Piers Morgan has said he still doesn’t believe the Duchess of Sussex after he left Good Morning Britain following controversial comments he made after her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Speaking outside his home in London this morning, Morgan said: “I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.
“If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly-held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.”
He added: “I think it’s fair to say, although the woke crowd will think that they’ve cancelled me, I think they will be rather disappointed when I re-emerge.”
In the couple’s explosive interview with Winfrey, Meghan said she felt like she “didn’t want to be alive anymore”.
But on Monday’s Good Morning Britain, Morgan said he “didn’t believe a word” of it.
His comments on the show sparked 41,000 complaints – leading to an Ofcom investigation – and last night ITV announced the presenter was leaving the show.
On Wednesday morning Morgan posted a tweet saying he stood by his words.
He wrote: “On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t.
“If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on. Thanks for all the love, and hate. I’m off to spend more time with my opinions.”
On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t. If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on. Thanks for all the love, and hate. I’m off to spend more time with my opinions. pic.twitter.com/bv6zpz4Roe
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 10, 2021
The Duchess of Sussex formally complained to ITV about Morgan before he left the show, the Press Association (PA) news agency understands.
The complaint is understood to focus on how Morgan’s comments may affect the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems, PA said
The Telegraph said a spokesman for the broadcaster “refused to deny” the reports. ITV said it would not comment further.
It is understood the duchess’s concern was not about the personal attacks on the validity of her racism allegation, or her claims she was not supported by the institution, but how Morgan’s comments may affect the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems.
Buckingham Palace has promised to “address” the “concerning” issues brought up by the couple during the interview, in particular the claims that another royal had raised “concerns” with Harry about Archie’s skin colour before he was born.
Morgan’s departure came after he stormed off the set of the show earlier in the day following a heated discussion with colleague Alex Beresford who criticised him for “continuing to trash” the duchess.
Speaking to Sky News, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps refused to be drawn on allegations of racism in the palace, but said he would miss Morgan on the programme.
He said: “I personally thought he always gave a very tough but fair interview… I’ll miss him on there.”
On Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain, Susanna Reid addressed Morgan’s departure saying: “It is certainly going to be very different but shows go and so on we go.”
Opening the show, she said: “Now, Piers and I have disagreed on many things and that dynamic was one of the things viewers loved about the programme.
“He is without doubt an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive broadcaster.
“He has many critics and he has many fans. You will know that I disagreed with him about Meghan’s interview. He himself clarified his comments about her mental health on the show yesterday.”
Reid said there are “many voices” on Good Morning Britain and “everyone has their say”.
She added: “But now Piers has decided to leave the programme. Some of you may cheer and others may boo.
“He has been my presenting partner, Monday to Wednesday, for more than five years and during Brexit and the pandemic and other issues, he has been a voice for many of you and a voice that many of you have railed against.
“It is certainly going to be very different but shows go on and so on we go.”
Ranvir Singh, Reid’s co-presenter for the morning, described Morgan as a “big character” and said “many viewers will be absolutely gutted”.
ITV’s shares are fell by 6% after Morgan’s departure was announced.
A statement released by the broadcaster on Tuesday said: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain.
“ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.”
Meanwhile, a close friend of the Duchess of Sussex has claimed the royal household were “well aware of the extent” of Meghan’s mental health struggles.
Actress Janina Gavankar, a friend of Meghan for some 17 years, told ITV’s This Morning: “While [Buckingham Palace’s] recollections may vary, ours don’t because we lived through it with them and there are many emails and texts to support that.”
She added that the couple are “feeling free” following their interview with Oprah Winfrey and planned to turn their focus towards the environmental and humanitarian work they had bonded over initially.
She said: “Now they can get back to what they really were focused on and how they really met and fell in love, that was through humanitarian and environmental work, they have Archewell (the Sussexes’s charitable organisation).”
Separately, an industry body for the UK press has said it will “work towards being part of the solution” after the group came under fire for its comments about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s accusations of racism and bigotry.
The Society Of Editors initially said it was “not acceptable” for the couple to make claims of racism in the press “without providing any supporting evidence”.
However, a new statement from the board of the society said: “Our statement on Meghan and Harry was made in that spirit but did not reflect what we all know: that there is a lot of work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion.
“We will reflect on the reaction our statement prompted and work towards being part of the solution.”