Gayle King has claimed that Prince Harry and ‘particularly’ his wife Meghan Markle have been unfairly ‘vilified’ as her CBS This Morning co-hosts decried the ‘oppressive’ royal family while discussing a new teaser clip from the couple’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
King, 66, and her colleagues spoke out in defense of Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, after airing a short interview clip in which the Duchess of Sussex is seen claiming that royal aides blocked her from having a ‘personal’ conversation with Oprah in the months leading up to her 2018 wedding.
Meghan’s story prompted King’s co-anchor Anthony Mason to describe the royal family as ‘oppressive’, while his colleague Tony Dokoupil voiced surprise at learning that the Duchess had ‘people in the room’ with her while discussing a potential interview.
According to King, who is close friends with Oprah, 67, the TV mogul wanted to give Meghan and Harry ‘the opportunity in their own words to speak their own truth’, with the CBS This Morning host claiming that this will give the public the chance to ‘make up their own minds’ about the ‘vilified’ couple and the decision to quit royal life.
Defense: CBS anchor Gayle King has claimed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been ‘vilified’ while airing a new clip from their interview with her close friend Oprah Winfrey
Bold claim: Her co-host Anthony Mason (left) labeled the royals as ‘oppressive’ after Meghan claimed aides blocked her from ‘personally’ speaking to Oprah about an interview in 2018
Explosive: Harry and Meghan’s two-hour-long interview with Oprah Winfrey is set to air on CBS on Sunday at 8PM ET
Speaking out: The latest teaser from the sit-down shows Oprah recalling her attempt to get an interview with Meghan, 39, months before her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018
‘I heard people say what was the intention of doing the interview,’ King said. ‘…A big question is how did they leave [the royal family], what happened, did something happen, what is it all about?
‘[The intention of the interview is] to give them the opportunity in their own words to speak their own truth about what went into their decision. I think by the time the interview is over, people will have a very clear understanding about what went into their thought process. I believe that that will be the case.
Statement: Mason, 64, said he sympathized with Meghan and Harry, saying he ‘can’t imagine living under that oppressive sort of royal family restriction’
‘And then people can make up their own minds. Because vilified is the word for what has happened to Harry and Meghan, Meghan in particular.’
In the latest sneak peek from the interview – which is due to air on Sunday, March 7 at 8PM ET – Oprah revealed that she called Meghan in February or March 2018 – two or three months before her wedding at Windsor Castle in May that year – to ask for an interview, but said the Duchess declined because it was not ‘the right time’.
Meghan said she remembered that chat with the US chat show queen ‘very well’ and ‘wasn’t even allowed to have this conversation with you personally’ because there had to be other people in the room listening in on the call.
King’s co-anchor Mason then labeled the royal family ‘oppressive’, and admitted that he sympathized with Meghan and Harry.
‘I can’t imagine living under that oppressive sort of royal family restriction. I can’t imagine,’ he said – while Dokoupil shared his shock at hearing Meghan’s story about palace aides being in the room while the Duchess spoke with Oprah on the phone.
Looking back: Meghan claimed that she ‘wasn’t even allowed to have [a] conversation with [Oprah] personally’ because palace aides had to be in the room with her at the time of the call
Warning: The latest teaser offers a glimpse at the kind of negative picture Meghan will paint of her short-lived experience as a member of the royal family
‘The window into the handling, the people in the room…’ he said, while King simply described the royal family as ‘extremely intense, very intense’.
Full transcript for fourth Oprah preview video clip
- Oprah: ‘So I just want to say that I called you either February or March 2018 before the wedding, asking would you please give me an interview, and you said I’m sorry, it’s not the right time, and finally we get to sit down and have this conversation.’
- Meghan: ‘Well, I remember that conversation very well. I wasn’t even allowed to have this conversation with you personally, right? There had to be people from the… sitting there, everything was…
- Oprah: ‘There were other people in the room when I was having that conversation.’
- Meghan: ‘Yeah, even on that call.’
