The presenter condemned Meghan and Prince Harry’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month, saying that he ‘didn’t believe’ the Duchess of Sussex when she said she felt suicidal in the past.
Ofcom has now confirmed that the initial number of 41,000 viewer complaints has risen, surpassing the previous record held by the 55,000 complaints levelled at Jerry Springer the Opera in 2005.
‘Who did you go to? What did she say to you? I’m sorry but I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan Markle,’ Piers said on the show, which aired on March 8.
‘I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report. The fact that she’s fired this onslaught on our Royal Family is contemptible.’
Mental health charity Mind was among those speaking out against the programme airing his comments at the time, saying how damaging they could be.
An Ofcom spokesperson said at the time: ‘We have launched an investigation into Monday’s episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules.’
The day after the initial comments were made by Piers, the presenter stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain after being challenged by Alex Beresford.
Piers later addressed the controversy but did not apologise, and stated: ‘I still have serious concerns about the veracity of a lot of what she said. But let me just state for the record my position on mental illness and on suicide.
‘Mental illness and suicide, these are clearly very serious things and should be taken extremely seriously and if somebody is feeling that way they should get the treatment and help that they need every time and if they belong to an institution like the Royal family and they go and seek that help, they should absolutely be given it.’
He added: ‘It’s not for me to question whether she felt suicidal, I wasn’t in her mind and that’s for her to say.’
Piers quit the show following the backlash and then doubled down on his previous criticism.
‘My real concern was a disbelief frankly and I’m prepared to be proven wrong on this and if I’m wrong, it is a scandal, that she went to a senior member of the Royal household, told them she was suicidal and was told she could not have any help because it would be a bad look for the family.
‘If that was true, A: If they’re still there they should be fired; B: the Royal family has serious questions to be answered about how they handled it.
‘But I would also throw in the mix that Prince Harry himself belongs to the top of several mental health charities, it does raise a question to me, he’s sort of helped himself, why could he not in that eventuality have gone and gotten Meghan the help that she needed maybe via the charities that he represents.’
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview: Key moments
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have spoken to Oprah Winfrey in a bombshell interview about their decision to step back as senior working members of the Royal Family.
Here are the key points from the interview, which UK viewers can watch at 9pm on ITV on Monday, March 8.
- Meghan says it was Kate who made her cry over flower girls, not other way round
- Meghan says Harry was told there were ‘concerns how dark’ Archie would be
- Harry and Meghan reveal the gender of their baby due in summer
- Meghan sobs as she says pressures of royal life drove her to the verge of suicide
- Prince Charles stopped taking Harry’s calls after he quit Royal Family
- Harry says Meghan saved him from being ‘trapped’ like Prince Charles and Prince William are
- Princess Diana would be ‘sad and angry about how this has panned out’
- Meghan and Harry share adorable new video of son Archie at the beach
- Harry confirms terrible rift with William and says their relationship is now just ‘space’
- Queen ‘ghosted Harry during Megxit talks and got aide to say she was too busy’