My sympathies are with Harry and Meghan - and also with the Queen

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey delivered a masterclass in journalism during her interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, says James Marston. - Credit: PA

Gripping wasn’t it?

I was glued to the telebox for two hours on Monday night as Harry and Meghan sharing their lives into television history.

Glued because no journalist worth his salt could ignore it, glued because it made a welcome change from Midsomer Murders and glued because it was so utterly entertaining and an extraordinary piece of television journalism.

Oprah had them, especially the duchess, singing like canaries from the beginning, all the broadcaster had to do was turn the key in their backs and they were off.

If only everyone was so easy to play.

Oprah’s confessional style, the empathetic frown, the timely “uh ah”, the old trick of saying nothing so the interviewee fills the gap, the clever and subtle way she moved them on then brought them back – it was a masterclass in interview technique and, for me, fascinating to see.

A brilliant, brilliant scoop - and Oprah deserves that success.

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Telling the stories of others is what journalism is all about and Oprah got there first and, in the process, gave us all a momentary and welcome break from corona, lockdown and all the rest.

Nonetheless I can’t help feeling sorry for both of these two youngsters – there’s clearly something that has gone wrong in their lives.

For what it’s worth I’m not totally convinced about their suggestion of fairytale ending – breaking up with one’s family and living with such a division doesn’t strike me as a happy ever after.

Nor, even though it feeds into the narrative, I don’t really believe our royal family are racist either institutionally or personally.

But who am I, or any of us, to make these judgements and assumptions despite, effectively, being invited to?

People will have differing and strong views on all of this and whatever is going on this episode is divisive and therein, as far as I can see, lies the great sadness many felt as they watched this pair as they fed themselves to the media lion.

Whatever the truth may be it was sad to see.

At 45, I’m just old enough to believe in the virtue of the stiff upper lip and the value of discretion, even though that’s clearly very different to Hollywood and must seem old fashioned, or even wrong and misplaced, to some.

Our own presuppositions, whatever they may be, inform our views.

And my sympathy, while with this couple, is also with the Queen, who, after all, has her husband seriously ill in hospital.

Her Majesty’s dedication to our country is proven over the decades of her service and my support and maybe yours, in the final analysis, still lies with her.

And there is another Royal story that, though not quite as sensational, has piqued my attention – The Queen, it has been reported, has got two new corgi puppies.

This little fun fact might be a revelation or a sensation but it points, as far as I can see, to a faith in the future and is perhaps a reminder to us all to focus at least on what is yet to come as much as what has been.

And I can’t help thinking that it is the future we find we exercise most our sense of hope – and let’s hope Megan and Harry find what they are looking for.

Meanwhile the world looks a very different place today than it did a year ago when The Queen said about the pandemic: “We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while and we may have more still to endure, better days will return.”

I know she’s right. And long may she reign.