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'What have they done?': What the papers say about fallout from the Meghan and Harry interview

Helen Sullivan

The fallout following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive television interview with Oprah Winfrey dominates Britain’s front pages. After the initial shock over the damning content of the interview, focus has moved to what the accusations of racism and animosity mean for the royal family.

The Guardian leads with “Palace in crisis following devastating racism claim”. Meghan said that Harry had been asked questions by family about how dark their son Archie’s skin might be when he was born. The couple would not reveal which family member asked the question, but Oprah on Monday said that it was neither the Queen nor Prince Philip.

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The Independent’s headline is similar: “Palace faces crisis over racism accusations”, while the Times says the palace is in “turmoil” over the claims.

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The Financial Times includes a picture of Meghan and writes that “royal rift aired in explosive interview” – but the royals are otherwise absent from the front page.

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Tuesday’s i also has the palace in crisis – again over the racism claim in particular.

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The Telegraph focuses on the US response, with President Joe Biden saying “The Duchess has shown courage”.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, relayed Biden’s comments at a briefing on Monday, saying the president and first lady Jill Biden felt, “For anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles with mental health and tell their own personal story, that takes courage.”

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The Daily Mail does not hold back, asking “What have they done?” with “they” referring to Meghan and Harry, rather than the royal family.

The question is preceded by: “Toxic accusations. Incendiary racism claims against their family. Palace left reeling and Queen, 94, in emergency talks. After THAT stinging interview ….”

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The Mirror calls the crisis the worst in 85 years, referring to the 1936 abdication by Edward VIII and his subsequent marriage to Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.

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Metro is focusing on the positives.

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And the Yorkshire Post leads on Boris Johnson’s response to the news, or lack thereof. The UK prime minister said that he would “probably miss” the interview when it first aired, instead choosing to focus on the vaccine rollout.

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The Daily Express – which on Monday led with Meghan’s claim that the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry before Meghan’s wedding – splashes on a photograph of the Queen and the headline: “So sad it has come to this.”

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