Image showing: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in interview with Oprah
In a shocking new video that emerged last Friday, two YouTubers named Josh Pieters and Archie Manners hoaxed four UK “royal experts” into giving a post-interview analysis of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey days before it aired to the public.
The London-based pair, who have infamously pranked various celebrities before such as Katie Hopkins and Gemma Collins, left many viewers questioning the integrity of royal experts and whether their commentaries on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) are trustworthy or not.
The four leading royal experts featured in the YouTube video were the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter, CNN’s royal commentator Victoria Arbiter, Majesty Magazine’s editor-in-chief Ingrid Seward, and royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams.
Days before the interview was broadcasted on CBS in the US and ITV in the UK, the YouTubers had invited the royal commentators onto a fake TV production company known as Beneath The Fold Productions Ltd, to give their thoughts and immediate reactions to the high profile interview that they themselves had not seen.
Image showing: Contract Between “beneath the fold Ltd.” and the royal commentators
After receiving an undisclosed fee, the experts were under the impression that their supposed instant reaction and expert insight into Harry and Meghan would only be shown after the Oprah interview had aired. They responded “no” when asked whether they had seen the real interview but then provided their critique of Harry and Meghan, as if they were genuinely reacting to the full interview.
Despite the fact that none of the experts had actually watched the full interview, they were quick to provide their thoughts on it. Ingrid Seward boldly said: “From start to finish, Meghan was acting,” when asked for her overall impression of the interview. Alternatively, Richard Fitzwilliam asserted that: “It was not a balanced interview,” before later suggesting that “…Oprah was a friend [of Harry and Meghan] and gave them an easy ride.”
When asked whether Oprah Winfrey was “soft” on the couple, Victoria Arbiter replied: “She did ask the tough questions, she had to ask the tough questions… but at the same time, I think she did ask those questions in a sympathetic light” and that she was “certainly favouring Harry and Meghan.”
Image showing: Royal commentators during the video
Some of the experts were also tricked by the YouTube duo into discussing false topics supposedly covered in the interview, such as Markle’s refusal to have the Covid-19 vaccine which was labelled as “selfish” by Dickie Arbiter. Her support for the Balham Donkey Sanctuary, which experts explained away as Markle’s love for animals, also came up. The topics were surprisingly not questionable for the so-called experts who supposedly know a lot about the Duchess.
Pieters and Manners did not intend to use the video as an attack on the media but to encourage people to scrutinise experts more, since experts can “charge news organisations for their views, and their views do shape public opinion.” On Twitter, Pieters said: “With Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview coming, me and Archie wanted to see if royal experts were always truthful with how they report on them.”
On the other hand, the royal commentators claimed that they were being led-on and were told only relevant comments would be used in the final cut. The duo denied this and counter-argued that the royal experts signed release forms which gave them full rights to use the video however they pleased.
Dickie Arbiter protested: “This was deliberately misleading and a scam. I commented only on clips already in global circulation, but my interview was edited so as to imply I was speculating on the full-programme interview. I was not speculating. I do not speculate.” Fitzwilliam also alleged that his comments were “used out of context.”
The pair, however, strongly insisted that the edits were fair and not misleading. The video has since received over one million views on YouTube. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s real interview has caused chaos for the Royal Family and is making headlines worldwide.