The anger of public responses in the build-up to Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Sunday is a sign of the growing chasm between the generations, say expert royal watchers and social analysts.
Rarely have divisions inside the royal family engaged such a cross-section of society, or range of ages, inflaming opinion among those who normally pay little heed to dramas played out at Buckingham Palace.
This time, in addition to old questions of authority, class and privilege, the row concerns race, identity politics, gender, loyalty and patriotism. And when the interview goes out in America, before being aired around the world, including the UK, Monday, the arguments will reach an audience on a grand scale.
“Anthropologically it is so interesting, and that has always been my concern really,” said Robert Lacey, author and royal adviser to Netflix’s hit series The Crown. “In a secular society, they [the Royal Family] are the closest thing we have to religion. Down the years, they only matter if they matter to people – and clearly they still do. That is why Harry and Meghan are going on primetime television in America.”
Social media, together with compelling episodes of The Crown and the sustained popularity of Meghan Markle’s former television show, Suits, mean that younger observers on both sides of the Atlantic feel they are still relevant.
“There is great appeal this time for young people,” added Lacey, who has been writing about the…