Prince Harry used a live video message from his LA mansion to launch a new assault on the media and lecture on inequality in a surprise speech to VIPs including Piers Morgan hours after the ex-GMB host won a thumping victory for free speech over Meghan Markle.
The Duke of Sussex, dressed in a black tie and tuxedo, used his big screen speech beamed to the GQ Awards in London to blame ‘those who peddle in lies and fear’ in the ‘news media and social media’ for vaccine hesitancy.
Watching was Piers Morgan, who yesterday won a resounding victory for free speech after regulator Ofcom ruled he had not broken the broadcasting code for his comments on the Duchess of Sussex following her bombshell Oprah interview. This morning he tweeted an image of Harry live from California with the hashtag #awks – a nod to his free speech win.
Harry delivered a chiding speech urging governments to do more to vaccinate poorer countries, warning ‘until every community can access the vaccine and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk’.
Speaking from his Montecito mansion more than 5,000 miles away, the beleaguered Prince lectured his star-studded London audience on ‘media misinformation’ and the importance of sharing vaccines. Harry later presented the Heroes of the Year Award to Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Professor Catherine Green and the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
After being invited on the the stage by Harry, Professor Green told the crowd: ‘I promised Sarah I wouldn’t get too p***ed, and I promised I wouldn’t swear, but there was no f***ing chance of that because I’m so starstruck’.
Mr Morgan’s ITV colleagues and a string of respected broadcasters hailed Ofcom’s ruling confirming his right to free speech after the watchdog dismissed 57,000 complaints about his criticism of Meghan Markle. Senior British journalists have declared that the judgment meant a ‘pillar of our freedom’ in the UK had been ‘reinforced’.
Piers, who was at the GQ event with his wife, author Celia Walden, was sensationally cleared by Britain’s broadcast watchdog who backed his right to free speech after he said that he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of what Meghan Markle told Oprah and challenged her claims of royal racism and suicidal thoughts.
The Sussexes did not comment on the judgment, but will have been infuriated by the result given Meghan complained to Ofcom herself and also to Mr Morgan’s boss at ITV, Dame Carolyn McCall. Meghan allegedly implored Dame Carolyn her to censure her critic as they were both ‘women and mothers’.
The Duke of Sussex, speaking at a surprise virtual appearance at the GQ Awards at the Tate Modern in London, delivered a lecturing speech urging governments to do more to vaccinate poorer countries
His comments come hours after Piers Morgan, who was in the audience at the GQ awards in London, won a resounding victory for free speech after his wife Meghan complained to Ofcom
Mr Morgan’s ITV colleagues and a string of respected broadcasters hailed Ofcom’s ruling confirming his right to free speech after the watchdog dismissed 57,000 complaints about his criticism of Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview (above)
Prince Harry’s surprise GQ Awards speech in full
Prince Harry blamed ‘those who peddle lies and fear’ in the news and on social media for vaccine hesitancy
‘I’m deeply honoured to be introducing our final awardees, who you’ll immediately recognise for their landmark contribution to the fight against COVID-19.
‘Our heroes of this evening are Professor Sarah Gilbert, Doctor Catherine Green, and the entire team of dedicated Oxford scientists.
‘Their breakthrough research on the Oxford Vaccine has brought the world one of our greatest tools for achieving vaccine equity.
‘They also approached their mission with a humanitarian urgency. In April of last year, the Oxford Team packed up a shipment of research cultures and stealthily sent it to India—an early example of the biotech collaboration we need to bring this global crisis to an end.
‘Until every community can access the vaccine, and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk.
‘That’s a common refrain my wife and I have heard in convenings with vaccine experts, heads of industry, community advocates, and global leaders.
‘As people sit in the room with you tonight, more than a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
‘That’s more than five billion shots given around the world so far.
‘It sounds like a major accomplishment, and in many ways is.
‘But there is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine.
‘Less than two percent of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point, and many of their healthcare workers are still not even vaccinated.
‘We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one.
‘At the same time, families around the world are being overwhelmed by mass-scale misinformation across ‘news’ media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn is dividing communities and eroding trust.
‘This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID-19 and the rise of new variants.
‘The Oxford Team have done their part. They are heroes of the highest order who gave us an instrument to fight this disease. They are our nation’s pride, and we are deeply indebted to their service.
‘For the rest of us—including global governments, pharmaceutical leaders, and heads of business—we have to keep doing our part.
