Harry and Meghan interview: How the UK papers reacted
The nation’s papers are awash with fallout from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Oprah Winfrey interview, watched by millions across the world.
The two-hour special was broadcast in the US in the early hours of Monday and on British TV on Monday evening, with the Sussexes covering mental health struggles, their wedding and relationship with the royal family.
In a front page opinion piece, Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson says the interview represented a “devastating insult” to the Queen which would not only affect the royal family but could destabilise the Commonwealth.
She wrote: “Above all, many of us will have felt the insult to the Queen. However loudly Harry and Meghan may have proclaimed their affection for the monarch there is no question that their interview was a devastating act of lese-majeste. The couple unleashed demons which could destabilise her beloved Commonwealth and threaten the future of the monarchy itself.
“Harry once reportedly said: What Meghan wants Meghan gets. But is this really what she wanted?”
Describing a “weird, reeling ride of an interview”, Ms Pearson said its timing – with the Duke of Edinburgh in hospital – made it look “vengeful, self-absorbed and attention-seeking”.
She also chided the couple for highlighting their son would not be called a prince, saying this was in line with royal protocol but “Meghan and Harry can spot a personal slight from outer space”.
The Daily Mail follows a similar theme, carrying the pointed headline: “What have they done?”
The paper’s royal editor Rebecca English said the “bombshell” interview left Buckingham Palace “paralysed with ‘horror and dismay’, adding: “The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William were all locked in crisis talks over how to react to a string of incendiary accusations unleashed by Harry and wife Meghan during (the) two-hour special”.
Meanwhile Daily Express columnist Stephen Pollard criticised the Sussexes for electing to air their grievances on “prime time TV”.
He compared the interview with the Queen’s earlier Commonwealth address, writing: “Meghan and Harry took to the airwaves for a two-hour long interview in which they spoke about themselves, their feelings and their wishes to the exclusion of all else.”
A number of other papers chose to focus on the impact of Meghan’s racism claims, which The Guardian called “devastating”.
A leading article in The Times said the racism allegation “could hardly be more damaging to the royal family”.
It read: “The implication that the monarchy is racist could hardly be more damaging to an institution that relies for its legitimacy on its claim to represent the whole of modern Britain.
“The problem for the royal family is that there is little they could say by way of explanation or mitigation that would not risk making the situation worse.”
And The Sun dedicated its front page to demanding the identity of the unnamed senior royal who allegedly made a racist comment about the Sussexes’ then unborn son be revealed.
An editorial in the paper asked: “Did they keep this incendiary charge vague and anonymous to make it impossible to counter?
“In doing so they have smeared Harry’s entire family. Exonerating the Queen and Philip merely amplifies the injustice to the others.”