RTÉ to air Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah on Monday night

The two-hour interview will be shown to Irish viewers next week
RTÉ to air Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah on Monday night

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

RTÉ will air Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey on Monday night.

The broadcaster has secured the rights for the CBS show, which will air in the US on Sunday, and on RTÉ 2 on Monday, March 8 at 9.30pm.

Yesterday it was confirmed that ITV, which includes long-standing Northern Irish affiliate UTV, won the bidding war to screen the interview in the UK, in a deal said to be worth around £1 million (€1.16m).

The two-hour interview will be shown to Irish viewers on UTV at 9pm on Monday, at the same time it will broadcast on its sister station in the UK. 

The timing of former royals Harry and Meghan's controversial interview has been criticised as Harry’s grandfather Philip, 99, spent nearly two weeks in the private King Edward VII’s Hospital before being transferred to St Bartholomew’s Hospital on Monday for tests on a pre-existing heart condition.

Harry and Meghan with Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Productions /Joe Pugliese/PA)

Questions have been raised about the appropriateness of Harry and Meghan’s interview, which chat show queen Winfrey has promised will be “shocking” with “nothing off limits”.

Public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski told the PA news agency: “The timing is just horrendous.

“Anybody who looks at this through the optics of a caring family, even a family who are estranged from one another, it’s very uncomfortable as you edge towards Sunday.”

Harry with Philip (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mr Borkowski added: “This could be a real reputational mess for everybody involved.

“Harry and Meghan are supposed to be a sensitive, caring and empathetic brand.

“Surely the disruption, particularly to the Queen… but they’re going ahead with this juggernaut.”

If Philip’s health were to worsen, Mr Borkowski said Harry and Meghan’s fate would be “in the lap of the gods”.

“If you were strategically giving advice about mitigating reputational damage, you would show huge empathy by postponing,” he said.

Mr Borkowski said a deterioration in Philip’s health would also raise serious issues for ITV as to whether the screening should go ahead in the UK, and could cause problems for advertisers airing commercials during the programme.

“I think brands have to take a considered view about whether they want their advertising anywhere near this,” he said.

The scene outside outside St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, where Philip is being treated (Yui Mok/PA)

The royal household will be braced for the show’s revelations as the Sussexes discuss their life within the royal family and their exit from the working monarchy.

In dramatic promo clips, Winfrey asks Meghan if she was “silent or silenced”, with the duchess’s answer not revealed.

In response to a comment by the duchess, Winfrey asks: “Almost unsurvivable. Sounds like there was a breaking point?”

Harry is seen saying of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, while holding Meghan’s hand: “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you, with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her (Diana), going through this process by herself, all those years ago.”

At one point in the trailer, Winfrey tells viewers: “Just to make it clear to everybody, there is no subject that is off-limits,” as Meghan nods in agreement.

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