The impact of Prince Harry's media blitz
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Prince Harry is speaking out in a series of high-profile interviews to preview his new memoir that's out tomorrow, and it is titled "Spare." In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes," which aired yesterday, Harry talked about his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997. He admitted that for years he didn't believe she was actually dead.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "60 MINUTES")
HARRY: I just refused to accept that she was gone - part of, you know, she would never do this to us but also part of maybe this is all part of a plan.
ANDERSON COOPER: I mean, you really believed that maybe she had just decided to disappear for a time.
HARRY: For a time, and then that she would call us, and we would go and join her.
KELLY: Well, here to talk about the impact of these interviews is NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Hey, Eric.
ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Hi.
KELLY: All right. So tell me more about all these interviews. This is a media blitz. Who is he talking to? What's he saying?
DEGGANS: Well, there's the "60 Minutes" interview with Anderson Cooper, which you heard. And he's also taped an interview with Michael Strahan, which aired on "Good Morning America" and is featured in a half-hour special tonight. He's also done a British TV interview. And in all of them, he's talked about why he and his wife, Meghan Markle, have become alienated from the royal family, their strife, in particular with his brother, Prince William, and how the royal family's alliance with the press led to this caustic coverage of Meghan that was both racist, and it also drove a wedge between him and his brother, William. So Harry told "Good Morning America" that unconscious bias against Meghan, who's biracial, affected both the royal family and the press.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA")
HARRY: It's not racism but unconscious bias. If not confronted, if not learned and grown from, then that can then move into racism. But there was an enormous missed opportunity with my wife.
KELLY: And, Eric, he has talked before in previous interviews about the tensions between his wife and the royal family. Was there anything new here, anything we didn't already know?
DEGGANS: If you follow the royal family closely, there might not have been many surprises. But Harry provides new details on how his father, who was then Prince Charles, told him about Diana's death, how he suspects that his stepmother, Camilla, leaked stories to the press to improve her image at his expense and this physical altercation where he says that his brother, William, attacked him while they were arguing over Meghan. Now, he was paid millions for this book. And he's got a production deal with Netflix. So there is some pressure for him to come up with some attention-getting stories.
KELLY: That's interesting. Stay with that for a second because Harry himself has talked about the concerns he has about feeding the beast of gossip coverage. With that in mind, why is there so much interest in what he's saying? Should we be so interested in this?
DEGGANS: I know. I mean, even a segment like this, right? I mean, I think ultimately what fascinates people about Harry and Meghan's story and TV shows like Netflix's "The Crown" is there's a chance to see a less filtered version of how the royal family operates. Now, Harry's interviews are remarkable in that they feature a member of the royal family doing something they almost never do, which is to speak candidly about these conflicts, trauma and the sorrow inside the family.
KELLY: What has Buckingham Palace had to say about these revelations?
DEGGANS: Well, not much. I mean, Anderson Cooper said that representatives for the royal family wanted to see the "60 Minutes" story before it was broadcast, which CBS News never does. And Michael Strahan said this morning that lawyers for Buckingham Palace asked them, while they were on the air, for a copy of the entire interview, which ABC News also doesn't do. So they seem to be trying to avoid looking like they're stonewalling.
KELLY: Big picture, what is the impact likely to be from these revelations?
DEGGANS: Well, I saw that journalist Michael Wolff said something really interesting, saying that America mostly likes what Harry and Meghan are doing because they see it as them speaking their truth, while many British people might hate it, or fans of the royalty might hate it, because they think the couple is being disloyal. I do think that Harry and Meghan have been able to humanize themselves a bit. And one of Harry's points is that the royal family has this alliance with newspapers where they'll refuse to comment on the record, and then they secretly leak this information to push back. He says he's trying to disrupt that pattern by speaking his piece on the record, in public.
KELLY: And again, his memoir out tomorrow. That is NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Thank you.
DEGGANS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.