Meghan and Harry interview brings 725,000 viewers to RTÉ2

Oprah special with couple on track to be in top 20 biggest shows on Irish TV this year

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle speak to Oprah Winfrey for a CBS interview special. Photograph: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP

Oprah Winfrey's interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was a ratings hit for RTÉ2, drawing an average audience of 725,000 people to the channel on Monday night.

Almost 54 per cent of people watching television at the time were tuned into the show. This was the same audience share observed in the UK, where 11.1 million people watched the special on ITV.

The royal interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which aired from 9.30pm until 11.15pm, is by some distance the most-viewed programme on RTÉ2 so far this year, the overnight ratings from industry body TAM Ireland and research firm Nielsen indicate.

The figure puts CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry on track to finish in the top 20 biggest programmes on Irish television this year. It will also likely be one of the most-watched non-sport programmes of 2021.


There have been a further 100,000 streams on the RTÉ Player to date.

Preliminary figures show at least 17.1 million US viewers watched CBS on Sunday night to see the couple explain their reasons for stepping down as senior members of the British royal family a year ago.

The explosive interview included a number of allegations of racism and mistreatment by the royal family and the UK media.

Media relationship

Prince Harry also suggested his father and brother were “trapped” in the institution and that there was an “invisible contract” between the tabloid press and the royals, who he said lived in fear of the media.

On Tuesday, Guardian News & Media said it disagreed with the UK Society of Editors ’ claim that “the UK media is not bigoted”, made in response to the interview.

"Every institution in the UK is currently examining its own position on vital issues of race and the treatment of people of colour," said Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner.

“As I have said before, the media must do the same. It must be much more representative and more self-aware.”

Financial Times editor Roula Khalaf and HuffPost UK editor-in-chief Jess Brammar were also among those to distance themselves from the Society of Editors statement.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics