Oprah’s interview with Meghan and Harry was compelling stuff. No wonder it attracted an audience of about 30 million across the UK and US alone — not bad for a two-hour chat in someone’s garden.
That said, it was also a frustrating experience for the viewers. It left too much unsaid, with too many loose ends.
So, here are the three questions Oprah didn’t ask that could have made it even more fascinating and enlightening for those millions of viewers:
- What are you hoping to achieve by carrying out this interview? Harry and Meghan knew full well that an interview with Oprah would attract global publicity, and cause immense difficulty for the Royals in the UK. For Harry, it could well mean an unbridgeable divide with his own family. At the very least, it would make their own personal security even more of a challenge. So why do it? Was it about money? Revenge? Catharsis? All three? Something else? We don’t know, because Oprah didn’t ask.
- Why didn’t you ask the Queen for help? Harry and Meghan were keen to heap praise on the Queen, and to absolve her of blame for their difficulties. Harry referred to her as the “colonel-in-chief”. They are, even now, in regular contact. Yet, we also learn that Meghan was contemplating suicide, and felt so emotionally unwell that she went to the palace’s HR department to ask for help — with no success. So why didn’t she and Harry simply ask the Queen for advice and assistance? Did they think she wouldn’t have the power to help, or just wouldn’t be interested? Either way, this was another obvious question that was ignored.
- If the Royals are “stuck in the system”, who’s actually in charge? A fascinating theme of the interview, particularly from Harry, was how Prince Charles, Prince William and the rest are stuck, with no means of escape. Meghan even said that her keys and passport were taken away from her when she got married. In fact, viewers were given the strong impression that the Royals, including the Queen, are mere pawns in a system managed by others. But who are these others? If they are Buckingham Palace officials, let’s hear more about them, their role and who they report to. Or are those who pull the shots actually outside the palace? It would have been instructive, to say the least, to hear the answers to those questions, and to learn who really runs the Royal show that’s so central to the British constitution. But, again, we couldn’t find out, because the question wasn’t asked.
Oprah is an exceptionally brilliant broadcaster. Nobody can become that famous, and earn that much money (about $2.7bn apparently) without knowing exactly what they’re doing. She created two hours of brilliant TV. And just getting this gig was a scoop to match all others.
But that makes it all the more frustrating that she didn’t delve deeply enough on these important subjects. Gripping and intense though this interview was, it must, in crucial respects, go down as a missed opportunity.