Public opinion sharply polarized in the United Kingdom on Monday as the smoke cleared after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
On one side were those who argued Meghan and Harry’s interview was a self-indulgent tirade of unsubstantiated allegations aimed at undermining the monarchy and enhancing their own profiles. On the other stood what appeared to be a stunned, shocked and disbelieving majority, appalled at the treatment Meghan said she had endured.
Nowhere was the national psychodrama clearer than on Britain’s breakfast chat show, Good Morning Britain, anchored by Meghan troll-in-chief, Piers Morgan, who led the charge for those arguing that the interview was a “disgusting slur” on the royal family.
As he did so, his aghast-looking co-presenter Susanna Reid made it clear this wasn’t happening unchallenged on her watch; she angrily accused Morgan of talking over her and not taking Meghan’s allegations with the seriousness they deserved in an on-air confrontation.
Another guest, racial equality activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, called Morgan “a liar and a disgrace” for his attacks on Meghan.
A clip of her berating Morgan was widely shared on social media.
In a later panel on the show, British TV star Trisha Goddard also held Morgan to account over his suggestion that the comments about Archie’s skin color might not have been racist.
Morgan claimed that “most families” might have a conversation about a new baby’s skin colour and tried to say that it was “curiosity” rather than racism.
But Goddard told him: “Why is everybody else such an expert about racism against Black people. I’m sorry Piers, you don’t get to call out what is and isn’t racism against Black people. You can call out all the other stuff you want, but leave the racism stuff to us, ok?”
Morgan views were broadly summarized by a number of tweets he sent after the broadcast, writing: “I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle,” and, “I wouldn’t believe Meghan Markle if she gave me a weather report.”
The British opposition Labour party called for an investigation into the allegations of racism. Kate Green said the accusations by Meghan during an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired in the U.S. on Sunday were “really distressing, shocking.”
Green told Sky News: “If there are allegations of racism then I would expect them to be treated by the palace with the utmost seriousness, and fully investigated.”
Asked if the palace needed to respond to the claims, Green said: “I’m sure that the palace will be thinking very carefully about that, and I certainly think people will be wondering what is going to be said. But there’s never any excuse, in any circumstances, for racism, and I think it is important that action is taken to investigate what are really shocking allegations.”
There has been no official government response to the interview so far. Vicky Ford, the Conservative government’s minister for children, who was undertaking a broadcast round to talk about the full reopening of schools in England, told the BBC she had not seen the interview.
Ford added: “There’s no place for racism in our society and we all need to work together to stop it.”
Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns tweeted: “Today’s Commonwealth Day gives us all another reminder of Her Majesty’s long life of service and duty, continuing to work for us all despite her husband being in hospital. Britain stands with our Queen.”
Fellow Conservative MP Michael Fabricant said: “Every family is dysfunctional one way or another. The holder of every high position will have personal little secrets they want hidden. We are all human. Only HM Queen seems to float selflessly above it all.”