The Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry aired on CBS in the United States on Sunday night prompted response from many, including Serena Williams who praised her ‘selfless friend’ for speaking out.
I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect. Keep in your memory the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Serena Williams
The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry made a series of astonishing revelations about their life in the two-hour broadcast, although their time on camera was much reduced by supporting commercials.
Writing on Twitter, Williams added that Markle ‘teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble’.
“I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of colour to minimise us, to break us down and demonise us,” Williams tweeted.
“We must recognise our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism.
“The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimisation are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.
“I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect.
“Keep in your memory the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.
“Against such things there is no law.”
The interview delivered a series of bombshells, including accusations that the royal family had concerns about how dark the skin of the Sussex’s son might be.
Markle claimed there were ‘several conversations’ on the subject, while she has also been the target of racist coverage from the tabloids.
Of the Palace, she said she regretted ‘believing them when they said I would be protected’.
The 39-year old, whose mother is black and father is white, also said she was pushed to the brink of suicide after marrying into royalty in 2018.
“The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimisation are devastating, isolating, and all too often lethal,” Markle said.
When pushed by Winfrey as to the identity of the royal who had raised the subject of her future child’s skin, the Duchess said: “I think that would be very damaging to them. That was relayed to me from Harry.
“That was conversation that family had with him and I think that it was really hard to see that as compartmentalised from everything else.”
The Duke added that he would never reveal the identity of the person who had expressed those concerns to him.
The couple did reveal in the interview, however, that their second child, who is due this summer, will be a girl.
Markle described how she had grieved extensively, lost her her father and a baby in a miscarriage, and ‘nearly lost my name”’
“There’s a loss of identity but I’m still standing,” she said. “My hope for people in the takeaway from this is to know that there’s another side, to know that life is worth living.”
Among the other revelations was that they felt the royal family had frozen the Duchess out because they were jealous of her popularity.
They also claimed they had been cut off financially by the royal family and only had been able to buy their Californian home because of the Duke’s inheritance from his mother, Diana Princess of Wales.
Surprisingly, they also revealed that they had been married by the Archbishop of Canterbury ina private ceremony three days ahead of their official wedding.
“No one knows [this] but we called the archbishop and we just said, ‘Look, this thing is a spectacle for the world. But we want our union between us’, Markle said
“The vows that we have framed in our room were just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
Within months her life had become much more uncomfortable, she said.
Prince Harry, 36, also told Winfrey that while he remained close to the Queen and had spoken to her more in the past year than he had for a long time, his relationships with his father and brother have been badly damaged by recent experiences.
“I love William to bits,” he said. “He is my brother. We’ve been through hell together. We have a shared experience but we were on different paths.”
Later he added that ‘the relationship is spaced at the moment. Time heals all things. Hopefully’.
Asked about his relationship with the Prince of Wales, he paused for a long time before responding: “There’s a lot to work through there.
“I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar [with the Princess of Wales]. He knows what pain feels like and Archie’s his grandson . . . I will always love him but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened.”
He added that he would make it ‘one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship’.
Earlier he had said that as a royal he had felt ‘trapped within the system like the rest of my family are. My father is trapped. My brother is trapped. They don’t get to leave and I have huge compassion for that’.
Many have sprung to support the couple on social media.
Daniel Martin, who did Markel’s make-up on her wedding day, shared a picture of her with Prince Harry on Instagram, alongside a poem from Maya Angelou: “You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt. But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”
The niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris, Meena Harris, tweeted before the interview was broadcast in full ‘Happy Meghan Markle appreciation day’, adding after it had aired – ‘Her Majesty The Queen Oprah’.
Poet Amanda Gorman, who read her piece ‘The Hill We Climb’ at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, said Meghan was ‘the Crown’s greatest opportunity for change, regeneration and reconciliation in a new era’.
“They didn’t just maltreat her light – they missed out on it,” she added.
Bernice King, the youngest child of the late civil rights activist Martin Luther King, tweeted: “Royalty is not a shield from the devastation and despair of racism. I’m grateful that #MeghanMarkle is still here.”
While Markle has accused ‘the firm’, as the royal family is known, of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’, she described how she now feels liberated to make her own choices after moving to Los Angeles.
According to The Times, a royal source said the Palace had been preparing for damaging allegations but is not going to get involved ‘in a blow by blow dissection of the interview’.
The strategy, they said, was to ‘let the frenzy play out in the morning’ and, possibly, issue a statement later.
Another source said ‘everyone is bracing themselves’ for intense scrutiny of the royal family after the interview.
Meanwhile social media, and others, are having a field day.
CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry airs on ITV at 9pm on Monday and on ITV Hub.