Buckingham Palace remains silent almost 24 hours after Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in the US – with the British public divided on the couple’s explosive claims following its first UK broadcast.
While the world waits for a response from the Royal Family, celebrities and a number of charities have been expressing their support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex over their comments – notably surrounding Meghan‘s openness about how her mental health was impacted by her time as a working royal.
Meghan revealed she had suicidal thoughts during her time in the family. The duchess claimed she asked to go somewhere for help, but a senior person in the institution told her it would not look good.
The duchess also claimed – to Oprah’s apparent disbelief – that an unnamed member of the royal household had “concerns” about the skin colour of the couple’s son Archie before he was born. Oprah later said Harry told her the person was not the Queen or Prince Philip.
Buckingham Palace has not yet commented on the allegations, which have left the British public split. The programme aired in full on UK television on Monday night, prompting huge reaction on social media.
It came hours after a new photo of Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie was shared online – one of the few glimpses the world has had of their young son since he was born in May 2019.
The most vociferous backers of the couple’s interview have focused on their discussion about mental health, with some saying that Meghan had saved lives by discussing the issue.
One person on Twitter said: “The courage it took for Meghan to speak about her mental health is remarkable given the hell she was going through. The fact they are now sitting together voicing why they had to leave in order to protect their family. Nothing but respect and admiration.”
Another tweet said: “I find it SHOCKING that William and Kate founded a mental health charity @heads_together but Meghan was refused any mental health support and Harry couldn’t get her support either. It’s actually disgusting. Plain and simple. Everyone deserves access to support when struggling.”
Such sentiment has led to criticism for broadcaster Piers Morgan, who said “I’m sickened by what I’ve had to watch”, calling it a “two hour trash-athon of our Royal Family, of the monarchy and everything the Queen has worked so hard for”.
“I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she (Meghan) says.”
The mental health charity Mind responded by saying: “We were disappointed and concerned to see Piers Morgan’s comments on not believing Meghan’s experiences about suicidal thoughts today.
“It’s vital that when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health that they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy.”
Meanwhile, Little Mix singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock said Meghan’s interview showed the “underlying racism lying within the royal establishment”.
Pinnock, who is black, shared a message of support for Meghan on Instagram, saying there is no “safety net” for those in the public eye, especially for women of colour.
She wrote: “What people may wish to believe and view as a ‘privileged life’ let this be a lesson to all of us. When you become known to the public there is no safety net to protect you from what people can fire out and say about you.
“We witness this all the time, particularly concerning women and more to the core, women of colour. Meghan has been dragged from the start and we have all witnessed it.
“I praise her strength and determination for speaking out on her experiences showing the underlying racism lying within the royal establishment.”
MY definition of an amazing human being, is someone who is there for you when you are at your lowest. He was, and is still there. My choice is to LOVE the man I know, and the decisions he makes.❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/E0g3oIsKx1
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) March 8, 2021
In support of Prince Harry, former Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas posted a photo of him and the duke together.
He wrote: “MY definition of an amazing human being, is someone who is there for you when you are at your lowest. He was, and is still there. My choice is to LOVE the man I know, and the decisions he makes.”
The duke had previously praised Thomas for going public with his HIV diagnosis.
Actor Hugh Jackman said he recommended people should watch the interview, saying: “When someone’s brave enough to ask for help, we must listen.”
The Terrence Higgins Trust also took to social media to show support for Harry and Meghan.
The charity, which helps people with HIV and AIDS – a cause close to Harry’s late mother Princess Diana‘s heart – wrote: “Prince Harry and Meghan chose our event for World AIDS Day as their first ever official Royal engagement.
“Their shared and continuing passion to HIV awareness has been invaluable. When the world’s spotlight was on them, they turned it on our cause. We will always be thankful.”
Prince Harry and Meghan chose our event for World AIDS Day as their first ever official Royal engagement.
Their shared and continuing passion to HIV awareness has been invaluable. When the world’s spotlight was on them, they turned it on our cause.
We will always be thankful. pic.twitter.com/R07p8o9qJM
— Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) March 8, 2021
But among the general public in the UK, opinion seems to be more mixed. A new YouGov poll asked people whether they thought the interview was appropriate or inappropriate.
Some 47% said it was inappropriate, while 21% said it was appropriate and 31% didn’t know.
People were also asked how much sympathy they have for Harry and Meghan – 12% said a lot, 17% a fair amount, 23% said not very much, 33% none at all, and 15% didn’t know.
And they were asked how much sympathy they have for senior members of the Royal Family – some 16% said a lot, 23% said a fair amount, 25% said not very much, 20% said none at all, and 16% did not know.
On a special programme ahead of the interview’s full UK debut, Sky News brought together comedian Gina Yashere, lawyer and activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu and actor Kelechi Okafor.
They gave their thoughts on the allegations of racism from within the royal household.
Yashere said she “wasn’t surprised”, adding: “We knew there was racism. Britain’s wealth is built off the back of colonialism and slavery.
“I’m glad that they didn’t hold back and now it’s all out in the open for everyone to discuss.”
Dr Shola said it was “pure racism” and there was no way to “misunderstand” the comments about Archie’s skin.
Okafor added that she is “tired” of the narrative that the royals are “colour blind” or don’t see colour, saying: “Anti-blackness is inherent in the entire institution.”
Meanwhile, in America, where more than 17 million tuned in to watch it overnight, Sky’s US correspondent Greg Milam said people in Los Angeles who he had spoken to had taken the side of Harry and Meghan.
Milam said people “have some very strong views particularly to that question of the discussions about the colour of Archie’s skin”.
“In this climate in America, in the Black Lives Matter climate, there are some serious questions, some very big anger amongst people. And people here are asking for an answer from the Royal Family,” he said.
“They want to know who it was that had those discussions – and what is going to be done to address what was contained in that interview.”
“For so long, the Royal Family has been a bit of a distant soap opera. But now this is very much in close focus for them because we are talking about one of their own, an American citizen making allegations about the Royal Family.”
The newly-shared black and white image of Harry, Meghan and Archie was taken by photographer Misan Harriman.
It captures a smiling, pregnant Meghan, stood by a tree cuddling Archie, as Harry stands behind her, embracing his wife, who is due to have a girl this summer.
Harriman wrote on social media: “What wonderful news to celebrate on International Women’s Day! Congratulations my friends, and welcome to the #girldad club H”.