The conversation, which is expected to attract millions of viewers, could mark the transition from the royal to the Hollywood elite

If Oprah Winfrey’s highly anticipated and potentially explosive interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex airs in prime time on Sunday night, millions are expected to be watching in the U.S. It will be the couple’s first interview since it started Resigned from his royal duties in 2020, but it could also mark the moment the Sussexes evolve from British royalty to Hollywood elite

“Having a big interview with these royals or ex-royals and having Oprah Winfrey do it raises – as always – the question of who is the bigger star here, the interviewer or the interviewees?” said Robert Thompson, professor of television and film at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School

While Meghan already had a successful acting career and was well known in the US prior to marrying Harry, since moving to the US last year, the couple has dominated drugstore magazines and online gossip sites, all obsessed with her haunt lives in California as well as every turn of her divide with the royal family, which seemed to deepen even further this week

While some in the UK were concerned about the timing of the interview with Prince Philip staying in the hospital, commentators in the US have mainly focused on allegations that the Palace appeared to have attempted a “smear” campaign previously on air and the further revelations that may be in stock

“You said some pretty shocking things here,” Winfrey says of the couple in a teaser clip from the two-hour interview posted this week

“How do you think of the palace when you tell your truth today?” Winfrey asks Meghan at the beginning of another “I don’t know how you can expect us to still be silent after all this time,” Meghan replies

After signing lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify to fund their new independent life, the couple have spoken out on a number of hot-button issues in the US, from racism and police brutality following the assassination of George Floyd until the vote rights

In a January cover story in People magazine, the “progressive” couple were credited with “forever changing the royal family” and continued to “shake up the monarchy” as they settled in California with their young son Archie settled down

Both Britain and the couple are scrutinized in the interview Winfrey is expected to interview the couple about the racism Meghan was exposed to while in the UK, how the couple were “persecuted” by the British tabloids felt and what role they played in their decision to move to the state

“I know a lot of women of color were quite appalled by the undercurrents of racism and classicism that have dominated much of the coverage of Meghan Markle, especially in the UK press,” said Keli Goff, a US columnist

Maiysha Kai, editor-in-chief of Glow Up and co-host of The Root Presents: It’s Lit, said the couple had been strategic in choosing the interviewer

“I don’t think your divestment of your daily obligations to be royal means that you will drop great treason, but I think there is an opportunity here to clear the record a little about that what the world calls ‘Megxit’, a term we’ve all used but which is implicitly racist, “she said

“Meghan’s color should have been irrelevant to the subject, but then we saw that despite the royal family’s approval of the marriage, we saw backlash from some in the media and the public”

Winfrey played a prominent role in the couple’s life in the US, initially helping them find a temporary home (the Beverly Hills estate of her friend Tyler Perry, the film producer) Now the Sussexes and Winfrey neighbors are in a seaside enclave of Santa Barbara that is home to loads of Hollywood heavyweights, and they even exchanged Christmas presents

To complete what Thompson called “a ritual transition”, the couple are “faced with entering the new territory and leaving the old one” And it is Winfrey, as she has done with countless others for decades, who will be a ceremonial guide and who is expected to get her loyal million-dollar audience to watch

“A prime-time Oprah interview is perhaps one of the truly symbolic moments of arrival because Oprah is always about reinvention,” added Thompson,

Although a recent Morning Consult poll found the Queen remains the most popular queen among Americans, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Harry and Meghan rank third and fourth on whether or not they’ll attract an audience that can keep up with that of the Netflix drama The Crown (viewed by 78 million households worldwide according to the streaming service), remains to be seen

Buckingham Palace announced last month that Harry and Meghan would not be returning as working members of the royal family after their 12-month separation, the statement meant that the couple and their son Archie would formally – and eventually – withdraw from royal duties would resign

Mark Borkowski, a British branding expert, believes this formalized hiatus could give the couple the freedom to complete their reinvention or renaming in a more timely manner

“The point is that you are on a journey and a lot depends on the momentum you get around you,” says Borkowski. “This is where she could be in 15 or 20 years. Could she have a shot at the presidency? I think she probably could ”

Oprah Meghan and Harry

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