On Sunday 7 March, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will make their first joint televised appearance since stepping back from the royal family, in a tell-all interview with American TV host Oprah Winfrey, aired on CBS.
The much-teased encounter between Winfrey, a giant of US broadcasting, and the couple comes just a week after the Sussexes confirmed they would not return to The Firm following the year-long transition period, which saw them settle down in Santa Barbara.
A spokesperson for the couple said that Harry and Meghan remain “committed to their duty ”in spite of the move, which also saw the removal of Harry’s military titles and several of their patronages.
Set within this context - the couple also recently won their privacy case against the Mail on Sunday - many have wondered the scope of the Winfrey interview to come. How much will be on the table and what sort of impact will it have?
A 17-minute segment of Prince Harry on the Late, Late Show with fellow British expat, James Corden, released last Friday, gives a flavour of the new California-Sussex style with Harry speaking openly on Archie’s first words, his relationship with his wife, the press, and his thoughts on the family depiction in Netflix’s The Crown.
Meghan was only featured for a brief clip on a FaceTime call with Corden, and as a result the interview with Winfrey is expected to be the chance for her to have her say.
On Monday 1 March, a week ahead of the broadcast, two 30-second clips were shared building the anticipation - with tight edits and Hollywood-style drama, and not a word yet from Meghan just suspenseful silence, forcing viewers to wait for the big night.
So what have we learned so far?
No subject is off limits
Since the interview was announced, Winfrey’s close friend, Gayle King said that no subject was off limits and it was the “best interview” Winfrey has ever done.
But in the teaser we hear straight from the horses’ mouth as Winfrey tells her audience: “I just want to make it clear to everybody there is no subject that is off limits”, to which we see that Meghan nods but any response has been edited out.
Of the two clips that were released, the duchess does not speak in either.
There was a lot to talk about
Previously billed for a 90-minute special, the slot has now been extended to two hours following a review. This means it will now run from 8pm till 10pm EST.
CBS previously said the duchess will be interviewed about a range of subjects, including “stepping into life as a royal, marriage, motherhood” and “how she is handling life under intense public pressure”.
It will be dramatic, but on the terms of the Sussexes
If fans were thinking the royals might disappoint in terms of revelations, the clip shows Winfrey saying: “You’ve said some pretty shocking things here.”
She also asks leading questions such as: “Were you silent or were you silenced?” set to dramatic music and with quick cutaways, and shots of Harry looking anguished.
But as a close personal friend of the couple - Winfrey attended their London wedding in 2018 and sent some books from her book club when Archie was born - Winfrey is not expected to be overly confrontational in her style, instead giving them both the space and platform to open up.
Meghan speaks alone
The channel had announced that the start of the interview would be between only Winfrey and Meghan, with Prince Harry talking in a concluding segment.
The clip confirms that for much of the interview, Meghan is sat alone with Oprah before they invite Harry to join.
This will undoubtedly remind royal fans of the emotional Tom Bradby interview in south Africa in 2019 when Meghan was interviewed without her husband.
They will discuss Diana
In the second snippet, Harry is seen talking about his mother, the late Diana Princess of Wales, who died in 1997.
He says: “For me I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side.
“Because I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago, because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us but at least we had each other.”
They will discuss why they left
The snippet is clipped so viewers see Winfrey describe the situation as “almost unsurvivable” and says: “Sounds like there was a breaking point”.
With Prince Harry also saying his “biggest concern” was “history repeating itself”, with regards to his mother’s treatment at the hands of the press.
Following his interview with James Corden, in which Harry described the media environment in the UK as “toxic” for him and his family and was “destroying [his] mental health”, it is expected there will be further blows dealt to the press and unveiling the extent of situation at home that forced the couple to leave.
It was not filmed at home, but elsewhere
Royal journalist Omid Scobie confirmed that the interview did not take place at the couple’s home in Montecito but at a separate venue in Santa Barbara, California.
The couple are notoriously private about their new home and unlike in previous appearances since stepping down last year, Harry and Meghan did not feature their son, Archie, or their pet dogs in this interview.
Meghan was pregnant during filming
The Oprah episode was announced on 16 February, just two days after the couple announced they were expecting a second child on Valentine’s Day.
In the clip Meghan can clearly be seen cradling a baby bump. Although it is not known when the interview was filmed - it is presumed to have been since mid-February when the pregnancy was made public.
Meghan shared that she had miscarried in July last year. In a personal essay for the New York Times, the duchess described how she had been aware she was “losing her second child” while holding Archie.
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