‘That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility.
‘Where you’re born should not affect your ability to survive, when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well.
‘Thank you, again, to Professor Gilbert and Doctor Green, who The Guardian called “Two ordinary people who managed to pull off an extraordinary feat while dealing with the everyday stresses that come with being full-time mums and breadwinners in a notoriously insecure and poorly paid field.”
‘But tonight, we’re not honouring two ordinary people. These are two exceptional people—with a remarkable team—who are a bulwark of humanity.’
And coincidentally Piers was in the audience at the GQ Awards in London last night where the Duke of Sussex delivered his lecture.
Prince Harry told guests: ‘As people sit in the room with you tonight, more than a third of the global population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
‘That’s more than five billion shots given around the world so far.
‘It sounds like a major accomplishment and in many ways it is, but there is a huge disparity between who can and cannot access the vaccine.
‘Less than 2% of people in the developing world have received a single dose at this point. And many of the healthcare workers are still not vaccinated.
‘We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one. At the same time, families around the world are being overwhelmed by masses of misinformation across news media and social media, where those who peddle in lies and fear are creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn leads to divided communities and eroding trust.
‘This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome Covid-19 and the risk of new variants.’
Harry hailed the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, who received the heroes of the year award, as ‘heroes of the highest order’ who ‘have done their part’.
‘They are our nation’s pride and we are deeply indebted to their service. For the rest of us, including global governments, pharmaceutical leaders and heads of business, we have to keep doing our part,’ he said.
‘That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility. Where you are born should not affect your ability to survive when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well.’
Within 48 hours of the Oprah interview on March 7 this year, Mr Morgan was forced to quit GMB after he refused to apologise for his ‘honestly held opinions’, costing ITV around 790,000 viewers and millions more in advertising revenue with the ratings gap between GMB and rival BBC Breakfast still growing. On the day Piers quit, GMB was in the lead.
Other complainants to Ofcom accused Piers of failing to be ‘duly impartial’, ‘misrepresenting facts’ and ‘mocking’ Meghan’s American accent. Complaints that his views on GMB on March 8 and March 9 were unsuitable for children were also thrown out.
The UK’s broadcasting watchdog called attempts to silence the MailOnline columnist a ‘chilling restriction on freedom of expression’ after the Duchess of Sussex was among a wave of people who complained that his questioning of her account of royal racism and suicidal thoughts was ‘harmful’ and ‘offensive’ to viewers.
Ofcom found no rules were breached and backed Mr Morgan’s right to ‘rigorously challenge’ the Duchess’s account of suffering suicidal thoughts and claims she experienced racism at the hands of the Royal Family. The decision has led to a flurry of calls demanding he is given his job back, with fans using the hashtag #bringbackpiers claiming the show is ‘dying a slow death without him’.
In complete vindication for the journalist, 56, Ofcom ruled: ‘Mr Morgan was entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account’.
And in a damning indictment of his former bosses and the 50,000-plus people who complained, the watchdog found: ‘The restriction of such views would, in our view, be an unwarranted and chilling restriction on freedom of expression both of the broadcaster and the audience.
The ruling by Ofcom puts CEO Carolyn McCall – formerly of the left-wing Guardian newspaper – under pressure to explain why she did not stick by Mr Morgan, a decision which has cost the station millions.
Mr Morgan wrote in a MailOnline column yesterday: ‘I’m delighted that Ofcom has so emphatically supported my right to disbelieve the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s incendiary claims to Oprah Winfrey, many of which have since been proved to be untrue. This is a resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios. In light of this decision – do I get my job back?’
He added in his column: ‘I was reliably informed recently that Meghan Markle wrote directly to my ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall the night before I was forced out, demanding my head on a plate.
‘Apparently, she stressed that she was writing to Dame Carolyn personally because they were both women and mothers – a nauseating playing of the gender and maternity card if ever there was one. What has the world come to when a whiny fork-tongued actress can dictate who presents a morning television news programme?’
