It really never ends well. For Meghan and Harry's sake let's hope they buck the trend
Let’s say the timing could have been better. What with Prince Philip recovering from heart surgery at the grand old age of 99, and Buckingham Palace launching an investigation into accusations of bullying staff by Meghan, Oprah Winfrey’s much-publicised tell-all chat with Meghan and Harry, where, it’s touted, nothing is barred, has one of the most shocking royal TV interviews written all over it.
According to reports, Oprah reckons it’s the best interview she has ever done. And if Harry’s chat with James Corden was anything to go by, the pair won’t hold back. Harry told Corden he left the royal family because “it was destroying his mental health. Unsurprisingly, thanks to the teaser clips, Oprah’s interview is reportedly making the Palace “nervous”.
Are the royal family right to be worried? To be fair, the royals’ tell-all track record when they decide to sit down with journalists and tell their side of the story isn’t a good one. We take a look back at some of the most shocking royal TV interviews.
Princess Diana’s infamous bombshell
Princess Diana’s infamous Panorama fireside chat with Martin Bashir in 1995 was watched by more than 22 million viewers and is the benchmark of explosive tell-alls. Controversy continues around how the scoop was obtained. Talking about the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, she famously told Bashir: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded” due to his affair with Camilla. Nine months later she was an ex-HRH and divorced from Charles.
Prince Charles admits adultery
A year earlier Jonathan Dimbleby captured a scoop in his 1994 documentary called Charles: The Private Man, Public Role. Charles said he was faithful to Diana “until it became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried” and so admitting adultery with Camilla. Jaws dropped. And questions were raised about whether Charles was suitable to be king.
Sarah Ferguson’s marriage secrets
The Duchess of York has spoken to Oprah a number of times since 1996. After splitting from Prince Andrew, Sarah gave her this gem about marrying into the royal family: “It’s not a fairytale”. She also revealed what it was like living in Buckingham Palace. “We had one bedroom, two bathrooms, a dining room cum study cum nursery and a sitting room and that was it. It was all burgundy and very dark, and the lightbulbs are only 30 amp so they don’t give out any light.”
Prince Andrew’s Newsnight disaster
In November 2019, he believed his interview with BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis had gone “pretty well”. His jawdropping performance, making excuses about his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, failing to show remorse and having little empathy with Epstein’s alleged victims, was catastrophic. The fallout saw him withdraw from public duties. He wasn’t even pictured in his daughter Princess Beatrice’s wedding photos in July 2020.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s shock confessions
In October 2019, Meghan spoke to Harry’s friend and ITV news anchor Tom Bradby in South Africa, confessing, “Not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.” In the same documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Harry told Bradby his relationship with William was strained, admitting they had “good days and bad days”. Weeks later the couple activated Megxit and quit as working royals.
* Watch Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A Primetime Special on Monday 8 March at 9pm on ITV