Opinion: Was Meghan Markle acting in her interview with Oprah and Prince Harry?

OPINION: A revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey might sound a somewhat dubious choice for a person like Meghan Markle, who has been subject to intense criticism and vicious attacks by the media from the moment she went on a blind date with Prince Harry in 2016. 

Nearly five years on from that fateful day, here she was, an expectant vision in an Armani dress, inviting a fresh round of public scrutiny.

This time, however, she was armed with a veritable arsenal of royal bombshells, a new baby bump, and of course, her impeccable timing and delivery - no doubt honed from her years as a successful actress. 

But who could blame her? Well, Piers Morgan, for one, but more on that later. 

While Harry and Meghan's TV special was rare, it wasn't unprecedented. Princess Diana famously sat down for a shocking interview with BBC's Panorama in 1995 after she too felt she had been ousted by the Royal Family and mistreated by the press. 

Diana's mournful expression beamed around the world and was seared into the memory of those who watched as the Princess of Wales revealed she couldn't have known the pain she was in for when becoming a royal. She also admitted to self-harming, to feeling utterly over-exposed in the media, and unsupported by the institution she had become a part of.

Sound familiar? 

Opinion: Was Meghan Markle acting in her interview with Oprah and Prince Harry?
Photo credit: BBC

There were many striking similarities between some of the more heartbreaking admissions from both Diana and Meghan's interviews, but perhaps the most relevant was the fact that both women were determined to set the record straight on the narrative of their own lives and who they really were. 

For Diana's "I seemed to be on the front of a newspaper every single day", there was Meghan's "I'm everywhere but I'm nowhere". When Diana revealed she had felt "misunderstood" and "very, very low in herself", Meghan made the jaw-dropping admission: "I didn't see a solution." 

It's no wonder Harry had fears of "history repeating itself". 

Opinion: Was Meghan Markle acting in her interview with Oprah and Prince Harry?
Photo credit: CBS/Harpo Productions

It's also undeniable that Meghan knows how to deliver a one-liner. Her dramatic pauses - or beats, as they're known in showbusiness - the long sighs and hard stares, her former life as a star of Suits, along with many cynical aspersions about her motivations - they've all earned her accusations of putting on a performance for Oprah's cameras. 

To be fair, comparing herself to Disney's The Little Mermaid, who "fell in love with a Prince and lost her voice", probably didn't help. 

Piers Morgan said the "disingenuous" interview was "the acting performance of Markle's life", while The Sun is already running headlines about the Duchess' return to the silver screen. 

  • CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry can be watched in full on ThreeNow.

"Every word, every facial expression carefully planned and choreographed," Morgan wrote in one of his infamous columns in tabloid the Daily Mail

"It's not late, someone should nominate it for the Oscars."

Meanwhile, Twitter is filled with allegations that this was all part of Meghan's grand plan and that her acting skills have played a key part in her manipulating Harry to go ahead with Megxit.

Then again, these are the same people who accused Meghan of being "phony" and "unmaternal" when a video of her reading a book to her baby son Archie was released for charity. 

Opinion: Was Meghan Markle acting in her interview with Oprah and Prince Harry?
Photo credit: CBS/Harpo Productions

The Daily Mail also quickly hired a language consultant to dissect every one of Meghan's words - because of course they did - and his findings were very much at odds with these claims. Tony Thorne from Kings College insisted that the Duchess "was not coached, didn't rehearse her words and spoke from the heart". 

I'm no expert, but I've got no reason to doubt Meghan's sincerity in detailing the emotional anguish she suffered during her time as a royal. In my line of work as an Entertainment Editor, I've become all too familiar with the hideously racist, misogynistic and downright unethical stories written about her and her family, some of whom - looking at you, Samatha and Thomas Markle - have purposely fuelled the flames. 

It's not at all far-fetched to believe that royal life is a lonely, restrictive, pressure-cooker experience, and as mentioned by the couple, when you add issues of race and social media to the mix, it could easily become unbearable. 

Opinion: Was Meghan Markle acting in her interview with Oprah and Prince Harry?
Photo credit: CBS/Harpo Productions

It's also no secret that the Monarchy carefully engineers a pristine image for the public. So precious are the "optics" of the Royal Family, that according to both Diana and Meghan, vulnerable people who threaten to expose weaknesses get shunned, left to fend for themselves in a hostile environment, not of their own making. 

In fact, the only claim of Meghan's that prompted suspicion from me was her insistence that she "didn't do any research" about the Royal Family before marrying into it. "I've never looked up my husband online," she told Oprah. 

You're telling me you didn't Google the guy you were dating, when the guy you were dating was Prince Harry? Not even once? Not when most women I know conduct an extensive, multi-platform sweep of all social media accounts - yes, including LinkedIn - even when their date is some schmuck from Tinder who's only saving grace is that his profile is free from shirtless gym selfies?

Surely not. 

Still, it seems like this newly-liberated Meghan doesn't actually give a stuff if you think she was acting or not. Not anymore. She's said her piece, and she's living out her own self-described happy ending, one that is - apologies to the Little Mermaid in advance - "greater than every fairytale you've ever read". 

Monika Barton is Newshub's Entertainment Editor.