- Oprah: ‘You turned me down nicely and said, perhaps there will be another time when there’s the right time. What is right about this time?’
- Meghan: ‘Um [long pause]. Well, so many things. Um, that we’re on the other side of a lot of – a lot of life experience that’s happened, and also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then. That wasn’t my choice to make. So as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk.’
- Oprah: ‘And to say it for yourself.’
- Meghan: ‘Yeah. To say it for yourself.’
- Oprah: ‘And not to have to consult with anybody at this point.’
- Meghan: ‘Yeah, to be able to just make a choice on your own and be able to speak for yourself.’
Once again, King referenced the fact that Oprah has described the interview as the ‘best she’s ever done’, explaining that this has much to do with how open the couple was to answering personal questions.
‘And when I heard Oprah say, you know, the best interview she’s ever done, I asked, what do you mean by that?’ King explained.
‘She said, “It wasn’t just me, it’s to have people at that level who were going through it, so to speak, to — to agree you can ask anything you want to ask.”
‘They answered every question [or] 99.999 [per cent of them]. Any questions they didn’t answer, they explained why [they] didn’t answer so you get a sense of that.
‘There wasn’t any jujitsu trying to bob and weave and decide. I think it’s going to be interesting to see their side.’
Her description of the interview process is in stark contrast to Meghan’s story about trying to discuss a potential sit-down with Oprah back in 2018.
The new clip is the latest in a series of teasers that have been released ahead of the interview’s broadcast, and offers a glimpse into the very negative picture that Meghan will likely paint of her short-lived experience as a member of the royal family.
It focuses on her recollection of the conversation she had with Oprah in the months before her wedding to Harry, and also shows her revealing her reasons for choosing to finally speak out.
Asked why she was now opening up, Meghan gave a long pause and seemed to hesitate, before saying: ‘Well, so many things. That we’re on the other side of a lot of – a lot of life experience that’s happened, and also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then.’
She added: ‘That wasn’t my choice to make. So as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk.’
Oprah said Meghan was now ready to ‘say it for yourself’, which the Duchess agreed with, adding that she now did ‘not to have to consult with anybody at this point’. Meghan added: ‘Yeah, to make a choice your own and be able to speak for yourself.’
The network is set to broadcast the full two-hour chat on Sunday night, despite Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip recovering from heart surgery. The Duke was today moved back to London’s King Edward VII Hospital after a heart operation at St Bartholomew’s.
Both King and Oprah have formed a personal connection with Meghan and Harry over the past few years, with Oprah attending the couple’s 2018 wedding – despite reports that she had not yet actually met the couple in person at the time – while King was a guest at the Duchess’ baby shower in New York in February 2019.
The CBS host was among a small, select group of Meghan’s closest friends who were invited to attend the celebration, which took place in a $75,000-a-night suite at the Mark Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Not so fast: While King and her co-anchors voiced sympathy for Meghan, viewers at home were far less impressed, with one noting that she ‘knew what she was marrying into’
The business behind Harry and Meghan’s CBS special with Oprah: Tell-all has been licensed in 68 countries including the UK – where ITV bought the rights for £1million – but the couple ‘aren’t taking a pay check or a donation to charity’
Harry and Meghan’s CBS Special with Oprah is set to make millions in licensing and advertising deals, but the couple aren’t being paid for it and aren’t accepting a donation to charity either, according to sources close to the production.
The special was produced by Harpo Productions, Oprah’s production company. She then sold it to ViacomCBS, along with the distribution rights, for an undisclosed amount.
ViacomCBS has since made deals in 17 countries and all of Sub-Saharan Africa – where there are 52 countries – with other TV networks who wanted to show it.
Harry and Meghan have not commented on whether or not they are getting paid but a representative for the Oprah Winfrey Network told Page Six that they weren’t.
But Oprah and CBS are positioned to cash in enormously.
Here is how they will profit.
