Questions ranged from the serious to the silly, with topics including the armed forces, mental health, and social media, in one of Obama’s few sit-down interviews after he left the White House.
In a thinly-veiled jab at Donald Trump, Obama told the prince that those in positions of power should be circumspect with regard to social media, and said he was concerned about people only listening to what they want to hear.
“One of the dangers of the Internet is that people can have entirely different realities,” Obama said during the BBC Radio interview. “They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”
Obama asked: “How do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a Balkanization of society and allows ways of finding common ground?”
The prince also asked Obama how he felt after Trump’s inauguration, and the former president said he was relieved – and happy that he’s still married to former First Lady Michelle.
“She is not someone who was naturally inclined to politics, and she did this largely in support of my decision to run.”
He said he was proud to have left office with his marriage intact, and still strong. “We’re still each other’s best friends.” He said he and Michelle worked together “in a way that preserved our integrity and left us whole. We hadn’t fundamentally changed, and that was a satisfying feeling. There was a serenity there more than I would have expected.”
The interview wasn’t all heavy – not with Harry around. The prince, who is set to marry his actress partner Meghan Markle in May, also fired off a quick round of not-very-important questions to the former president.
Asked whether he preferred boxers or briefs, Obama said “Sorry, we don’t answer those questions,” although he did declare a preference for Aretha Franklin over Tina Turner, and Michael Jordan over LeBron James, “although I love LeBron, I’m a Chicago guy.”
Obama refused to choose between Kim or Khloe Kardashian – “I have to defer on this one,” – he said, but admitted that he liked “Suits” better than “The Good Wife,” to which Harry responded “Great, great answer!” “Suits” is the TV show that stars Harry’s fiancée Markle.
Asked whether he preferred the White House to Buckingham Palace or vice-versa, the former president picked the White House, “just because Buckingham Palace looks like it would take a really long time to mow – a lot of upkeep.” Asked whether he’d spend his last five dollars on a burger or a lottery ticket, he said: “Depends on how good the burger is … I like a good burger.”