It feels like all anyone can talk about this week is Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s highly-anticipated sit-down interview, which is reflected by the two-hour special’s price tag.
According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, CBS is paying a hefty license fee between $7 million and $9 million for the rights to air the “wide-ranging” discussion. “Winfrey will speak with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, in a wide-ranging interview, covering everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure,” a rep for CBS shared in a statement back in February. “Later, the two are joined by Prince Harry as they speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family.”
Before anyone starts casting judgment on Markle and Prince Harry’s motivation for sitting down with the legendary host, a rep for the couple told WSJ that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not receiving financial compensation for their participation.
Meghan Markle, who is currently pregnant with her second child, has been the target of vicious tabloid rumors for the duration of her Royal experience, which has continued tenfold since the news broke that the Duke and Duchess would be breaking their silence. Ahead of Sunday’s primetime special, Buckingham Palace announced it would be investigating bullying accusations against Markle by palace aides, which were originally published in London’s The Times earlier this month.
Many of Markle’s defenders—including close friends and former costars—have criticized the Palace for feeding into attacks against the Duchess. “It’s obscene that the Royal Family, [whose] newest member is currently growing inside her, is promoting and amplifying accusations of ‘bullying’ against a woman who herself was basically forced to [flee] the UK in order protect her family and her own mental health,” tweeted Suits star Patrick J. Adams in an eight-part thread.
In a preview for the event, the Duchess discussed her feelings about speaking out about treatment in such an unprecedented way. “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” she told Winfrey. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”
Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special will air on Sunday, March 7, at 8 p.m. EST and in the U.K. on Monday, March 8, on ITV as part of the agreement between CBS and Winfrey’s production company, Harpo Productions.