British broadcaster ITV said: “Harry and Meghan loaded up a plane and dropped bomb after heavy bomb on Buckingham Palace in their Oprah interview.”
A review in the Daily Telegraph said: “Sussexes deliver enough bombshells to sink a flotilla.”
Peter Hunt, the BBC’s former royal correspondent, said, “The claim of racism is one that will endure. No Palace spin can erase it from the collective memory.”
In his piece for the Spectator magazine, Hunt added that “the only person to emerge relatively unscathed is the Queen — apart from the minor matter that she is the head of the family that has been subjected to such a battering in this broadcast.”
Tina Brown, the Princess Diana biographer, called the interview “kryptonite” to the royal family. She elaborated: “This is a hand grenade that’s been thrown into the heart of the institution. . . . it’s extremely hard for them to refute a lot of the things that they said.”
“Let’s all bow down to the real queen here, who is Oprah,” she said. “We’re going to be talking about this interview for 20 years.”
As of Monday night, Buckingham Palace had not commented on the interview.
During a daily news conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was repeatedly asked for his reaction to the interview. Johnson said that when it comes to matters involving the royal family, “the right thing for prime ministers to say is nothing.”
A lone, tangentially related government comment came from Vicky Ford, Britain’s children’s minister, who told Sky News that there was “absolutely no place for racism in our society,” although she said she hadn’t seen the interview. The interview aired Sunday night in the United States and will air Monday night in Britain.
It was live-blogged, however, by many British newspapers, and on Monday was leading news coverage. Some of the late editions of newspapers ran the stories on their front pages, including the Daily Mirror’s, which read: “They asked how dark Archie’s skin would be,” while the Daily Mail’s splash had: “Meghan accuses Palace of racism.”
Meghan and Harry raised a number of astonishing revelations — and allegations — in their two-hour interview with Winfrey.
Meghan said that when she was a senior member of the royal family, she had suicidal thoughts, but when she tried to seek help she was told that it “wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
She also recalled that when she was pregnant, there were “concerns and conversations” about how dark the skin of her unborn child might be.
The allegations raise difficult questions for the palace regarding their support for mental health issues and attitudes toward racism.
The couple’s supporters and detractors — of whom there are many — were quick to weigh in.
Tennis legend Serena Williams tweeted praise for her “selfless friend.” Meghan’s “words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced,” she said.
Amanda Gorman, the poet who rose to global fame when she performed at President Biden’s inauguration, wrote: “Meghan was the Crown’s greatest opportunity for change, regeneration, and reconciliation in a new era. They didn’t just maltreat her light--they missed out on it.”
Piers Morgan, a British talk show host who never seems to tire of slighting the couple, tweeted that the interview was a “disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family.”
“I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle - but for Harry to let her take down his family and the Monarchy like this is shameful,” he said.
Morgan also got into a heated exchange with Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a lawyer and activist. She said the queen didn’t use her influence to protect Harry and Meghan from racist media coverage. She said that the royal family was part of an institution “rooted in colonialism, white supremacy and racism.”
“I think what you just said about the queen is disgusting,” Morgan said.
“You are disgusting!” Mos-Shogbamimu responded.
Harry told Winfrey the couple would not have stepped away from their roles if they received more support from the family. He recalled that, before they publicly announced that they were stepping back as senior royals, he had multiple conversations with the queen and exchanges with his father, Prince Charles, heir to the throne. And then his father stopped taking his calls.
Harry said that he felt “trapped within the system” when he was a senior member of the royal family, adding that his father and brother are also “trapped.”
Harry said that the royal family was “scared” of the British tabloids turning on them.
Dan Wootton, former executive editor of the Sun newspaper, tweeted that the couple had “blown up their relationship with the Royal Family, especially Charles and William, in the Oprah tell-all.”
“Hard to see a reconciliation given they have branded the royals racist and uncaring. Surely they should now renounce their titles as Duke and Duchess?”
Lewis Goodall, the policy editor for BBC’s current affairs program Newsnight, pointed out, however, that for now it seemed the most damage was to the royal family with these allegations of racism.
“Hard to imagine a worse set of headlines for the Royal Family (and therefore in a sense for the UK state),” he tweeted over the Daily Mail headline about the darkness of the baby’s skin. “Worst schism within the royal family since the Abdication (one which seems unlikely to be healed). And a set of allegations which cannot be swept away.”