Who was the royal racist? Why had Meghan Markle forgotten to tell a U.K. court that she said it was fine for her then-press chief to brief her sympathetic biographers? What is the current state of the relationships between royal family members?
At the end of today’s much-hyped edition of Ellen, we were none the wiser. DeGeneres’ guest, the Duchess of Sussex herself, instead served up soft-focused stories of her past—and ate a tortilla chip in the style of a chipmunk.
The bizarre moment happened as part of a hidden camera segment in which Meghan left the studio and was sent off to interact with food vendors on the studio lot while Ellen whispered instructions as to what to say to them in her ear.
The surreal set-up was the weirdest part of a determinedly controversy-free interview, in which Ellen steadfastly avoided asking Meghan a single one of the burning questions that other journalists might have put forth at such an encounter.
We did not find out, for example, who the allegedly racist member of the royal family was, mentioned during her notorious Oprah Winfrey interview, or whether it was embarrassing to have to tell a British court last week that she had “forgotten” about a lengthy email she sent briefing the authors of the book Finding Freedom. We remain ignorant as to whether she was having second thoughts about her and Harry working for Netflix, given the way they continue to relentlessly exploit the tragic life story of her husband’s mother.
The issue of workplace bullying was not raised by either party. Was this completely avoided because Meghan, like Ellen, has been accused of being perhaps not the most sensitive of workplace curators?
On the plus side, however, we did learn that Meghan will cook Thanksgiving dinner, Harry enjoys the weather in California, and Archie didn’t much like the dinosaur outfit he wore for Halloween.
Charming as these revelations were, anyone expecting Meghan’s friend and neighbor DeGeneres to deliver some hard-hitting questions to the former royal was likely left disappointed by the Duchess of Sussex’s interview.
In a clip to promote the interview released yesterday, Meghan reminisced on her days as a broke actress, recalling how she would drive a “very, very old” Ford Explorer Sport to the NBC lot.
Meghan said, “At a certain point the key stopped working on the driver’s side, so you couldn’t get yourself in through the door. I would open the trunk and climb in and then pull it shut behind me and crawl over all my seats to get out, that’s how I would come to and fro.”
Meghan added that if anyone saw her she would “play it off,” saying, “I’d go like, ‘Oh, I’m just looking for my resume and my highlighters or my script.’”
DeGeneres also asked Meghan about a childhood business that she first mentioned in an interview with the DealBook summit last week. Meghan said that she made scrunchies and sold them at school. Ellen asked, “How innovative of you. What did you make them out of?”
Meghan said, “My mom would take me down to downtown LA where all the fabrics are, you can buy them really affordably and I would get some of the remnants and I would buy the elastic and tie the knot… I was at elementary school, so I was nine.”
Ellen replied, “That’s amazing. Did you want to sell other things, or that’s the one thing you thought: I can sell these?”
Meghan said, “It was a thing at the time and I guess they are back now, people are wearing scrunchies again.”
A significant portion of the interview was devoted to promoting Meghan’s children’s book, The Bench.
Meghan explained that the book had originally been just a private poem she had written for her husband for father’s day.
But, Meghan explained, she had been moved to publish it after “it was shared with a couple of friends and people that we were close with” and they told her, “This resonates for me too, because it feels really inclusive and there is representation and it’s a sweet love story between a family.”
Ellen smiled and nodded appreciatively. She said the Archie character looked “sweet.” She then announced that everyone in the audience was getting a copy.
What was the purpose of this interview? Other than an opportunity for Meghan to be cheered to the rafters, it was rather hard to tell.
Meghan spoke briefly about the importance of paid parental leave, a worthy drum she has been beating of late, and there was also a segment with an inspiring woman who started a community-based free hair-braiding scheme in the pandemic. Her charity received a donation of $20,000 from Ellen and $20,000 from Meghan.
Meghan and Harry have made endless complaints about the unfairness of the press coverage they typically receive.
The Ellen interview suggests an exciting new model of Sussex media management: Don’t allow questions from anyone other than a confirmed lickspittle.