After being the only foreign network allowed in to see the unveiling of the royal baby on Wednesday, CBS’s Gayle King seized the moment to tout her ‘royal special report’ and talk about her trip to Windsor last weekend hours before Meghan Markle went into labour.
In an unusual move by the royals, CBS was chosen at the last minute to film and distribute the footage to US networks, prompting speculation that Meghan, who invited King to her baby shower in February, was playing favorites with the American media and giving her baby shower guest a leg-up.
The Sussexes’ PR representative denied it, insisting that she would get no special treatment.
But while there was no exclusive content for King or CBS from the announcement, she used it to tout the ‘special report’ she is working on with them and shared an anecdote from her trip to Windsor last weekend, before the baby’s arrival, while Harry and Meghan were hiding out from the world and she was days overdue.
‘When I was in Windsor this past weekend because we’re working on that royal special as you know, there was a rumor in the streets that the baby had been born and it had a big ginger afro which they didn’t quite know what to do with it,’ King said coyly on Wednesday after cooing over photos and videos of their newborn.
While CBS has not yet confirmed it, it is likely that her visit included a trip to Frogmore Cottage and an interview with the then expectant parents – a major coup for any media organization in light of their well-documented disdain for the press.
Meghan was days past her due date over the weekend. She was whisked to a hospital in London on Sunday night, mere hours after King left the UK to fly back to the US.
Scroll down for video
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are shown unveiling their son to the world on Wednesday in footage that was aired on CBS This Morning at 7.40am, the same time as British outlets received it
Gayle King teased her ‘royal special report’ and spoke of her trip to Winsdor this weekend when Meghan was overdue and hours away from labour
King’s royal special is to mark the one year anniversary of the royal wedding on May 19. It was announced in April at the same time that Prince Harry announced his partnership with King’s long-term best friend Oprah.
A spokesman for the show did not respond to DailyMail.com’s inquiries regarding King’s trip over the weekend.
They are working on a mental health series that will launch on Apple and King’s special, titled ‘Harry and Meghan Plus One’, will be aired on CBS where reigns supreme and has just signed a new contract.
The last minute addition of CBS’s camera crew to Wednesday’s press call shocked British media.
Until Tuesday night, it had been decided that Sky – which was the only outlet to catch Prince Harry’s impromptu press conference announcing the birth on Monday – would be in the room.
A photographer from the Associated Press would be there too, it had been decided, and they together would serve as pool for other media.
When CBS was added at the last minute, there was shock and intrigue as to why an American outlet had been added to the mix.
Harry and Meghan are shown in the official portrait taken by Associated Press on Wednesday. The AP, Sky and CBS were the only media outlets there
The palace said it was to ‘reflect the international interest in the story’ but Buckingham Palace was not involved in the decision.
Rather Harry and US-born Meghan insisted on it themselves.
CBS was teasing the baby announcement early on Wednesday but gave no indication that it had the inside scoop.
King is pictured attending Meghan’s baby shower in February
When King presented their footage on Wednesday, she expressed the same joy and excitement as any of her colleagues would and joked that she was ‘disappointed’ not to have seen the baby’s hair.
She then touted her trip quickly with her small anecdote about being in the ‘streets of Windsor’ this weekend in a similar fashion to how she shared details of being at Meghan’s baby shower in February.
After that occasion, she went on air to talk about how ‘sweet and generous’ Meghan was.
She also shared details of how guests made floral arrangements that were then donated to charity.
Photographed walking into the event with a polka-dot party bag, King refused to reveal exactly what she had bought for the royal couple.
‘I got something I think is very nice,’ she said afterwards.
The notion that she got the inside track fuels fury surrounding the palace’s handling of the birth which has been haphazard from the start.
On Monday Harry gave an interview to Sky in which he gushed about the birth of his new son at Windsor Castle, just 45 minutes after Buckingham Palace had announced that Meghan was in labour.
While the footage was syndicated immediately, it caught most other networks by surprise as they had not been fore-warned.
Sara Latham, the Sussexes’ new communications chief, later explained there had been a ‘colossal tech failure’ which meant an email informing the press of Harry’s announcement did not reach reporters until an hour after it was sent.
She said the email was supposed to have been sent at 1pm, again providing convenient timing for US morning news shows.
The royal couple were planning on a home birth, but as Meghan passed her due date, they opted for The Portland Hospital in London instead to ensure the child’s safety, insiders said.
Prince Harry announces the birth of his son at Windsor on Monday at 1pm – during the morning news shows in America. No British media outlets knew about it other than Sky thanks to a ‘technical glitch’ which meant emails did not get sent as they should have been, according to their PR
Prince Harry has also partnered with Gayle’s best friend, Oprah, to produce an Apple series on mental health. Oprah announced it on CBS This Morning last month
Oprah was a guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle last May, and she is said to have formed a friendship with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland
Meghan and Harry’s insistence on having CBS present for the baby’s unveiling is also thought to have caused upset within the British press, as foreign outlets are not typically invited to such events.
‘It’s a decision that has taken everyone by surprise and has not gone down well in some quarters,’ one source said.
Last month Harry and Meghan’s office announced that while they wanted to keep details of the birth private, they had agreed to a very small photocall at Windsor a couple of days after the baby was born.
Gayle and Meghan’s fast friendship
Gayle King presents coverage of the wedding of her friend Meghan Markle to Prince Harry
Gayle King is among a group of powerful women who have coalesced around Meghan since she became the Duchess of Sussex – including the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Amal Clooney – but it is unclear how they came to know each other.
While Oprah and Amal were present inside St George’s Chapel at Windsor when she married Prince Harry, King was outside reporting for CBS.
However, King – who has been friends with Oprah for more than four decades – soon progressed to Meghan’s inner circle.
The first major event she attended as Meghan’s friend was her New York baby shower in February this year, among 20 other guests.
Amal and Oprah also attended, alongside the likes of Serena Williams who has been friends with Meghan since 2010 when the pair met at Super Bowl.
Describing the event afterwards, she said ‘a good time was had by all’ and that guests took part in flower arranging, with bouquets donated to charity after.
She announced it on air on CBS This Morning, adding that she got something ‘very nice’ for the baby.
She added of Meghan: ‘She’s very kind. She’s very generous, and a really, really sweet person.’
King did not attend Harry and Meghan’s wedding as a guest, but was handed reporting duties by CBS and spoke from outside Windsor Castle
King has since come out to bat for Meghan amid unflattering stories in the press, agreeing with Oprah that she has been treated unfairly.
‘I don’t think she’s being treated fairly, I don’t. I think she is sweet, she is loving, she is kind. She’s extremely generous with her time and her spirit, and I wish we heard more about that,’ she said last month.
King’s defense of her joins a chorus of other prominent US personalities who have defended her including George Clooney.
On the same day that it was announced that Oprah and Harry would be working together on a mental health Apple series, King’s special for CBS was announced.
It remains unclear if she sat down with the pair for it.
In an announcement, CBS said only that it had heard from ‘royal insiders’ but not the couple themselves.
Meghan is pictured leaving her baby shower to board a private jet paid for by her friends, George and Amal Clooney, back to the UK
It is not known when or how Gayle King met Meghan, but she was among 20 guests at the Duchess’s baby shower in New York that included Serena William (left) and Amal Clooney