Piers Morgan: was he friends with Meghan Markle before she met Prince Harry, and Oprah interview row explained
Meghan Markle’s name is one that has appeared frequently on Piers Morgan’s Twitter account
and live on Freeview channel 276
As former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan gears up to launch his new news channel TalkTV, the presenter has said that his departure from ITV over his comments about Meghan Markle was a “farce”.
Morgan’s history with Markle dates all the way back to 2015, and prior to his incessant articles, tweets and TV segments criticising her, he has claimed that, in the past, they used to be friends.
This is what you need to know.
Was Piers Morgan friends with Meghan Markle?
In 2015, Morgan began following a handful of actors from the TV show Suits on Twitter, including Markle, who starred on the show as paralegal Rachel Zane from 2011 to 2018. Markle followed him back.
She reportedly sent Morgan a direct message on the platform saying that she was a “big fan” of his. At the time, Morgan had been a judge on America’s Got Talent - he had been a judge on the show from 2006 to 2011, and in 2015 had returned as a guest judge.
He was also a familiar face on a number of US channels as well before he joined Good Morning Britain later in 2015.
In September of that year, Morgan shared an article that Markle wrote for Elle which detailed her personal experiences with racism as a biracial woman. Morgan shared the article on his Twitter account, describing it as “brilliant”.
Morgan frequently tweeted about Suits and, in a reply to a person on Twitter, called himself a “superfan” and claimed that Markle had sent him screener episodes.
He wrote: “Megan very kindly emailed the episodes to me. She’s good to her superfans.”
On 30 June 2016, Morgan tweeted that it was great to “finally meet” Markle. Markle has since deleted her Twitter account, meaning that any correspondence with Morgan on the platform has been lost.
The following month, in July 2016, Markle and Prince Harry began dating, with their relationship then going public later that year in October.
On 1 November 2016, Morgan tweeted Markle about Suits, writing: “Hi @meghanmarkle, I have a vital question to ask you on behalf of all British subjects: when’s the next series of @Suits_USA airing here?”
A couple weeks later, Morgan then published a Daily Mail column about his meeting with Markle earlier that year.
He wrote: “In late June, [Markle] messaged me to say: “I’m in London for a week of meetings and Wimbledon, would love to say hi!”. I suggested my local pub in Kensington.”
Morgan described Markle as “strikingly beautiful, intelligent (she has two degrees, in theatre and international relations) and has a fun, feisty personality that flits easily between serious and frivolous subject matters”.
He added that Markle has the “beauty, brains, charm and a great sense of humour” and that she’s “an ambitious, hard-working and talented actress with an impressive passion for things she believes in”.
Morgan ended the piece by writing: “Harry, ignore all the poisonous rubbish you’re reading or hearing about her. Meghan Markle is perfect princess material.”
In 2017, Morgan tweeted that his “sole interest in Pippa Middleton’s wedding” was what Markle was going to wear. In November that year, Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement, to which Morgan tweets: “Congrats to Meghan & Harry. My friend will make the perfect modern bride. Ps Do I get an invite @meghanmarkle?”
Later that month, Morgan wrote another Daily Mail column which he titled: “Hearty congratulations, Harry, you picked a real keeper (even if your romance did destroy my beautiful friendship with the amazing Meghan Markle).”
In the piece, Morgan described their meeting as a “strictly platonic” date and added that he hadn’t heard from Markle since, which he said was “perfectly understandable under the circumstances”.
He wrote: “I’m guessing the words “Hey darling, fancy going to the pub with my ex tabloid newspaper editor mate Piers?” were never going to go down very well with His Royal Highness, even if we are neighbours and I was quite pally with his mum Diana.”
In January 2018, Markle deleted her Twitter and Instagram accounts, and in May she and Prince Harry tied the knot. Morgan was not invited to the wedding.
Penning yet another Daily Mail column about Markle, Morgan mentioned their meeting once again. He also retold the story of their brief meeting again on the Late, Late Show in September 2018.
He said: “We got on brilliantly and then I put her in a cab. It turned out to be a cab that took her to a party where she met Prince Harry.”
With Morgan’s public attitude towards Markle taking a turn, he interviewed her estranged father, Thomas Markle, on Good Morning Britain in December of 2018. Markle’s strained relationship with her father was heavily publicised across 2017 and 2018.
A new column titled “Meghan Markle is a ruthless social climbing actress who has landed the role of her life and is determined to milk it for all she can” is published by Morgan.
In the article, he wrote: “At this point, I was indeed labouring under the massive misapprehension that we were friends. I was wrong.
“She met Prince Harry at the dinner that night, went on a solo date with him the next night, and I never heard from her again. Not a word. I’d been ghosted.”
In the years that have followed, Morgan has written 30 Daily Mail columns criticising Markle.
What did Meghan Markle say during Oprah interview?
In March of 2021, the Duke and Duchess of Essex took part in a special tell all TV interview with host Oprah Winfrey.
The interview saw the royals discussing a number of things, including their relationship, Markle’s experiences within the royal family and her mental health struggles, including issues with suicidal thoughts.
At one point in the interview, Markle explained that she got to a stage where she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore”.
She said: “I went to one of the most senior people just to get help.
“And that you know… I share this because there’s so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help. And I know personally how hard it is to not just voice it, but when you voice it and be told ‘no’.
“And so I went to human resources, and I said I just really, I need help, because in my old job there was a union, and they would protect me.
“And I remember this conversation like it was yesterday, because they said, ‘My heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution’.
“This wasn’t a choice. This was emails and begging for help, saying very specifically ‘I am concerned for my mental welfare’.
“And people were like, ‘oh yes yes it’s disproportionately terrible what we see out there to anyone else’, but nothing was ever done. So we had to find a solution.”
In the interview, the royal couple also alleged that racist comments were made about their, then-unborn, son Archie. Markle also said that her sister-in-law, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, reduced her to tears over a disagreement regarding flower girl dresses.
Why did Piers Morgan storm off of Good Morning Britain?
Following the Oprah interview, Morgan had a lot to say on Good Morning Britain. The day before his dramatic walkout, Morgan issued a scathing segment of the interview, casting doubts on the validity of Markle’s mental health struggles.
For his comments, Morgan garnered over 40,000 complaints to Ofcom, with the media watchdog also launching an investigation.
Referring to Markle’s claim that her pleas for help from senior Buckingham Palace officials were rejected, Morgan said: “Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report.”
Morgan also described Markle as a “pinocchio princess”.
His dramatic walkout occurred on Tuesday 9 March, the day after his attack on the interview, when Morgan’s co-host, Alex Beresford described Morgan’s segment the previous day as “incredibly hard to watch”.
He said: “[Prince Harry and Meghan Markle] have had an overwhelming amount of negative press. I watched the programme yesterday and yes, they had some great press around the wedding… but everything that has followed since has been incredibly damaging to Meghan’s mental health and to Harry.”
Turning to Morgan, Beresford said: “I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this programme.
“And I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one and she cut you off.
“She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she had but yet you continue to trash her.”
It was then that Morgan stood up and walked off set, saying: “Okay, I’m done with this.”
As Morgan was leaving, Beresford said: “Do you know what? That’s pathetic. This is absolutely diabolical behaviour.
“I’m sorry, but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit there and listen - 6:30 to 7 yesterday was incredibly hard to watch.”