United Kingdom

ITV confirms Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and Meghan

ITV today confirmed it will show Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey next Monday evening after paying £1million for the rights.

The broadcaster will air the bombshell two-hour special next Monday from 9pm to 11pm, which will be 20 hours after it debuts on US network CBS at 1am UK time.  

ITV managing director Kevin Lygo said: 'This interview is already a national talking point and ITV is pleased to be able to offer UK audiences the opportunity to see it.' 

ITV said the show will be called 'Oprah With Meghan and Harry' and will feature an 'intimate conversation' begining with be a 'wide-ranging interview' with Meghan.

It will cover 'everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure'.

Meghan will then be joined by Prince Harry as they 'speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family'.

It comes amid claims that ITV bid less than its rivals Sky and Channel 4 to show the programme, but US producers Viacom CBS wanted to maximise the audience.

A source close to the talks told the Daily Mirror: 'A key aim is for it to do well in the UK and ITV gives it a fair chance of getting the highest ratings of the year so far.'

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's interview with Oprah Winfrey will be shown on ITV and CBS

Negotiations were said to have been completed on Monday, and Harry, Meghan and their charitable foundation are not thought to have received payment for the show.

But ITV has been facing growing criticism over plans to broadcast the interview while Harry's grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh remains in hospital in London.

There have been calls for ITV – which confirmed at 12pm today that it would be showing the interview - to 'await events' before screening the programme in the UK.

Philip, 99, was transferred to St Bartholomew's Hospital on Monday for tests on a pre-existing heart condition and treatment for an infection.

This comes after he spent nearly two weeks in the private King Edward VII's Hospital, and public relations consultant Mark Borkowski said the timing is 'just horrendous'

ITV announced it would show the Oprah interview in a press release issued at 12pm today

Harry and Meghan are not being paid for the interview with chat show queen Oprah Winfrey 

Meghan will talk about her experience of race issues in Britain during the interview with Oprah 

He added: 'Anybody who looks at this through the optics of a caring family, even a family who are estranged from one another, it's very uncomfortable as you edge towards Sunday.'

Covid stops the Queen seeing Philip in hospital

The Queen is unlikely to be able to see Prince Philip until he leaves hospital due to Covid regulations.

The monarch, who is being kept regularly updated about her husband's condition, will not be permitted to visit him at St Bart's in London, where he was transferred on Monday.

Visitors are currently excluded apart from a handful of 'exceptional' circumstances, including end of life. 

The Queen did not visit him at King Edward VII's Hospital as she is reluctant to cause disruption to any hospital's vital work and knows her presence would place unnecessary pressure on staff.

It means the Queen will have been parted from her husband of 73 years, pictured, for at least three weeks. 

St Bart's said: 'Our first duty is to the patients we serve, and to maintain their safety at all times we need to control visiting.' 

The PR and crisis management expert said that if Philip's health declined, Harry and Meghan's fate would be 'in the lap of the gods'.

He added: 'If you were strategically giving advice about mitigating reputational damage, you would show huge empathy by postponing.'

Any worsening of Philip's health will raise issues for ITV. Experts say this could lead to major problems for advertisers airing commercials during the show.

One senior TV executive said: 'The issue is whether ITV will take a big bath if advertisers don't want to be in it and also there is the wider collateral damage. Also, ITV airs a lot of royal documentaries – will the palace stop co-operating?'

In dramatic promotional clips released on Monday, Oprah is seen asking Meghan if she was 'silent or silenced', with the Duchess's answer not revealed.

In response to a comment by the Duchess, the presenter says: 'Almost unsurvivable. Sounds like there was a breaking point?'

At one point in the trailer, Oprah tells viewers: 'Just to make it clear to everybody, there is no subject that is off-limits,' as Meghan nods in agreement.

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams, who was editor of International Who's Who for 25 years, said that ITV's decision to buy the rights to the 'highly sensational' interview was 'deplorable'.

A 30-second advertising slot for the American broadcast is reportedly costing $200,000 (about £144,000).

It has also been revealed that Meghan will talk about her experience of race issues in Britain during the interview.

Police outside St Bartholomew's Hospital in London where Prince Philip is being treated

The Queen, Meghan and Prince Harry on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018

There is a growing expectation that the Duke and Duchess's talk with the US chat show queen will live up to its billing of having no subject 'off-limits'. 

The journalist who broke the story that the Sussexes were doing the TV interview claimed Meghan's comments about 'the issue of race in Britain' would be 'what we will all be talking about' the day after it is aired.

Chris Ship, the royal editor for ITV News, told Good Morning Britain yesterday: 'I know that she's going to mention things like mental health and the impact that being in the UK had on her mental health.

'I know that she's going to mention about the press intrusion... but also she's going to raise the issue of race in Britain.'

Mr Ship suggested this would be the main thing viewers discuss after watching the interview, to be broadcast in the US on Sunday night.

Meghan's mother Doria is African-American and her father Thomas is white.

'Oprah With Meghan' and Harry will be shown on ITV next Monday from 9pm 

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