As the excitement builds before Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview, Chrissie Russell looks back on previous Royal revelations and explores Ireland’s enduring fascination with the British monarchy
« Three people in this marriage »: Princess Diana during her infamous 1995 panoramic interview. Photo by Getty
Oprah Winfrey leans back in her chair, her serious gaze on addressed to their respondents. She is about to ask the question everyone wants to hear: What makes someone leave the « fairy tale » of the life of a royal princess?
« Why don’t you just behave yourself? Do what you are told ? « The challenges of the experienced talk show host. « Just play the game and follow the program? »
Your guest smiles shyly. « You could do that, » she says. « If you like it. »
But a life of royal rules wasn’t for this ex-princess. She is an independent, curious woman. Like a river longing to see what’s around the next corner, it is « hungry for life ». And there are other factors to consider.
« I have to explain that the British press is completely cruel and abusive and so invasive at the moment, » the once high-ranking king reveals to an enthusiastic audience.
The respondent in question is not Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, but Sarah Ferguson, and the year 1996, when the Duchess of York gave the first of two « Tell-All » to chat show Queen Winfrey – gave interviews.
In it, Ferguson described the problems of life as an outsider in the royal family. Complaints ranged from the oppressive dark color scheme in her Buckingham Palace apartment to the inability to fully open windows or use lightbulbs over 30 watts.
« Were you allowed to keep the tiara? » Winfrey asks conspiratorially. « Yes, » smiles Ferguson to a huge applause from the audience.
As Winfrey knows well, this is exactly the type of content we love from Royal interviews. A look behind the scenes that shows, on the one hand, that they have similar weaknesses to us mortals, while on the other hand they are even further removed from reality than ever because they have the gall to complain about minor grievances from such a privilege .
We’re hoping for more of it when Winfrey’s 90 minute interview with the Duchess of Sussex and her husband Harry airs this week – Winfrey is reported to have said it was « the best interview she’s ever done ».
Last week, Google Trends Ireland showed that searches for « Harry and Meghan » have skyrocketed and viewers are no doubt eager to find out where to see the interview that was being seen on this side of the Atlantic In just 24 hours, « An Afternoon with Prince Harry and James Corden » posted on YouTube last Friday received more than six million views.
We love a royal interview and we always have. The infamous Panorama interview, in which Princess Diana revealed that there were “three people” in her marriage to Prince Charles, remains one of the most watched programs in BBC history, with 23 million viewers.
Part of the appeal comes from the fact that the vast majority of royals seem to loathe interacting with the press for most of the time.
Think Prince Harry is scolding Sky News’ Rhiannon Mills for daring to ask a spontaneous question in Africa. Prince Charles (who doesn’t know the microphones could detect him) said, “I hate to do that. Damn people ”to a press package on the ski slopes of Klosters or to his father, Prince Philip, who visibly angered a photographer,“ just to take the damn photo! “At a Battle of Britain event.
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When a king grapples with media, the hope is that he has something juicy to say. Or better yet, if they arrogantly believe that they are in control of their own narrative, they will find themselves straight into an unguarded moment or full car crash scenario – watch Prince Andrew’s stunning 2019 exchange with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis.
Perhaps more interesting, however, is why we Irish viewers are so interested in the television antics of British kings. For example, you cannot imagine such feverish excitement when Oprah interviews Princess Sofia of Sweden instead.
Mary Kenny, author of Crown and Shamrock – love and hate between Ireland and the British monarchy – and an independent Irish journalist – says that our interest in the personal lives of those behind the crown has always been, although the crown political forces were abhorred there.
« I found out that women in rural Ireland had scrapbooks with pictures of Wallis Simpson who was seen as a role model, « she says.
« In Ireland the personal aspect was often at odds with the political because the personal stories were often fascinating and Ireland is a nation of storytellers. »
Kenny believes that as we trust Ireland as a country, we become ours Being able to better perceive the interests of the royals of our closest neighbors without creating old sensibilities for the monarchy.
« They are our naughty pleasure, » laughs royal commentator Noel Cunningham. « It is a fact that magazines or newspapers with stories about the royals sell better per capita in Ireland than in most other countries, and have been for decades.
» I have Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall was officially greeted in Donegal, and the excitement was palpable, warm and amazing. « Even those who were always open to the prospect of a royal visit, said Cunningham at the end, » couldn’t wait to see them. » p>
He adds, « I’ve met a lot of family members and they keep a certain » je ne sais quoi « . There are very few (people) who would decline an invitation to a royal garden party … especially we Irish. »
While we might be interested in seeing Kim Kardashian’s monochrome house or finding out what burger an Oscar-winning burger is eating, there is something specific to our intrigue with royals over consuming mere celebrity gossip. </ p "Celebrities come and go, royals are forever," says Cunningham. "They are apart, they stick to tradition, we know their jewels aren't costumes and we want them to live in their wonderful world with that we can dream. It's as simple as that: Gilded life is beautiful to watch.
He remembers that he wrote to Princess Diana after the Panorama interview and of course is preparing for the Oprah interview with Meghan and Harry w earth.
« The audience will be huge – a fact – but unfortunately the others are still fading a bit towards insignificance after Diana, » he says sadly and adds (perhaps prophetic).
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