Meghan Markle and Harry: Expert on public reaction to interview
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Meghan and Harry sent shockwaves around the world by taking part in a tell-all interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey. More than 11 million people in the UK tuned in on ITV on March 8 to watch the couple launch an astonishing attack on the Royal Family.
The fallout from the interview filled prime time news slots for several days – including the taxpayer-funded BBC news.
This sparked a major backlash from viewers of the BBC and many voiced their frustration at the “relentless coverage”.
A spokesperson for BBC News has defended its coverage of the event and said Meghan and Harry’s interview was a “matter of high public interest” and its output was “proportionate”.
He added: “The interview given by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Oprah Winfrey was in itself a news story because members of the Royal Family rarely speak publicly and in-depth.
“Its content sparked wider conversations about racism, mental health, the role of the Royal Family and the media.
“Our coverage reflected duly impartially and accurately what the couple said and the reaction to it.
“The institution of the monarchy and how it develops is a matter of high public interest and we are confident our coverage was proportionate given the significance of the interview.”
BBC viewers had complained about the amount of air-time the royal couple were getting and voiced their anger on social media.
One viewer wrote on Twitter: “15 mins on the BBC news about Meghan Markle. Top story. Seriously.”
Another viewer said: “I have stopped watching @BBCNews. I can’t stand the relentless coverage of the Meghan and Harry story. They just seem to be milking the thing for everything they can.
“It’s not like there’s another big story going on at the moment though is it?”.
In the two-hour interview, Meghan and Harry gave their insight into life inside the Royal Family and events leading to Megxit.
The couple formally left their senior roles within The Firm at the end of March, 2020 and the arrangement was made permanent last month.
Speaking to Oprah, an emotional Meghan said she struggled to adapt to life inside The Firm and claimed the lack of support from royal aides drove her to contemplate suicide.
The 39-year-old also claimed an unnamed member of the Royal Family issued a racial slur towards her unborn child, while she was pregnant with Archie.
The former actress also claimed Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, made her cry during a bridesmaid’s dress fitting in 2018.
Responding to the claims, Buckingham Palace said the Royal Family was “saddened” to hear about the “challenging the last few years” for the couple.
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The Palace stated “some recollections may vary”, and added the matter will be dealt with in private.
A Palace statement said: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved family members.”
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email [email protected]
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