Mr Morgan, pictured alongside his wife Celia last night, quoted former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his latest Instagram post
Piers Morgan and Good Morning Britain have been cleared of breaching broadcasting standards over a heated debate about Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview where he said that he didn’t ‘believe a word she says’ on March 8 (pictured)
Mr Morgan immediately hit back at ITV’s statement for ignoring the central thrust of Ofcom’s conclusion amid calls for him to be reinstated on their flagship GMB programme
Is the door ajar for Piers Morgan at GMB? ITV Director of TV Kevin Lygo ‘is fighting to REHIRE the presenter’ as viewers sign petitions to get him back on air after his tirade at Meghan Markle’s Oprah lies was CLEARED by Ofcom
Questions remained last night over whether there is still a ‘slim chance’ that Piers Morgan could return to host Good Morning Britain after he was triumphantly cleared of breaching broadcasting rules by Ofcom.
The presenter’s former ITV colleagues and a string of respected broadcasters yesterday hailed the regulator’s ruling confirming his right to free speech after dismissing more than 57,000 complaints about his criticism of Meghan Markle including ‘not believing a word’ she told Oprah Winfrey about her experiences of suicidal thoughts.
Last night The Sun reported that ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo, described as a ‘big fan’ of Mr Morgan, was on a ‘one-man mission’ to bring him back, although an insider said he was currently ‘fighting a losing battle internally’.
The development came after the UK’s broadcasting watchdog called attempts to silence MailOnline columnist Mr Morgan a ‘chilling restriction on freedom of expression’ after the Duchess of Sussex was among a wave of people who complained that his questioning of her account of royal racism and suicidal thoughts was ‘harmful’ and ‘offensive’ to viewers.
Following the announcement however, ITV revealed they ‘have no current plans to invite him to present Good Morning Britain’, with one source saying: ‘Piers decided to leave. We accepted his decision.’
The Sun said that despite My Lygo’s lobbying, Good Morning Britain bosses viewed there being a ‘slim to no chance’ that Mr Morgan would return to the ITV show, which he quit in the aftermath of the coverage of Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview which Ofcom went on to investigate.
It remains to be seen if other hosting roles at the network could be made available.
Speaking about losing his GMB job yesterday after the Ofcom decision, Mr Morgan said: ‘I didn’t want to lose my job in the first place, but I only really want to work for someone who supports freedom of speech and free expression, and I felt frankly that ITV let me down and let their viewers down.’
Petitions to have Mr Morgan reinstated in his GMB role are still being signed, with three different appeals on Change.org reaching a collective total of 264,201 signatures.
Executives at ITV are currently hunting for a potential permanent replacement as the programme struggles with viewer figures. It is believed Martin Lewis and Richard Bacon are among the favourites.
It comes as Mr Morgan revealed the number of job offers he has received since leaving ITV’s flagship breakfast show has ‘accelerated’ since he was found not to have breach Ofcom’s broadcasting code.
Speaking to the Sun, he slammed the Duchess of Sussex as the ‘Queen of Woke’ and described her as a ‘whiny, forked-tongued actress’.
Mr Morgan said: ‘The woke brigade think they can vilify, shame, silence and get fired anyone who has an opinion they don’t like.
‘Meghan Markle is the queen of this culture, who personally sought to have me lose my job — and succeeded. Why are she and Prince Harry entitled to have their opinion but I’m not entitled to mine?’
Questions remained last night over whether there is still a ‘slim chance’ that Piers Morgan could return to host Good Morning Britain after he was triumphantly cleared of breaching broadcasting rules by Ofcom for comments he made in a debate over Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview on March 8 (pictured)
More than 57,000 people – including Meghan – contacted the regulator after the former Good Morning Britain presenter said he didn’t believe the Duchess’s claims about experiencing suicidal thoughts when she lived at Kensington Palace
Piers Morgan leaves home in West London on Wednesday evening with wife Celia to attend the GQ awards at Tate Modern
ITV’s former Guardian chief CEO Dame Carolyn McCall (left) was last night also under pressure to explain why she forced Mr Morgan out in March, while it was also reported that ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo (right), described as a ‘big fan’ of Mr Morgan, was on a ‘one-man mission’ to bring him back to GMB
GMB overtook BBC Breakfast in its ratings war on the day Piers Morgan resigned – and the ratings gap appears to be growing. BBC Breakfast is the yellow line, GMB is the blue
Petitions to have Mr Morgan reinstated in his GMB role are still being signed, with three different appeals on Change.org reaching a collective total of 264,201 signatures
The 56-year-old host then shocked viewers by walking off camera during a heated on-air row with weatherman Alex Beresford, before quitting the programme hours later after refusing to apologise
He immediately hit back at ITV’s statement for ignoring the central thrust of Ofcom’s conclusion, stating that he was ‘entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account .
