Meghan and Harry interview: Good Morning Britain reacts to Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Oprah interview
Following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s landmark interview with Oprah Winfrey airing overnight in the US, today’s Good Morning Britain shared the reaction to the revelations, including those about Meghan’s suicidal thoughts and allegations of racism within the Royal family.
Speaking to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, ITV’s Royal Editor Chris Ship said: "When I put my keyboard down, as it were, at 3 o’clock this morning after I had stopped watching it live, I was paralysed in my seat for a bit. That is an understatement."
On Meghan’s claims that she felt suicidal and didn’t get any help from the Firm when she reached out for it, Chris said: “Why don’t those systems [of support] exist? The Royal family members are only human, and if she has reached that level of stress that she is thinking about taking her own life, where are those systems in place to look after them? Basically, she is saying there wasn’t any at all.”
He went on to call the claims of racism “incendiary” and agreed with Piers that the damage to the Royal family would be “monumental”.
Author and women’s rights activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu gave her take on the interview and said the Queen must be held to account if she has done something wrong.
"Listen, by all means, let’s applaud the Queen when she does something right, but when she does something wrong, we need to call her out. What kind of grandmother would be so close to her grandson Harry but then not use her power and influence as Queen to protect them from the racist media coverage? What kind of grandmother would protect her own son Prince Andrew from the potential crime of raping a minor but would do jack all to protect Harry and Meghan, especially [when] I have no doubt she would have heard about the suicidal thoughts and the help that she needed?," Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said.
“The Royal family as an institution is rooted in colonialism, white supremacy and racism. The legacy is right there," she continued.
Soldier and Victoria Cross recipient Sgt. Johnson Beharry was asked if he thinks the Royal family is racist. He said: “I can only speak from my experience, personally in my time I have [had] loads of invitations, visiting Buckingham Palace and the Royal family, charity engagements with Prince Harry and other members of the Royal family, and the way I have been treated up to date by the general public in Britain, I could never say that.”
Asked for his reaction to Meghan and Harry’s claims of racism in the family, he said: ”My personal reaction is I don’t believe it, I never experienced it. I went to the Palace on numerous occasions where the audience is quite diverse. Everyone is happy and having a good time.”
On whether there should be repercussions for the allegations, he said: “Anything like that, it should be dealt with, but I don’t think it should be dealt with in the public. I don’t believe that happened. If that happened… they don’t explain it. Who said it? Where did it happen? I don’t believe it.”
Journalist Kevin Maguire added: “They [Meghan and Harry] sounded like survivors of a weird royal cult who got out and are having therapy with Oprah Winfrey. Yes, we have got to know more. Who asked him about the skin colour of his child? Was it his brother? Was it his dad? Was it his grandfather? Was it an uncle? Was it an aunt? Who was it and what was that context because that is hugely damaging.
"We have got to remember that Meghan and Harry were the future faces of the Royal family, they were gold dust. They were adored… and it has gone horribly, horribly wrong on both sides. Why has this happened? What does it tell? One about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex… and secondly what does it say in modern Britain about the apex of the upper class, the hereditary monarchy… we pay for it because it is supposed to serve the public. Can it serve the British public if it is racist? No, it can’t. This is the biggest crisis facing the Royal family, much bigger than Diana now… It’s worse than I thought it would be for Buckingham Palace. This is worse than they were braced for.”
Asked what the reaction is from the Palace today, Chris Ship added: “They have got a really difficult job today. I said a few weeks ago… this had the potential to be very uncomfortable for the country in general and for the Royal family in particular. Uncomfortable does not begin to describe the allegations that were made in that two-hour interview last night. They [the Royal family] have got a huge job.”
"It was unusual last week when they commented on the bullying allegations. I can’t see how they wouldn’t, they couldn’t, respond somehow today. They have got to. We have already spoken about the mood in America and how the view is going to be formed over there. This is potentially very damaging," he continued.
Sarah Brown, wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was on the show to discuss International Women’s Day, but was asked for her view on the interview. She said: “I can see that at no moment is the Queen’s behaviour or ways of treating them been called into question at all. As ever she remains our Queen and being exactly as we would expect. There is concern around the issues of racism and wherever that is found, those are things we have to tackle.”
Singer Chaka Khan, speaking live from Los Angeles, gave her take, saying she empathised with Meghan’s experience of racism: “I have to say that I really understood where she was coming from and what she was going through as well. I went through a lot of the same circumstances in this country and all over the world. It is very sad that it had to get to the very extreme with her and her husband where they are fearing for their own lives and not in their own country. It is sad.”
She added: “No one can talk about what is going on in her mind and heart unless you are standing in her shoes. We are talking about racism here and I come from a country that is very racist. I lived in Britain for 30 years and I found some of the same stuff going on that I have seen all over the world. It is little ways that are so finely tuned by now that is almost hard to find, it’s hard to call out. The Royal family is going to have to look pretty deep… I hope that they are going to look into what she is [alleging] and put it to rights.”
On the racism allegations, presenter Trisha Goddard said: “I wasn’t shocked, put it that way. People talk about racism and say, ‘What exact words were said?’ But it’s the undercurrent, it’s always there.”
Referring to the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ headline that described Meghan in the press, Trisha added: “To a black person, it is very painful. It’s saying you are ghetto, that you are rough… I don’t think she was ready for this at all and I actually don’t think Harry was either. I know from experience it is very painful for a white partner to see firsthand all these little microaggressions and what have you. If somebody brings up what colour is your child going to be, and I have been in that position myself, it is deeply shocking.”
Roya Nikkah, Royal Correspondent for The Sunday Times, shed some light on how the Royal family will be reacting. She said: “The Queen will be at Windsor Castle now, having breakfast on her own because Prince Phillip is still in hospital, and she is going to be receiving a briefing from her Communications Secretary on the explosive allegations that have come out of this interview.
"My understanding is that Buckingham Palace doesn’t want to rush out any response, they want to take time to consider the allegations. But let’s make no bones about this… we have never heard anything like this is any previous Royal interview. The picture that Harry and Meghan have painted of an institution, of personal family members, is dynamite. And I think Buckingham Palace is probably right to take their time because what they come out with next… is going to be crucial in the narrative," she continued.
On how this interview compares to the Diana scandal, the late Princess’s biographer Andrew Morton weighed in: “I have to say, my jaw dropped watching that interview and it is very similar to the Panorama interview 25 years ago… The one thing that intrigues me about the whole business of Meghan saying about the baby and the colour of the baby and the security and whether it is made a prince or a princess, it is confusing because it is the Metropolitan Police who decide the security. It is the Queen who is the font of all honour, so in a way, Meghan and Harry are accusing the Queen of racism by default and I find that allegation quite explosive.”
Asked what Diana would make of this interview, Andrew added: “The irony is, she would be enjoying it. It is almost like she is getting her revenge from beyond the grave. Remember she was the trailblazer in this, she put the boot into Prince Charles 20 odd years ago… there is no question that she would want William and Harry to reconcile but remember, she was actually thinking of moving to Malibu… and also Oprah was going to interview her and then Martin Bashir swooped in.”
On Meghan and Harry’s revelation that they were already married days before their televised wedding, Roya Nikkah said: “That was absolute news to me, I have to say. I think that is one of the points in the interview that the public are going to have really interesting reactions to… We are suddenly told that wasn’t actually the Royal wedding… It’s quite a revelation… The only other thing I would say is, this is just a desperately sad family situation. I know that Harry says he hopes that time will heal those family bonds. My goodness me, it is going to be a lot harder after this interview."
The full interview, Oprah with Meghan and Harry, airs tonight at 9pm on ITV.