• Tue. Mar 2nd, 2021

Harry and Meghan interview: Oprah’s links to Prince go back 30 years

ByDNP

Feb 22, 2021

Oprah’s links to Harry and Meghan go back almost 30 years to when she tried to land an interview with Princess Diana (Picture: Getty)

Oprah Winfrey tried to persuade Princess Diana to tell her story on the global stage, regarding it as the ‘highlight’ of her career.  

The chat show doyenne held a private lunch with Prince Harry’s mother almost three decades ago to coax her into a tell-all chat.

Oprah has landed a major royal scoop with the sit-down interview she has recorded with the Prince and Meghan Markle, a move which has widened the couple’s gulf with the Queen and Buckingham Palace.

The 90-minute interview is said to have been filmed last week for US TV station CBS and is due to air on March 7.

Anticipation is rife that it will be the most revealing royal set-piece to air since Princess Diana’s interview with Martin Bashir in 1995. Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, are already friendly with Oprah, who has a £71million home near the couple in Santa Barbara, California.

The presenter has long-standing links to the British royal family which go back to the mid-1990s, when she vied with US broadcaster Barbara Walters to land an interview with Princess Diana.

At the time of Oprah’s overtures in 1994, the princess had not given an in-person account of her marriage to Prince Charles in the media.

She is said to have shunned an approach by Oprah the previous year, before giving her confessional interview to Bashir on BBC Panorama.

Harry and Meghan have attracted headlines around the globe since announcing their chat with Oprah Winfrey (Picture: EPA)

Up to that point, Oprah’s attempts to win the Princess of Wales round are said to have included pitching to her over a private lunch.

Princess Diana tricked Oprah into eating a high-calorie mousse while she had a fat-free option, according to a later reminiscence of the meeting by the royal’s chef Darren McGrady.

Oprah reportedly said at the time: ‘Getting the princess would be the highlight of my career.’

Princess Diana at Prince William’s first day at Eton in 1995, the year she revealed intimate details about her marriage to Prince Charles (Picture: Tom Wargacki/WireImage)

The chat show host, 67, then attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018 and is supportive of their decision to quit royal life in the UK.

The forthcoming chat – which is billed as ‘intimate’ and ‘wide-ranging’ – shows how Oprah has played a long game with the British royals before finally securing her landmark interview.  

Princess Diana famously admitted that there were ‘three of us’ in her marriage to Charles, the Prince of Wales, as she opened up to Bashir about their relationship. She is said to have later regretted the interview because of the impact on William and Harry.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, however, have the benefit of hindsight as well as the Duchess’s media-handling skills, which include her previous role in US television drama Suits.

Media expert Jonathan Gabay said: ‘Oprah missed an opportunity with Di that she clearly wants to get right with Megan and Harry.

‘However, it would be wrong to draw a direct comparison between the two interviews because Meghan has a huge advantage over Diana.

The ‘Oprah effect’ has lifted many products and personalities to new heights but may have long-lasting consequences for Harry and Meghan (Picture: Getty)

‘She can study how the media interviewed the princess and how the princess herself learnt how to use the media.

‘It is a masterclass in PR, provided by Diana herself.  

‘Armed with footage from key interviews such as with Bashir, she can approach the Queen Bee’s lair with the knowledge of what to say, what not to say and, most important of all, how to respond verbally and non-verbally to any questions – however coated with honey.

‘It will take her acting skills from wearing a suit to having a wardrobe of communication tools.’

Harry and Meghan have drifted further from their royal lives in the UK after it was announced on Friday that they will lose a string of official roles and patronages.

It’s thought that Meghan will be the main focus of the interview, and will address their lives with the Royal Family, while Harry will appear at the end talking about their new start in California.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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