And we’re done. DeGeneres thanks Meghan for coming on the show.
“This has been so much fun, thank you,” Meghan says.
The pair hug, the audience claps, and everyone seems to have a good time. That’s the end of our live coverage, thanks for reading.
Brittany Starks, who runs a Tennessee-based non-profit, has been summoned from the audience to talk to DeGeneres and Meghan.
Starks is a single mom with two children. A former hairdresser, she started braiding kids’ hair in her neighborhood for free earlier this year.
Starks has since founded a non-profit called A Twist of Greatness, and her team has now helped over 150 kids, providing books and clothes.
Meghan just surprised Starks with a $20,000 donation to A Twist of Greatness.
There’s some sort of elaborate ruse here where DeGeneres has set up secret cameras and sent Meghan to some food vendors near the Warner Brothers studios.
Meghan is wearing an earpiece and DeGeneres is in her ear telling her what to do and say. I’ve seen this in sitcoms before, usually when some no-hoper is on a date and friends are offering guidance. It’s possibly a regular segment on the Ellen show, I’m not an expert.
DeGeneres is making Meghan say some daft things, and just ordered her to eat a tortilla chip “like a chipmunk”.
The studio audience seems to be enjoying it.
DeGeneres asks Meghan if she plans to cook for Thanksgiving, which is next week. Meghan says she will.
“I love to cook, and will be home and just sort of relax and settle in. It’s our second Thanksgiving at home in California,” Meghan says.
DeGeneres asks if she can come round. Meghan says yes.
I miss what happens next but it concludes with DeGeneres saying Meghan is “a great dancer”.
Meghan now talks about her book, the Bench, which swiftly became a New York Times bestseller after it was released in June.
“I wrote this originally just as a poem for my husband on Father’s Day and it was about my observation of him and, you know, him being a dad, which is the most beautiful thing to watch,” Meghan says.
“Once it was shared with a couple of friends and people that we were close with they said: ‘No, this resonates for me too because it feels really inclusive and there’s representation and it’s just a sweet love story between a family,’ and so I said: ‘Okay, let’s turn it into a children’s book,” she says.
“I made sure that all of those pieces of it, especially the softer side of masculinity, the softer side of fatherhood, I tried to include it in there, and made sure everyone could see themselves in these pages. Because I remember as a little girl, you didn’t always see someone that looked like you and I thought that was really important to have everyone story feel like it was unfolding on those pages for them.”
Meghan discusses how she and Harry have tried to further certain causes, and says they will continue to push for paid family leave.
The US, Meghan notes, is “the only country in the entire world that does not have a paid federal family leave program”.
She adds: “I will do everything I can to make sure that we can implement that for people.”
This comes after DeGeneres reveals that as a youngster Meghan made scrunchies and sold them at school.
Meghan says she was in elementary school at the time. She used fabric and elastic bands.
Meghan talks about how she and her family celebrated Halloween – which tends to be a much more involved affair in the US compared to the UK – this year.
“We wanted to do something fun for the kids, and then the kids were just not into it at all,” Meghan says.
The Duchess reveals that she dressed Archie, her and Harry’s two-year-old son, as a dinosaur. He was unimpressed, however. Archie wore the outfit “not even five minutes,” DeGeneres said. The host spent Halloween with Meghan and Harry.
Their daughter, Lili, who is five months old, was dressed as a skunk, Meghan says – “like Flower from Bambi”.
Prince Harry and Meghan secretly went to a Halloween party in Toronto in 2016, the Duchess says, just before their relationship became official.
“The four of us snuck out in Halloween costumes to just have one fun night on the town before it was out in the world that we were a couple,” she says.
They were dressed in “very bizarre” costumes, Meghan says, to fit the Halloween party’s post-apocalyptic theme. The costumes made them unrecognizable.
“We were able to just sort of have one final, fun night out,” she says.
Meghan is here. “Please welcome my friend Meghan the Duchess of Sussex,” DeGeneres says.
Meghan waves to the crowd, who are excited.
The first bit of the interview is the bit from the trailer DeGeneres previously posted.
DeGeneres says she and Meghan met ten years ago. Meghan says it was at a pet shop.
DeGeneres notes that she and Meghan are neighbors in Los Angeles. She says she hears Harry is enjoying California. Meghan says he is.
“We moved here during lockdown,” she says, so much of their time has been spent at home.
Harry enjoys “the lifestyle, the weather’s pretty great. We’re just happy,” Meghan says.
No sign of Meghan yet. DeGeneres, a comedian, is currently making fun of a bookholder.
This is the final season of the Ellen show, which was plunged into crisis last year, after allegations of behind-the-scenes sexual harassment and racist behavior on the show.
My colleague Ed Helmore wrote at the time:
BuzzFeed News reported that it had spoken with 36 former employees, many of whom corroborated incidents of sexual misconduct, harassment and assault. The outlet reported that allegations included sexual misconduct between executives and lower-level employees, including requests for sex.
Among the allegations was one made by a Black woman who said she’d experienced micro-aggressions and had been accused of “walking around looking resentful and angry” after requesting that staff undertake diversity and inclusion training.
In a memo to staff after the allegations came to light, DeGeneres said she intended to “correct” issues raised, saying she had “not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done”.
“Clearly some didn’t,” DeGeneres wrote. “That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
In the wake of the allegations, Brad Garrett, an actor on Everybody Loves Raymond, tweeted: “Sorry but it comes from the top @TheEllenShow. Know more than one who were treated horribly by her. Common knowledge.”
DeGeneres shared another trailer earlier – there’s not going to be much of this interview left – which saw Meghan discuss her and Harry sneaking out to a Halloween party before their relationship became official.
DeGeneres has been friends with Meghan and Harry for some years, and has previously described them as “the cutest couple, so down to earth”.
“I see them get attacked and it’s not fair,” DeGeneres said in 2019. Meghan and Harry have been consistently subjected to vitriol from certain British newspapers, some of it racist.
They are just two of the most down-to-earth compassionate people, they’re doing so much good for the world,” DeGeneres said.
“I mean I can’t tell you how sweet they are. But the most important thing is I got to hold Archie. I fed Archie. I held Archie,” DeGeneres said after meeting the Sussexes’ son in 2019.
In a trailer for the interview, Meghan said she used to drive to the same Warner Brothers site for auditions. It was “very different” then, Meghan said.
She said she would drive her “very, very old” Ford Explorer Sport to the studios.
“At a certain point the key stopped working on the driver’s side, so you couldn’t get yourself in through the door,” she said.
“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.
Asked by DeGeneres if anyone saw her, Meghan replied: “No, I would play it off. I’d go like, ‘Oh, I’m just looking for my resume and my highlighters or my script.’”
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
The interview comes eight months after Meghan and Prince Harry were interviewed by Oprah Winfrey – a conversation that created headlines around the world.
In the Winfrey chat, Meghan said she had experienced racism from a remember of the royal family, and said she had experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of the environment created by the British tabloid media, and the institution of the Royal family.
It remains to be seen if the DeGeneres interview will be similarly revealing, and the chatshow host’s website, Ellentube, has touted the interview in less bombastic tones.
“The activist and co-founder of Archewell will chat with Ellen about growing up and returning to California, as well as her New York Times bestselling children’s book, ‘The Bench,’” Ellentube says.