It’s the most talked-about interview that delivered some incredible revelations as to why the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ultimately departed from frontline duties of the British Royal Family.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s sit down with Oprah Winfrey was event television at its best, drawing an estimated 17.1 million viewers, according to early Nielsen data. In it, they discussed how they felt they have been mistreated by the British press. In April last year, the couple announced that they would no longer be engaging with the four biggest UK tabloids, writing in a letter to the newspapers’ editors that there would be “no corroboration and zero engagement,” because they would no longer “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion.”
The interview airs in the UK at 9:00 pm local time on Monday, but the very British press the couple criticized weren’t waiting for the evening’s broadcast to roll out their coverage.
Here’s what the front pages of some of the nation’s papers had to say about the interview.
The paper, which recently lost a lawsuit brought forth by Markle for publishing a private letter she sent to her father, dedicated the entire front page of an earlier edition to highlighting the key points raised in the interview and leading with an accusation of racism against the palace.
In a follow up, it chose to lead with a combined cover story of the Queen’s Commonwealth address.
The Daily Mirror lead with Markle’s shocking revelation that a member of the Royal family raised concerns over what shade the couple’s son was likely to be, given his Black ancestry.
A follow up front page exclusive claimed that the ramifications of the interview was already being felt among family members, specifically Prince Harry’s brother Prince William and father Prince Charles who were said to have been left “immensely saddened.”
In a 2:00 am special edition, the Daily Express led with Markle’s admission that contrary to reports at the time, she had been the one reduced to tears by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
In a follow up edition, the front cover led with the Queen’s Commonwealth address, during which she emphasized the important of duty. The cover described the couple’s sit down with Oprah as “self-serving.”
Pregnant Markle told Oprah Winfrey that she did not get help when she asked for it, despite feeling suicidal as a result of the onslaught of negative press and apparent double standards in palace life.
The front page also acknowledged the gender reveal of the couple’s second child, a girl, due in the summertime.
It was puns and punches for the Daily Star which ran a front page dedicated to the interview it claimed it “couldn’t be arsed” to stay up to watch.
Not holding back, the tabloid suggested that the couple were putting on a performance for the cameras.
In the Guardian, the paper spoke to the lucrative appeal of the interview which has already proved popular with an American audience.
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph drew parallels between the Queen’s Commonwealth day speech, which referenced the importance of remaining connected with family, despite the very apparent rift within the Royal family.
Responding to the criticism of the British press made in the interview, Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors pushed back calling the accusations “not acceptable.” Murray, who heads the body, which champions press freedom and has nearly 400 members boasted of having a record of “calling out racism.”
“It is strange indeed, that the couple have attacked the UK media previously for alleged intrusion into their private lives yet have opened up on several occasions to media in the US, the latest event being yesterday’s interview with Oprah Winfrey which will play to a world-wide audience.” said Murray.
“The UK media has never shied away from holding a spotlight up to those in positions of power, celebrity or influence. If sometimes the questions asked are awkward and embarrassing, then so be it, but the press is most certainly not racist.”