He said yesterday: ‘Hmmm, ITV have just put out a statement saying I only won the Ofcom case against Princess Pinocchio because my colleagues expressed different opinions to mine. That’s not what the Ofcom report says in its conclusion. I suggest ITV reads it again.’
JAN MOIR: Princess Pinocchio has finally had her nose tweaked as at long last a joyful bucket of cold water is thrown on Harry and Meghan’s fevered claims by Ofcom verdict exonerating Piers Morgan
Just imagine. Another perfect morning in Montecito, southern California. As the sun rises over the Santa Ynez mountains, an ocean breeze ruffles the leaves on the scrub oaks and ripples across the mosaic of swimming pools that stud this millionaire’s paradise.
Avocado toasts are slipped on to warmed plates. The smell of fresh coffee rises in the land of the elites. And then a terrible, piercing scream rips apart the balmy calm.
What awful calumny has occurred? Has the boutique down by the bay run out of sustainable cashmere? Are there too many pips in that organic Meyer lemon?
No, it is something much, much worse. Princess Pinocchio has finally had her nose tweaked.
Piers Morgan and GMB have been cleared over a heated debate about Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview where he said that he didn’t ‘believe a word she says’ on March 8 (pictured)
More than 57,000 people – including Meghan – contacted the regulator after the former GMB presenter said he didn’t believe the Duchess’s claims about experiencing suicidal thoughts
For deep inside the Sussexes’ grand mansion, set in an exclusive gated estate on a private street, a blast of good ol’ Blighty reality has crashed in like a meteorite.
One can only imagine how the duchess reacted upon discovering that her complaint against Piers Morgan has been thrown out by Ofcom, but for a woman with such a finely honed sense of victimhood, anything less than volcanic on the stroppy scale would be a surprise.
The duchess was among the 57,000 people who complained to Ofcom – and personally to ITV –when Morgan stated he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of what she told Oprah Winfrey during their interview back in March.
I mean, really. Piers was kind enough to give Meghan and Harry the priceless gift of candour, only to have it thrown back in his face without a word of thanks.
Piers Morgan leaves home in West London on Wednesday evening with wife Celia (left) to attend the GQ awards at Tate Modern and (right) Piers is pictured at the awards reception
Mr Morgan, pictured alongside his wife Celia, quoted former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his latest Instagram post
Yet in moment of triumph for freedom of speech, for UK broadcasters and journalists everywhere – but most of all for the former Good Morning Britain host himself – Ofcom ruled that: ‘Mr Morgan was entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account.’
So he has been entirely vindicated, while the duchess has been accused of being part of a ‘chilling restriction on freedom of expression’.
Oh dear. That is not a good look for a self-styled international humanitarian and do-gooder; a woman who, according to the couple’s Archewell website, wants to ‘unleash the power of compassion to drive systemic cultural change’.
All Meghan seems to have driven is her wheezing old jalopy of self-justification into the brick wall of baloney that has awaited her all this time. For sooner or later, this day of reckoning had to come.
Piers Morgan described the Ofcom decision as a ‘resounding victory for free speech’ after receiving the news earlier today
Since the moment they left to forge a new life in America, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been assiduous keepers of their own flame of fame.
From day one they have depicted themselves as victims fleeing from the tyranny of inherited wealth; a couple of rich and privileged pups forever barking about the unfairness of life.
My daddy won’t give me any money! My daddy talks to the press! It’s all so simply awful.
From Oprah Winfrey to Instagram statements, from podcasts to Netflix series, from newspaper op-eds to Zoom calls, they have built up their story of suffering and burnished their images without halt.
Then of course there is the Finding Freedom biography, the remarkable unofficial histoire written by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie that largely seems to reflect their every thought and itch.
Along the way neither of them appear to have minded about any collateral damage caused to the Queen, other members of the royal family, household staff or even poor Thomas Markle.
Morgan shocked viewers by walking off set during a row with Alex Beresford, before quitting the programme hours later
Then and now one can only gasp at the ultimate vanity of their quest – to have their truth believed at all times, and to never be questioned.
They have tap-tap-tapped the golden syrup from the tree of fib and glib without pause.
Their vision, their view, their version of events has spooled out behind them in a wallow of words, each one carefully curated.
Somehow the Sussexes have been able to accuse and counter accuse, to complain, to control the momentum and the narrative, to indulge their victimhood. Until now.
