With over 17 million viewers in the US alone, “Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” drew the second-largest non-sports audience since last year’s Oscars. Keen to understand the hot takes from this highly anticipated interview, we surveyed 609 viewers in the US and 622 viewers in the UK.

Over eight-in-ten viewers in each country (82-84%) indicate they have been invested in Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s relationship at least since they got engaged and started wedding planning, with the remaining 16-18% not paying attention until the couple distanced themselves from the Royal Family.

So which sentiment prevailed after hearing firsthand from Harry and Meghan? To an extent, it depends on which country you call home. While two-thirds of Americans (67%) concur that they feel “much empathy” for Harry and Meghan, those in the UK are more split between feeling “much empathy” (42%) and “some empathy” (36%). Additionally, those in the UK are more apt than Americans to not feel any empathy for this couple (22% vs. 9%).

Among those feeling empathy, by far the top two statements/allegations viewers sympathized with were Meghan being denied help or resources after vocalizing her mental health struggles and/or members of the Royal inner circle expressing concerns to Harry about how dark the skin color of his children might be (62-73%).

As for the interviewer herself, viewers chiefly depicted Oprah Winfrey as a good listener, empathetic, professional, and/or considerate, with Americans a bit more praiseworthy than Brits. Notably, nearly one-in-four UK viewers (23%) perceived Oprah as biased (vs. just 11% of Americans). 

Now that the Queen has released her own statement, as for additional actions viewers hope will be taken post-interview, family first is a common theme, with at least four-in-ten watchers in both countries hoping the relationships between Harry and his brother, William and Harry and his father, Prince Charles will be mended (39-45%). At least four-in-ten in each country also hope to see Harry and Meghan keep to a more private lifestyle now that they’ve been able to discuss this openly (41-45%). Finally, Americans appear to be more intrigued to see Harry and Meghan continue to grow their brand by way of engaging content through their deals with popular platforms  (22% vs. 14% of in the UK).

While Harry and Meghan made it through this highly anticipated interview without being “cancelled,” is cancel culture starting to run its course? Check out our upcoming post for fresh insights on cancel culture!

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Bess Devenow

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