Oprah: Sold the special to CBS for an undisclosed amount
The financial details of their deal are being extremely closely guarded.
Oprah’s best friend is Gayle King – one of the network’s biggest stars – who attended Meghan’s New York baby shower and who went to Windsor Castle to visit the pair before they quit royal life.
She is likely to have helped in greasing the deal between Oprah’s production company. She may have been involved in the entire interview conception.
It’s unclear what the terms of their deal were; whether Oprah sold it to ViacomCBS for a lump sum that included the distribution rights, or if she sold it for a lump sum plus a percentage of the global sales that ViacomCBS has made from the deal.
Oprah and Meghan have been introduced already – she sent her a hamper of organic coffee that is made by a company she invested in, and Oprah promptly plugged it on Instagram.
Oprah also attended the couple’s wedding, before even meeting the pair, after inviting Meghan’s mother Doria over to her Montecito mansion for yoga.
Licensing rights: Oprah’s best friend, CBS anchor Gayle King went to Meghan’s baby shower and visited the couple in Windsor, before they quit royal life. She likely helped broker the deal between Oprah’s production company and her network for the rights to the special at the least. She may have been involved in the entire production of it
ViacomCBS: International licensing sales and advertising
ViacomCBS has sold the special internationally. They have made deals in;
- U.K, where it will air on ITV on Monday, March 8 at 9 p.m.
- Sub-Saharan Africa, to M-Net. It will air on Monday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
- Australia, to Network 10 on Monday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m.
- Belgium, to VRT on channel Eén,. It will air on Monday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m.
- Canada, to Global TV. It will air on Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m., when it airs on CBS.
- Croatia and Germany, to RTL, where it will air on Monday, March 8 at 7.30 p.m.
- Iceland, to Siminn, where it will air on Monday, March 8 at 8 p.m.
- Ireland, to RTE 2, where it will air on Monday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m.
- Israel, to YesDocu, where it will air on Monday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m.
- Italy, to Sky Italia-TV8, where it will air on Tuesday, March 9 at 9:30 p.m.
- Netherlands, to Net5, where it will air on Tuesday, March 9 at 8:30 p.m.
- New Zealand, to Discovery NZ/Three, where it will air on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
- Denmark, Sweden and Norway, to TV3 where it will air on Monday, March 8 at 9pm in Denmark and Sweden and 9.30pm in Norway
- Switzerland, to SRF, where it will air on Saturday, March 13 at 10:25 p.m
Every network will cash in enormously through advertising, including CBS.
It’s unclear how much the special sold for in other countries, aside from the UK. There is the largest interest there, naturally, because of the couple’s background.
The BBC – the British Broadcasting Service – did not bid for it.
A source told British newspaper The Telegraph last month that it will not be ‘pulling out its cheque book’ – despite a reported desire by Meghan for it to be the network which aired it.
The BBC is funded by the government through a nationwide television licence fee which TV viewers are required to pay annually.
They therefore cannot profit from the interview in the same way that networks which do advertise can.
The network is also considered the most prestigious and official in the country. It is the channel that The Queen’s speech is broadcast on every year, and has been a Royal Family favorite for years.
ITV ultimately paid £1million for the rights.
ITV is also the network which produced and aired the famous interview in Africa, when the pair were still working for the royal family, where she said that no one had asked her if she was ‘OK’ and said she was struggling.
In a statement, Kevin Lygo, ITV Managing Director Media & Entertainment, said: ‘This interview is already a national talking point and ITV is pleased to be able to offer UK audiences the opportunity to see it.’
What’s in it for Harry and Meghan?
While the pair reportedly aren’t being paid for the special, nor are they getting a financial donation, experts say it’s a way for them to turbo-charge the $1billion brand they are trying to build in the US.
The pair have a raft of projects lined up, all of which stand to pay them handsomely.
They have made deals with Netflix and Spotify, where they will produce TV series, documentaries and podcasts under their company name Archewell.
They have also made prior, private appearances as speakers at events for banks.