ITV had faced widespread calls to axe Piers after he cast doubt on Meghan’s revelation during her interview with Oprah Winfrey that she had experienced suicidal thoughts after joining the Royal Family.
It was later revealed that more than 40,000 complaints had been made about the incident to Ofcom, after which it was confirmed the divisive presenter was leaving Good Morning Britain.
Speaking outside his London home on Wednesday morning, the presenter insisted his exit was “amicable”, saying (via the PA news agency): “I had a good chat with ITV and we agreed to disagree. I’m just going to take it easy and see how we go.”
He added: “I believe in freedom of speech, I believe in the right to be allowed to have an opinion. If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that’s entirely their right.
“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.”
Metro also quoted him as saying: “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. I would call it a temporary hibernation.”
He added that he is “always in talks with people”.
This came after Piers doubled down on his comments about Meghan in a tweet, writing: “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.”
Addressing her former co-star’s departure at the beginning of the show, Susanna told viewers: “Piers and I have disagreed on many things, and that dynamic was one of the things that viewers loved about the programme. He is without a doubt an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive broadcaster. He has many critics and he has many fans.
“You all know that I disagreed with him about Meghan’s interview. He himself clarified his comments about her mental health on the show yesterday. There are many voices on GMB and everyone has their say.
“But now Piers has decided to leave the programme. Some of you may cheer and others will 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.”
She concluded: “It is certainly going to be very different, but shows go on, and on we go.”
Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am on ITV.