Here's the deal with payment for Meghan and Harry's Oprah interview

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
·4-min read
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got everyone talking a few weeks back when it was announced that the couple would be giving an interview - the first they've done since stepping down as senior royals - to Oprah Winfrey. Last night, CBS ran the primetime special in the United States, and ITV will be airing the interview in full this evening to millions of viewers in the UK.

The "wide-ranging" interview was set to cover everything from what it was like for Meghan "stepping into life as a royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure," and it seems it's certainly lived up to expectations. During the conversation with Oprah, Meghan Markle opened up about the poor mental health she'd suffered during her time as a working royal, as well as revealing she and Prince Harry were already married at the time of their royal wedding.

Prince Harry also joined in parts, sharing that the couple are expecting a baby girl later this year. All in all, there's been lots of personal information shared - so did Meghan and Harry get paid for speaking to Oprah?

There has been speculation either way, but at the start of the interview, Oprah addressed it, confirming the couple were not receiving any money for speaking out.

Photo credit: Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese
Photo credit: Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese

"Before we get in to it, I just want to make it clear to everybody that even though we’re neighbours… that there has not been an agreement, you don’t know what I’m going to ask, and there is no subject that’s off-limits and you are not getting paid for this interview," said the presenter.

In response, Meghan said: "All of that is correct."

This is in keeping with a previous report from Page Six, which stated the couple didn't take a fee for the interview. "A spokeswoman for the Oprah Winfrey Network confirmed that the couple won’t be collecting a paycheck and said that no donations are being made to their charity."

And although no money was exchanging hands for the Sussexes, that doesn't mean the interview itself isn't big business for the TV networks. According to the Wall Street Journal, CBS, who aired the show in America, paid "a license fee of between $7 million and $9 million for the rights to air Ms. Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex, according to people familiar with the pact."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

It's reported that as part of the agreement with Winfrey's production company, Harpo Productions, the network "has rights to license the special in international markets," which it has done in the UK, with ITV broadcasting the special tonight.

CBS is also reportedly maximising advertising profits from the interview, reportedly charging around twice the normal price of ad space for the breaks in the show.

While there were news outlets that would probably have paid millions directly to Meghan and Harry for this exclusive insight into their lives and minds, it seems for them, that's not what it's about. And it's not particularly surprising.

Meghan Markle has long been the target of unwarranted invasion into her life. She faced regular harsh and unnecessary criticism after joining the royal family, and ultimately ended up suing a newspaper (and winning) after they published parts of a private letter written to her father following her May 2018 wedding.

Photo credit: BEN STANSALL - Getty Images
Photo credit: BEN STANSALL - Getty Images

Naysayers might argue that giving an interview goes against Meghan's desire for privacy, but in reality it does the exact opposite. Privacy does not mean the removal of all public information; it means having the ability to control what is and isn't known about you in the public domain.

This interview has allowed Meghan to tell her story in her own words; something she was clearly unable to do in her position as a working member of the British royal family. For the Sussexes, setting the record straight is clearly important to them, and without sounding too much like the Mastercard advert... that's priceless.

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