The big face-off isn’t until Sunday, but the pregame skirmishes have been raging on both sides of the Atlantic for days.
When Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, present their side of a sensational royal rupture to Oprah Winfrey, it is sure to be one of the most anticipated, and most heavily spun, television interviews in recent memory.
In tantalizing excerpts dribbled out by CBS, which is broadcasting the two-hour prime-time program, and in scalding allegations about Meghan leaked to a British newspaper, the British royal family and the self-exiled couple are maneuvering furiously before the interview airs to try to shape the narrative.
Was Meghan the victim of a cold, unwelcoming family that cruelly isolated her after she married Harry and is now defaming her? Or was she a Hollywood diva who mistreated her staff, throwing the House of Windsor into turmoil and triggering a breach between the family and one of its most beloved young princes?
departure for a new life in California.
The latest shot in this public-relations battle was fired on Thursday, when CBS released a 30-second teaser clip from the interview, in which Ms. Winfrey asked Meghan how she believed Buckingham Palace would react to her opening up about her life after her fairy-tale marriage to Harry in May 2018.
“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that ‘the firm’ is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” said Meghan, referring to the royal family by a nickname often used to evoke the less high-minded qualities of the monarchy.
“If that comes with risk of losing things,” she said to Ms. Winfrey, “I mean, there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”
interview with the late-night talk-show host James Corden, Harry cited the relentless intrusiveness of the press as a major reason for the couple’s decision to relocate to Montecito, Calif.
Ms. Winfrey, however, is promising more than a mere recitation of the couple’s familiar press grievances. She is promising dirt.
“I just want to make it clear to everybody that there is no subject that is off limits,” she said. Her friend, Gayle King, a host of “CBS This Morning,” said this week, “I’ve heard from reliable sources, this is Oprah talking, that it’s the best interview she’s ever done.”
George F. Schweitzer, a former head of CBS Marketing, said he expected the network would spare little to promote the interview, given its combination of “three magic words: ‘Oprah. Harry. Meghan.’”