Fact Check: Were Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Paid for Oprah Interview?

The explosive Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will undoubtedly be one of the biggest TV events of 2021.

Potentially damaging allegations were hurled at Britain's Royal Family by Meghan and Harry, including that one member had "concerns" about how dark the color of Archie's skin would be before he was born.

Some commentators have claimed the interview has been extremely profitable for the couple and for Oprah's multimedia company, Harpo Productions.

The Wall Street Journal reported on March 5 that CBS paid between $7 and $9 million for rights to broadcast the interview, during which advertisers had to pay $325,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time during the two-hour interview.

The Claim

Across social media, there was speculation about whether Meghan and Harry were paid for their appearance with Oprah.

On both sides of the Atlantic, commentators shared their opinions on the lucrative interview, with some questioning how much money went to the couple.

On Twitter, several commentators spoke about the interview in posts that collectively accumulated thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets.

When you choose to reveal the sex of your unborn baby in a TV interview in return for millions of pounds, then you pretty much give up any pretence that you want to protect your privacy. They will have known for weeks but chose to sell that intimate detail. #MeghanandHarryonOprah

— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) March 8, 2021

U.K. radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer said in one post: "When you choose to reveal the sex of your unborn baby in a TV interview in return for millions of pounds, then you pretty much give up any pretense that you want to protect your privacy. They will have known for weeks but chose to sell that intimate details."

Hartley-Brewer later clarified her comments, tweeting: "that interview was their way of proving their box office appeal to Netflix, Spotify and anyone else who'll hire them just for their names and titles. That interview will have a huge payday."

Others also commented on Oprah's multimillion-dollar interview stating the reported $7 million to $9 million price tag for CBS.

Please note this is a 7 mill interview!

— Patti Stanger (@pattistanger) March 8, 2021

CBS has added a half hour to Oprah’s Harry and Meghan prime time special tomorrow night. Now 2 hours. It’s also been revealed the couple were paid in the $7 million dollar range.

— Cadillac Jack (@ATLCadillac) March 7, 2021

This interesting piece begs key questions. CBS Entertainment is paying $7-9 million:
- to whom?
- the interview subjects say they aren’t being paid. Presumably not directly, but what about indirectly? https://t.co/Hl5jcXejIA

— Richard Tofel (@dicktofel) March 6, 2021

The Facts

At the start of the interview, Oprah stated that in addition to no questions being off-limits, that Meghan and Harry would not be paid for their involvement.

Speaking to Meghan, Oprah said: "There has not been an agreement, you don't know what I'm going to ask, and there is no subject that's off-limits and you are not getting paid for this interview."

In response, Meghan said: "All of that is correct."

The Wall Street Journal reported that money paid by CBS for the two-hour event went directly to Harpo Productions. As part of the agreement, the network "has rights to license the special in international markets."

A representative for Harpo Productions recently told E! News that no payment of any kind was made to the couple or their foundation for the interview or for licensing fees.

In addition, a spokesperson for the Sussexes also told The Wall Street Journal, the couple was not compensated for their appearance.

The Ruling

False.

Meghan and Harry could receive high-paying offers for roles or appearances following their primetime interview with Oprah.

However, all parties involved in the interview have strongly denied any payment went to the couple or their foundation.

The money paid by CBS to secure rights went to Harpo Productions and the network has since secured payment from a major U.K. broadcaster to air the interview there.

ITV reportedly paid £1 million for the tell-all exchange following a bidding war.

The explosive interview aired on Sunday
Explosive allegations against the British Royal Family were made during the two-hour interview. In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, 2021, Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on a CBS Primetime Special and premiered on CBS on March 7, 2021. Handout / Handout/Harpo Productions