A Short History of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Friendship with Oprah Winfrey

Chloe Foussianes
·5 min read
Photo credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions
Photo credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

From Town & Country

With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's highly anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air in less than a week, it's high time to revisit the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes' history with the media mogul, which dates back at least three years.

Below, a timeline of the Sussexes' friendship with Oprah.

She attended their 2018 royal wedding.

When Harry and Meghan tied the knot, Oprah was among the esteemed guests in attendance at the ceremony. "It was more than a wedding, I thought," she later told ET of the royal wedding. "It was a cultural moment. And you could not be there or watching on television… and not feel that there was a shift that just happened in the middle of it."

Oprah also made headlines for spending time with Doria Ragland, Meghan's mom, not long after the wedding. After Ragland was photographed leaving the media mogul's home with gifts, some speculated that Oprah was trying to buy her way into the Sussexes' inner circle—but she was quick to shut down those rumors. "The story was that Meghan's mom had come to my house and she left laden with gifts," Winfrey said. "You know what the gifts were? First of all, she's great at yoga, so I said, 'Bring your yoga mat and your sneaks in case we just want to do yoga on the lawn.' So one of the bags was a yoga mat and the other was lunch."

Photo credit: IAN WEST - Getty Images
Photo credit: IAN WEST - Getty Images

Prince Harry teamed up with her for an Apple TV+ series.

In April 2019, Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry was partnering with Oprah on a documentary series about mental health. "The multi-part documentary series will focus on both mental illness and mental wellness, inspiring viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges each of us faces, and how to equip ourselves with the tools to thrive, rather than to simply survive," read a statement from the palace.

In a CBS This Morning interview with her longtime friend Gayle King, Oprah said that the collaboration came about after she and Harry discovered their shared passion for reducing the stigma around mental health. "I said [mental health] is a big concern of mine too, I want to try and ease the stigma, and he said 'If there's anything I can do to help.' And I go 'Uh...!'" Oprah said. She added that she'd had "secret meetings in London" about the project.

At one point, the series was expected to land on Apple TV+ in 2020. It's unclear if and when it will premiere.

Oprah has repeatedly been publicly supportive of the couple.

"I think she’s being portrayed unfairly," Oprah told Gayle King on CBS This Morning, back in April 2019. “I feel that if people really knew her, they would know that she is not only everything you perceive her as being–graceful and dynamic in holding that position–but that she just has a wonderful warm, giving, funny heart. I see all the crazy press around her, and I think it's really unfair."

After the Sussexes announced their intention to step back as working royals in January 2020, rumors suggested that Oprah might have offered advice on how to best cut ties with the Windsors—but the media mogul quickly shut them down. "Meghan and Harry do not need my help in figuring out what's best for them," she told NBC. "I care about them both and support whatever decisions they make for their family." In a later video, Oprah said that she supported the couple "1,000%," and that Harry "did what he needed to do for his family."

She gave Archie some very special presents.

Oprah told Access Hollywood in 2019 that she sent the couple's newborn a collection of books as a "welcome to the world" gift, following his birth in May. A year later, royal watchers got a look at one of the books in a video released to celebrate his first birthday. In the clip, Meghan read to Archie from Duck! Rabbit!, a popular children's book—but this copy, interestingly, had a sticker affixed to it that read "Archie's Book Club," which looked similar to the Oprah's Book Club emblem.

Oprah magazine later confirmed that Archie's copy of Duck! Rabbit! had been one of the books Oprah gifted—and that the others have the same cute sticker.

Meghan turned Oprah on to her new favorite coffee brand.

In December, the Duchess revealed in a statement that she had invested in Clevr Blends, woman-led, California-based coffee company, touting its "commitment to sourcing ethical ingredients and creating a product that I personally love and has a holistic approach to wellness."

Meghan sent her friend (and now, neighbor) Oprah some samples, and the media mogul wholeheartedly approved, sharing a video about the product on Instagram. "On the first day of Christmas my neighbor “M” sent to me...a basket of deliciousness! (Yes that M👑) My new drink of choice for the morning and night. Wish I had @clevrblends sooner cause I would’ve added it to my Favorite Things list."

In February, the Sussexes taped an interview with Oprah.

News broke in mid-February that Harry and Meghan had agreed to take part in a televised interview with the veteran talk show host.

Gayle King spoke about the highly-anticipated broadcast soon after on CBS This Morning, saying, “I’m told that nothing is off-limits, nothing is off-limits. She can ask anything she wants.” She continued, “A lot of people wanted this interview. I’m so glad that we got it. I’m very curious.”

Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special will air on Sunday, March 7 at 8 P.M. eastern on CBS. If you don't have cable, it will also be available to stream on Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV.

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