The biggest bombshells from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah
Meghan Markle reveals she's having a second child and discusses her darkest moments as a royal, which she says led her to contemplate suicide.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat down for a 90-minute bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night, during which they opened up about their difficult decision to step back from royal life and much more.
Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special began with Meghan discussing her entrance into royal life and her subsequent exit. The fiercely private star shared some surprising details about her time as a royal, revealing that the media attacks and lack of support from the palace made her contemplate suicide. Later, Harry joined the interview to talk about the couple's future after moving to the United States.
Meeting the in-laws
Meghan began by admitting to Oprah that she "didn't do any research" before joining the royal family and that she'd never "looked up" her now-husband online. She said in the United States and in her own family, there wasn't as much attention paid toward the English monarchy.
Meghan also said she and Harry actually got married three days before the royal wedding, because they wanted to have a moment for themselves to mark their union, whereas the ceremony was more of a "spectacle for the world."
And regarding the wedding, Meghan disputed widespread tabloid rumors that she made her sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry. According to her, it was actually the opposite. The week of the wedding, Meghan said there was an issue with Kate and something related to flower girl dresses, which made Meghan cry and hurt her feelings. Out of respect for her sister-in-law, Meghan said she didn't want to reveal exact details, but said that Kate "owned it," apologized, and sent her flowers. Meghan added that Kate is a "good person."
But, she said, she felt it was a "turning point" when no one at the palace defended her against the rumors despite the fact that "everyone in the institution knew it wasn't true."
"They would go on the record and negate the most ridiculous story for anyone," she said, but they wouldn't do it for her.
Meghan also said she felt silenced by the institution, which she said had promised to protect her.
"I came to understand not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren't willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband," she explained.
In regards to what the "institution" actually is, Meghan clarified that there is a difference between the royal family and the "people running the institution" like the palace staffers, but that line can get murky. In particular, she emphasized that Queen Elizabeth II "has always been wonderful to me." She even said that once when they shared a car together, the Queen offered to share her blanket for warmth.
Not only was Meghan asking for protection for herself, but she also wanted it for her son Archie, and said she was told it wasn't possible. Meghan said the palace decreed that Archie — who turns 2 in May — would not have any title, a move she said was "different from protocol."
"They didn't want him to be a prince ... which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn't going to receive security," she told Oprah, adding, "We have in tandem the conversation of, 'He won't be given security. He's not going to be given a title.' And also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born."
When Harry and Meghan were married in 2018, Queen Elizabeth gave them the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Their son was entitled to the "courtesy title," Earl of Dumbarton, but the couple announced shortly after his birth that they had not given him the title and he would be known as Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
In one of the most heart-wrenching moments from the interview, Meghan revealed that the media vitriol and lack of support from the palace heavily affected her mental health. At one point, she told Harry that she "didn't want to be alive anymore."
"I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn't say it — then I would do it," she said. "That was clear and real and frightening and constant thought." Meghan added that she "thought it would have solved everything for everyone."
She said she went to the palace about going somewhere for help and was told she couldn't because "it wouldn't be good for the institution" and the royal family's image. Still, she kept up appearances at events because she didn't think she could be left alone for her own sake.
Baby girl on the way
On a lighter note, Harry later joined the two and announced that Meghan is pregnant with a girl and is due this summer. The couple also said they're done having kids: "two is it."
"Grateful, having any child, one or a two would have been amazing, but to have a boy and then a girl ... now we've got our family and we've got four of us," Harry said.
Harry clarified that the reason he stepped away from the royal family was not only due to the media's treatment of Meghan, but also because the royal family offered no support when they asked for it. And even when the two left for Canada in early 2020, it was to step back as senior members of the royal family, not to leave the family entirely.
"We never left the family and we only wanted to have the same type of role that exists ... We said specifically we're stepping back from senior roles," she explained.
Oprah then asked if Harry blindsided the Queen when he announced his departure. He said that he had already had multiple conversations with her, and with his father Prince Charles, before his father "stopped answering my calls." According to Harry, they both had known before the official announcement and even wanted him to put it in writing.
In Canada, Harry also learned he would be having his security detail removed despite being told by the palace that the same amount of threat existed. And thanks to media reports, the public knew his "exact location." It was Tyler Perry who came to their rescue and offered one of his homes and security. They stayed there for about three months to figure out their next steps.
Relationship with tabloids
Harry expressed hurt and disappointment that his family never publicly defended Meghan, adding that he knows they want to stay on the press's good side.
"I am acutely aware of where my family stand and how scared they are of the tabloids turning on them," he said.
If it weren't for Meghan, Harry said he might not have ever left the royal family.
"I didn't see a way out," Harry explained. "I was trapped but I didn't know I was trapped. Trapped within the system like the rest of the family. My father and my brother are trapped. They don't get to leave and I have huge compassion for that."
When told by Winfrey that he didn't look unhappy in the public eye, Harry said that he wasn't necessarily "enjoying [royal] life because there were photographs of me smiling while I was shaking hands and meeting people."
Putting on a happy face for the camera is "part of the job," he said.
Asked how his late mother Princess Diana would feel about his exit from royal life, Harry said, "I think she would feel very angry with how this has panned out and very sad, but ultimately, all she'd ever want is for us to be happy."
"I think she saw it coming," he added. "I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process."
Harry also compared Meghan's situation to that of his late mother's.
"You know, for me, I'm just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you with my wife by my side because I can't begin to imagine what it must've been like for [my mother] going through this process by herself all those years ago," he said. "My biggest concern was history repeating itself."
Harry also revealed that his family financially cut him off in the "first quarter of 2020," and he wouldn't have been able to do the philanthropic work he's doing now without what his mom left for him.
The present and future
As of their interview, Harry said his relationship with Queen Elizabeth II is good and he's spoken more to her in the last year than he had for many years. They've even done video chats where she's gotten to see Archie. His father is now taking his calls, but Harry said "there's a lot to work through there." Similarly, with William, he said he loves his brother but they're on "different paths" and giving each other space at the moment.
"All of those things that I was hoping for, have happened. And this is in some ways just the beginning for us," Meghan said.