Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan thanked Meghan Markle for her contribution to his career in his acceptance speech at the TRIC Awards on June 27, 2023. Getty

Piers Morgan may have surprised some attendees during Tuesday's Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) awards at London's Grosvenor House when he unexpectedly praised Meghan Markle. He thanked the royal when he won "Interviewer of the Year" for his exclusive interview with football star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The TV host has long been a vocal critic of the Duchess of Sussex and her husband Prince Harry. His feud with the couple, especially with the former "Suits" actress, is public knowledge. But those at the ceremony were still left feeling awkward when he credited his award to her.

"I want to thank Meghan Markle because, if you think about it, without her contribution to my career I would never have gone to TalkTV. I would never have been standing here with this award," he sarcastically said as quoted by the Mirror.

The 58-year-old is referring to his exit as host from "Good Morning Britain" in 2021 shortly after the release of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. He had criticised the duchess during an episode of the show. He said he does not believe a thing that the duchess told Winfrey, including the part when she talked about her mental health struggles and having suicidal thoughts while she was a working royal.

Morgan's criticism of the duchess' mental health stirred controversy and resulted in thousands of complaints from ITV viewers to Ofcom about his "misogynistic" comments about the former actress. He even got into a heated argument with fellow presenter Alex Beresford, who defended the duchess. In anger, Morgan walked off the set and ultimately stepped down from his role and moved to TalkTV, where he now hosts his "Uncensored" show.

He referenced his exit from the ITV breakfast show in his acceptance speech at the TRIC Awards. He said, "...The day that I did that walkout was the day that 'Good Morning Britain' finally beat the BBC in the ratings in the morning."

He also took the opportunity on stage to mock rival host Dan Walker who presented the award after the latter attempted to mock his "Good Morning Britain" walkout. Morgan said, "Thank you, I can almost feel the warmth in the room. I know what you are all thinking, long overdue, but obviously, my initial pain at realising that this was going to be presented to me by Dan Walker was soon overtaken by the reality of the enormous pain that he would be suffering in having to present it to me so thank you, Dan. Although what you know about interviewing is beyond me - it was a joke, it was a joke."

He added, "I would like to thank the TRIC awards, lovely to see the whole TV and radio industry together. One big happy family, we know that not the backstabbing cesspit that some people say it is, no no, we all love each other. And we like being together and we like nothing more than watching our rivals win awards, it's a sweet moment in all our lives, and I am very honoured to have won this award."

Morgan used to be friends with the actress. He once talked about the day they met at a pub in London in 2016 after she contacted him on Twitter. She was in the city to watch her friend Serena William's match at Wimbledon.

He said they "had two hours in the pub, she had a couple of dirty martinis and pints." He remembered they "got on brilliantly" and then she got in a cab. But he never heard from her again after that. He said she "ghosted" him. Over the years, Morgan has not minced his words when it comes to his criticism of Meghan Markle, be it during TV interviews or on Twitter.