Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s ‘tell-all’ interview with American talk show star Oprah Winfrey created a furore across the world. Buckingham Palace said it was “saddened” by issues of perceived racism in the royal family and the British press raised by Meghan, saying that these claims would be addressed privately.
The popularity of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has sunk to new lows in the United Kingdom following the Oprah interview broadcast, a new YouGov poll has shown.
The survey, carried out on 10-11 March, just several days after the scandalous programme aired in the UK, revealed that only 45% of respondents have a positive attitude toward Prince Harry now – an eight-point drop from the week before. Meanwhile, 48% of Britons who took part in the poll have signalled their disapproval for the royal, marking the first time when negative opinions about the prince have outweighed positive sentiments.
Meanwhile, Meghan Markle’s popularity also dropped by eight points to 31% in the post-interview era; 58% of British respondents view the duchess negatively, the poll revealed.
This marks a sharp contrast from results of a similar poll carried out before the Sussexes’ royal wedding in May 2018. Back then, Prince Harry had a 76% approval rating and Markle enjoyed 58% approval.
But the things changed dramatically when the two announced in January 2020 that they would leave their senior royal posts to start “financially independent” lives across the pond.
A YouGov poll from October 2020 showed that Prince Harry’s approval rating plummeted to 48%, while only a third of the respondents were pro-Meghan.
But the extent of the drop that followed the televised conversation has been unprecedented.
During the bombshell interview, Meghan Markle revealed that one unnamed senior royal had wondered about the skin color of her unborn son while she was pregnant with Archie. Prince Harry confirmed that this conversation had taken place but refused to reveal the names – he only argued that neither the Queen nor Prince Philip had been involved.
Apart from that, the Duchess of Sussex also argued that all the negativity around her persona made her “suicidal” while in the palace, but she was apparently refused help from the royal household.
Buckingham Palace responded by saying that the royal family was “saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan”.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,” the statement from the palace said, adding that “while some recollections may vary,” they will be taken seriously and addressed “privately” by the family.
Prince William, whose popularity also dropped by four points in the last week but stayed strong with 76% approval, told reporters on Thursday that he hadn’t spoken to his young brother following the interview, but was planning to.
The 1,664 British respondents who took part in the survey signalled that they were not bothered by some of the thought-provoking claims about the crown made in the Oprah talk: the Queen’s approval rating remained 80% positive, with only a relatively small percentage of people among the 18-24 age group seeing the monarch negatively.
Prince Charles’ popularity, however, declined by several points this week to now wiggle at the 49% mark.