Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's bombshell Oprah interview watched by more than 17 million in the US

It drew the same audience figures as major sporting and celebrity events

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More than 17 million Americans watched Oprah Winfrey's televised bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, according to preliminary data.

Sunday's two-hour interview was the first given by the couple since they stepped back from the British royal family a year ago.

The interview, which was filmed in the garden of the couple's friend in California, included many shocking revelations. Meghan spoke of feeling suicidal, and accused the royal family of racism, while Harry said his father, Prince Charles, had let him down.

epa09060475 Ruth (L) and Ken (R) Campbell watch a televised interview by US television personality Oprah Winfrey of Britain's Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the US netwrok CBS in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA, 07 March 2021.  EPA/KATE CAMPBELL
A couple watch Oprah Winfrey interview Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. EPA

The preliminary audience figures, cited by Variety on Monday, are expected to rise when CBS releases the final viewing figures later in the week. Those kind of audience numbers are usually reserved for large-scale sporting events in the US, and livestreams such as the Oscars, which saw 23.6 million tune in to the live telecast in 2020, making it one of the biggest celebrity events on US television.

The interview was shown on ITV in the UK on Monday evening, however viewing figures for that broadcast are yet to be released.

Meghan and Harry's tell-all interview with Winfrey dominated the conversation on social media, morning television shows and newspaper front pages on Monday in Britain and around the world.

Australian newspapers report in Sydney, Tuesday, March 9, 2021, on an interview of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Oprah Winfrey. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Front pages of Australian newspapers on Tuesday. AP Photo

During the interview, both Meghan and Harry revealed there had been concerns from members of the royal family about how dark Archie's skin would be, before he was born. However, neither would reveal who those conversations were with.

"I think that it would be very damaging to them," Meghan answered. "That was relayed to me from Harry. Those were conversations that family had with him."

Later in the shocking interview, Prince Harry also refused to reveal who had enquired about the race of his future children.

"That conversation, I am never going to share," Harry told Winfrey.

"At the time it was awkward, I was a bit shocked," he said. The conversation took place "right at the beginning" of his relationship with Meghan, he said.

On Monday, Winfrey clarified that it was not the Queen or Prince Philip who had asked those questions.

Speaking to CBS, Winfrey said: "Harry wanted to make sure that I knew and if I had an opportunity to share it that it was not his grandmother nor his grandfather who were a part of those conversations."

- Additional reporting by Reuters