The Ofcom ruling is perhaps their first wake-up call. The point will come when they will have to account for themselves and their accusations, which so far are unsupported by any evidence or detail.
Of course, Mr Scobie is already leading the pushback, citing a clause in the Human Rights Act that says free speech must always be compounded by the ‘protection of health and morals’. This, he says, ‘makes me question the Ofcom decision’.
Until now, to criticise the Duchess of Sussex (pictured on her wedding day at St George’s Chapel in Windsor with Prince Harry in 2018) was to be accused of racism, sexism and worse
Well he is entirely within his rights to do so, just as Piers Morgan is entirely within his rights to question the duke and duchess’s statements – many of which, incidentally, have been shown to be untrue.
Until now, to criticise the Duchess of Sussex was to be accused of racism, sexism and worse.
One hopes that the Ofcom ruling will at least allow the occasional cheep of doubt to be raised, without the cheepers being cancelled and sent to woke jail by Meghan’s permanently furious supporters.
This febrile atmosphere, into which these serious accusations of bigotry are thrown around like noxious confetti, is stoked by the Sussexes themselves.
All this scurrility propounded by annoyance and huff, spiced with a pinch of what looks increasingly like spite.
Surely it doesn’t have to be like this? Why do they seem so determined to crush not just the Royal Family, but anyone of note who disagrees with them along the way?
We are all entitled to freedom of speech. It is not a gift granted only to those who hold views acceptable to Harry and Meghan.
When I think about the Sussexes, sometimes it seems like a ghost story they have concocted themselves, one that is brooded over by malevolent wraiths, hurts real or imagined, insults perceived, slights dead and gone.
Many will welcome this cold bucket of water that has been poured over the graveyard of their fevered claims.
Oh to have been a fly on the Montecito wall when the news came through. I like to imagine the crash of teacup on saucer and then that prolonged scream, echoing down to where the surf rolls onto the shoreline like a benediction.
And if Harry were still juggling at the window, like the circus clown he is at heart, then surely he would have dropped his balls in shock.
So what of Princess Pinocchio’s own truths?
Piers Morgan is far from the only person who has raised serious questions about the Sussexes’ wilder claims, as the Mail reveals…
In the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan claimed they were married three days before their official wedding in a private ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But Archbishop Justin Welby insists: ‘I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false… The legal wedding was on the Saturday.’
Harry and Meghan suggested at least one royal expressed concern about ‘how dark’ their unborn son’s skin might be. But the explosive claim is fraught with inconsistencies.
Meghan alleges there were ‘several conversations’ about Archie’s skin colour ‘when I was pregnant’, yet Harry has said there was just one ‘before we even got married’.
As the Palace aptly puts it: ‘Recollections may vary.’
The couple have suggested Archie was refused a title amid those ‘conversations’ about his skin colour. Meghan told Oprah ‘they’ (apparently Palace officials) ‘didn’t want him to be a prince or princess’.
In fact, royal protocol dictates that the great-grandchild of a monarch doesn’t normally become a prince until their grandparent – in this case Prince Charles – has taken the throne.
Royal life was so claustrophobic, Meghan has said, that at one point she ‘left the house twice in four months’. She also claims that her passport was confiscated.
But the Court Circular shows that in the 17 months between her wedding and moving to North America, she attended official engagements on 73 days, as well as private outings and at least four holidays abroad.
In short, there doesn’t appear to be any ‘four-month’ housebound period. And she must have used her passport to travel. So what really happened?
Meghan has said she wanted to devote her life to royal service. Yet, simultaneously, Harry denies the Queen was ‘blindsided’ by their decision to step down as working royals.
In the Oprah interview, Meghan said to Harry: ‘I remember when you talked to her [the Queen] several times about this [Megxit] over…’
Harry: ‘Two years.’ That suggests they began planning to withdraw in January 2018, four months before their marriage.
HARRY IN SHOWBIZ
Harry has insisted that ‘Netflix and Spotify was [sic] never part of the plan’ for his new life in California.
Yet it has since been revealed the couple began speaking to at least one video streaming firm as far back as early 2019, about a year before Megxit.
HARRY has said he signed deals with broadcasters only after ‘my family literally cut me off financially… In the first half, the first quarter of 2020.’
Yet Clarence House records published in June show Prince Charles gave £4.45million to his sons and their wives in the previous financial year.