went into it on my part.’
Of the bombshells dropped during the interview, Meghan and Harry’s accusation that a member of his family expressed ‘concern’ over Archie’s skin color was certainly the most shocking.
‘At the time it was awkward. I was a bit shocked,’ said Harry, who refused to share further details about the conversation or with whom he had it.
Reunion: Tensions between the Sussexes and the royal family were understood to have been at an all-time high when Prince Harry returned home to attend Prince Philip’s funeral last week
Making amends: It has since been reported that Harry met the Queen privately ‘at least twice’ during his trip, and that he spoke with his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William
The couple also spoke candidly about Meghan’s struggles with depression, with the Duchess admitting there was a point where ‘I just didn’t want to be alive anymore’ — but though she asked times for professional help, she was told she couldn’t pursue it.
‘I said that, “I’ve never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere.” And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution,’ Meghan said.
Other striking revelations included the Prince Harry’s claim that his father had stopped taking his calls, while Meghan contradicted reports that she had made her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, cry leading up to her wedding — saying it was actually Kate who had made her cry.
Tensions between the Sussexes and the rest of the royal family are understood to have been at an all-time high in recent weeks in the wake of the primetime sit-down – however the rift was said to have been set to one side when Harry traveled to the UK last week to attend the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip.
It has since been reported that Harry met the Queen privately ‘at least twice’ during his trip to the UK, and that he spoke with his father and his brother after the funeral at Windsor Castle on Saturday.
MailOnline’s Dan Wootton first revealed earlier this week that Charles and William preferred to meet with the Duke of Sussex face-to-face together within the grounds of the castle after Prince Philip’s funeral so that nobody’s words could be misconstrued afterwards.
That meeting came after the royal brothers had taken ‘baby steps’ towards healing their fraught relationship while walking back to the Queen’s home from St George’s Chapel after being pushed together by peacemaker Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
O-cash! Oprah also revealed the way she has been silently helping people who have been struggling during the pandemic by mailing out $15,000 checks to individuals
During her interview with Nancy, Oprah also revealed the way she has been silently helping people who have been struggling during the pandemic by mailing out $15,000 checks to individuals.
‘I literally have been, people don’t know this, going through the newspaper finding stories of people who weren’t doing well in their life, sending them money, trying to help because I know I have been blessed,’ she said.
Guilty: Oprah said she ‘was full on into the boo hoo cry’ when she saw people reacting in the streets after Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict
‘I literally, at the beginning of the pandemic last year, sat down and made a list of people who I knew were not going to be working and I sent the maximum amount that the government allows you to give a person, which is $15,000 dollars per person, and saying I know it’s going to be awhile before you’re working let me help you out,’ she went on.
‘I called it my personal pandemic relief package for friends. So, I think it has made me more thoughtful, the more blessed I become the more I think about people who are not and what can I do to help them.’
Oprah also shared her reaction to the guilty verdict handed down in Derek Chauvin’s trial earlier this week.
‘I didn’t watch [the whole trial] because … I didn’t want to have to continue to relive the trauma, because I realized that I had watched the tape too many times,’ she said.
‘I was surprised that hearing the first guilty verdict, I could feel myself welling up, and then I saw photographs of people in the streets. And then I was full on into the boo hoo cry,’ she continued.
‘This feels like it’s more than just for a verdict, it feels like validation, it feels like this time we were seen, we were heard in a way that we hadn’t been.
‘I thought about Emmett Till, I thought about all the names that we have seen, protesters in the street talking about Breonna Taylor, and Mr. Castille. I thought about all of those people who didn’t get justice in the way they deserved and how those lives seem somehow, in this moment, justice was served for all of them by this verdict. It was bigger than this moment’