Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know is thinking about harming themself, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. You are not alone.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a primetime interview about their turbulent life in—and exit from—the royal family.
No topic was off limits—and Harry and Meghan were not compensated for the interview.
When the royal family is your in-laws: ‘I went into it naively’
As an actress growing up in LA, Meghan said she was used to meeting famous people, but said she was totally unprepared for the intensity of life inside the royal family.
“I went into it naively,” she told Oprah, not knowing what royal life really entailed, or even how to curtsey when she first met the Queen.
“The perception [of royal life] and the reality were two very different things,” Markle said.
Six months after their wedding, headlines swirled about a family fued—with the British press saying that Meghan made Kate Middleton cry over flower girl dresses. In fact, Markle cleared up, “the reverse is true,” sharing that Kate had made Meghan cry in a spat in the lead up to the wedding over the dresses, but later apologized and brought flowers as an act of goodwill.
“She’s a good person,” Markle said. “So much of what I have seen play out is this idea of polarity. . . If you love [Kate], you don’t have to hate me.
Oprah also pointed to hypocrisy about how differently the press treated Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton during their pregnancies. In one instance, the British press praised Kate for ‘tenderly’ holding her bump, while calling it ‘vanity’ for Meghan to do the same. “It’s just ridiculous.”
In-law relationships are hard enough, but the scrutiny the royal family is under, and what Markle called their “obsession” with appearances, meant that life was incredibly isolating and lonely. “There was very little that I was allowed to do. Of course that breeds loneliness,” she said.
Racism and the royal family: Meghan Markle says ‘how dark their baby’ would be was a concern
During her pregnancy with Archie, Markle said that the royal family began telling her husband that they would be changing convention and not giving her child a royal title or security protection, which devastated her.
But perhaps the most shocking revelation of all were conversations that royal family members had, Markle said, with Harry “about how dark their baby was potentially going to be and what that would mean and look like.”
Oprah then asked if there was a racist concern that their baby would be “too brown”?
“I think that feels like a pretty safe [interpretation]” Markle answered.
‘I don’t want to be alive anymore’: Meghan’s mental health breaking point
Markle was pregnant with Archie and coping with the isolation of royal life and the brutality of the British press when she found herself on the verge of suicide.
“I thought it would have solved everything for everyone,” she said.
“It takes so much courage to admit that you need help. I was ashamed.”
Markle told her husband Harry, telling Oprah: “I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry especially, because I know how much loss he suffered. But I knew if I didn’t say it that I would do it.”
Oprah asked if she was having specific thoughts about suicide. “Yes, this was very clear. And very scary. . . I’m scared because they’re very real. They’re methodical. And this is not who I am,” she said.
“I wasn’t prepared for that,” Harry said. “I went to a very dark place as well.”
Why Harry says they left: ‘History repeating itself’
Harry said he wanted to take a breath from this constant stress. “My biggest concern was history repeating itself. I’m talking about my mother.” Harry said he thought his situation was “far more dangerous because you add race in, you add social media in.” To him, it was a recipe for disaster.
Harry said he left due to a “lack of support and lack of understanding,” which even led his own father, Prince Charles, to stop taking his calls.
“I took matters into my own hands. I needed to do this for my family. It’s not a surprise. . . For my own mental health, for my wife’s. And for Archie.”
“What was different for me, was the race element. It wasn’t just about her, it was about what it represents,” he said.
Baby #2 is a girl!
The couple shared that they are expecting a daughter this summer.
How’s he feeling about the news? “Amazing. Just grateful, to have any child, any one or two. But to have a boy and a girl, what more can you ask for? We’ve got the four of us and our two dogs.”
Two is it, Harry confirmed. Then they’ll be done having kids.
“The most important title I will ever have is mom,” says Meghan Markle
Shown on their farm in Southern California where they now reside, Meghan and Harry and now raising rescued chickens, dogs and their growing family.
What she’s most looking forward to, Markle said, is “just being able to live authentically. . . and just getting back down to basics.”