Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was a global event, drawing in 17 million viewers from both the States and across the pond. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared several shocking revelations and stories related to their departure from the royal family, but there was one aspect of the program that was totally unrelated to the couple that had British and non-American viewers absolutely baffled.
Ayesha A. Siddiqi created a thread documenting the reactions non-Americans had to some of the commercials that aired during the interview, which most non-Americans saw live online instead of waiting several hours for it to air on their local channels. She’s since revealed that over 12 million unique viewers have explored the thread, many of whom shared in the surprise and shock over the phenomenon.
Only two countries allow “direct-to-consumer” advertising for prescription drugs — the United States and New Zealand. As a result, it’s a totally new experience for many foreign viewers experiencing live TV from the States. While Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s answers stunned viewers, the frequent commercials for drugs took others by complete surprise.
Of course, several viewers recognized that the advertisements weren’t exactly there to help out prospective patients.
The renewed discussion about the healthcare system is a fitting one given Meghan Markle’s frank mentions of how her mental health suffered and how difficult it was to find resources and help when she first joined the royal family. Of course, even though some of the circumstances of her situation are extremely unique, the battle to improve access to mental health resources is a universal one.
After the interview aired, the royal family issued a brief statement reacting to Meghan Markle’s comments about the poor treatment and lack of help she received, which said, “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.”