If Twittersphere can be viewed as a microcosm of global reaction to Oprah's explosive interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, then the Royal Family is facing a devastating crisis.
Even before the two-hour special aired on ITV on Monday night, #AbolishTheMonarchy was trending on the social media platform, as one sensational claim after another emerged from across the pond, where it was broadcast on CBS on Sunday.
Last night it was the turn of viewers in the UK to watch the bombshell interview. The most damning allegation levelled at an unnamed member of the Royal Family was one of racism. A speechless Oprah looked on in shock, as Meghan claimed there had been 'concerns and conversations about how dark' the couple's unborn child would be.
The chat show host asked: “Who is having that conversation...with you?
“What? Hold up, hold up. There's a conversation with you about how dark your baby is going to be?”
Mum-to-be Meghan pointed out the conversation had taken place with Harry, adding: “Potentially. And what that would mean or look like.”
Following the interview, Oprah appeared on CBS This Morning, to explain that Harry had wanted it made clear that it had not been the Queen or Prince Philip who had been involved in that conversation. But the damage had already been done.
And the shocking revelations just kept coming – including a lack of support for Meghan as she struggled with her mental health and thoughts of suicide and claims that security – and a title - wouldn't be forthcoming for the couple's baby son, Archie. The pair told Oprah that when they approached the Palace to ask if Meghan could seek professional help, they were told by officials that this was not possible. Speaking of those suicidal thoughts, Meghan said: “I thought it would have solved everything for everyone.”
And in a scathing indictment of the institution, Prince Harry said his biggest concern was history repeating itself, referring to his mother's treatment by the paparazzi – and an unwillingness by the Palace to step in to help.
When asked by Oprah why the pair had quit the UK, Prince Harry replied: “A lack of support and understanding.”
Pushed for clarification, he went on to blame both the Press and Palace but denied he had 'blindsided' the Queen about leaving, saying he had 'deep respect' for her.
Prince Harry also compared being part of the Monarchy to being "trapped" and told how he had to work on his relationship with Prince Charles. On the subject of Prince William, he revealed that they were having 'space'. He went on to say that he would always be there for his brother and his family, but that it would have made a 'huge difference' if they had supported them amid the racism, pointing out that he'd been 'hurt'.
Undoubtedly, the interview made for fascinating, compelling and, at times, uncomfortable, viewing. It certainly lived up to the hype that nothing was "off limits". And not surprisingly, it's divided opinion both in the UK and the States. The Hollywood Reporter branded as 'hysterical' the reaction of the British Press, while The New York Times said the interview was 'full of bull'. Good Morning Britain's Piers Morgan described it as "a nauseating two hour whine-athon" and a "disgraceful diatribe of cynical race-baiting propaganda, designed to damage the Queen as her husband lies in hospital, and destroy the Monarchy".
In a heated debate with Morgan yesterday, author and women's right activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said the Monarchy was 'rooted in colonization, white supremacy and racism', while celebrities such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Serena Williams were swift in their defence of Meghan, with the tennis star describing her as 'selfless', 'noble' and leading by example, 'with empathy and compassion'.
As the programme aired in the UK last night, viewers and commentators took to Twitter to vent. While some users accused Meghan of playing to her acting strengths, others expressed outrage at her treatment.
The Greatest Showman star Hugh Jackman praised the couple's "courageous interview", but LBC host Nick Ferrari wrote: “So the first time we see Harry, he is literally henpecked. You decide.”
At the time of going to press, there was still no reaction to the interview from the Royal Family. By the time the exposé drew to a close last night, #GodSaveTheQueen was trending on Twitter as supporters of the Monarchy voiced their support. But issues like racism and mental health are too important to ignore and the fall-out from The Interview will cast a long shadow over the Monarchy until they are addressed.