What we’re covering here
- Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a set-piece interview that aired Sunday night ET.
- The bombshell interview was full of revelations: Meghan experiencing suicidal thoughts, the royal family’s concerns about Archie’s race, and the gender of their second child.
- How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.
By Jessie Yeung and Aditi Sangal
Tabloids target Meghan hours after she accused British press of double standards
From CNN’s Michelle Toh
British tabloids hit back at Meghan after her interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night, with some focusing on her allegations about concerns of Archie’s skin color.
“MEGHAN ACCUSES PALACE OF RACISM,” read the front page of Monday’s edition of the Daily Mail. While other news outlets used images provided by Harpo Productions, Winfrey’s production company, the Daily Mail chose a closely cropped image focused on Meghan’s face.
The deluge of stories on the Daily Mail homepage follows a dismissive pre-interview banner headline earlier on Sunday, in which the outlet attempted to lambast the CBS special as “a sideshow.”
“Meghan Markle may never return to Britain after angering Royal Family with bombshell Oprah interview,” The Sun newspaper wrote, referring to Meghan’s name before marriage. It cited “insiders [who] fear she and Prince Harry could have burnt their bridges by failing to tell family members what was in the two-hour chat before it was shown.”
Harry and Meghan push back: Both the duke and duchess have increasingly opened up about the harsh media scrutiny they have received.
Last month, Prince Harry told late night talk show host James Corden that his experiences had prompted him to take a step back from the royal family. And in April of last year, Harry and Meghan said they would cut off all dealings with four of the United Kingdom’s biggest tabloid newspapers after years of strained relations.
In the interview, Meghan said it had become painfully clear that there were double standards in how the media covered her and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife to Prince William, who is second in the line of succession to the British throne.
“I can see now what layers were at play there. And again, they really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain,” said Meghan.
“Self-serving”: UK media tabloids attempt to hit back at Meghan and Harry
From CNN’s Michelle Toh
British tabloids are hammering Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her husband Prince Harry after their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan revealed during the sit-down conversation that life within the royal family was so lonely and lacking in support that she had experienced suicidal thoughts. She also said that individuals within the institution had raised concerns about the color of their son Archie’s skin.
Even before the interview, the UK media had been criticizing the event. The relationship between the couple and the country’s press, and particularly newspaper tabloids, has long been tumultuous.
The Daily Mail ran wall-to-wall coverage of the interview, and tried to fit all of the bombshells into a single headline this way: “Meghan claims she was suicidal when she was 5 months pregnant, Kate made HER cry and Royals refused to make Archie a prince because they were worried how ‘dark’ he would be, as Harry reveals their new baby will be a GIRL.”
Another article on the website ripped into the couple’s discussion during the interview about life in the United States, where they are raising chickens. “Back to basics at their $14.5 million mansion,” read one headline.
“Queen: Duty and family unite us,” read the front page of the Daily Express newspaper. “That’s public service for you, Harry and Meghan … NOT a self-serving TV chat with Oprah.”
Even ahead of the program, British tabloids came armed for the occasion, which was among the biggest royal interviews in decades.
On Monday, the Daily Mirror’s print edition will point to Princes “Charles & William’s ‘immense sadness'” amid “Oprah interview fallout,” Sky News reported.
Striking parallels between Princess Diana and Meghan’s experiences, says royal commentator
Kate Williams, a UK-based historian and royal expert, told CNN that Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah showed stark similarities with Princess Diana’s experience.
Harry drew these similarities too, saying in the interview that he couldn’t imagine what his mother had gone through and that he didn’t want history to repeat itself.
“Diana, too, suffered as well at the hands of the press. She was criticized, she was attacked, both before and after the divorce,” said Williams. “She talked about how she wanted to speak up and make her decisions and her voice clear.”
“Diana spoke up about how she suffered within the royal family and now we’ve heard the same (from Meghan). Diana had thought of self harm, Diana was very distressed in the royal family, and she had thoughts of suicide. And now we say Meghan saying she had the same thoughts.”
The couple had revealed in the interview that the royal institution had withdrawn their security, and that their son Archie would also be denied security because he didn’t receive a title. Security was a major source of concern for the couple — Meghan said she had written letters to the royal family, pleading them to provide her husband security.
“Harry of course, he was so young when she died, and he knew that she didn’t have her security after her divorce — which for him, I think, added to her tragic death,” said Williams.32 min ago
Extraordinary tell-all interview lifts lid on life inside Britain’s royal family
In her first public comments since she and her husband Prince Harry announced their plans to step back from senior roles in the British royal family, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, described herself as the victim of an image-obsessed Buckingham Palace, which weighed in on everything from how dark her son Archie’s skin color would be to how often she went to lunch with friends.
The TV special was highly anticipated because Harry and Meghan are now allowed to speak more freely about the royal family due to their effective split from the palace.
And the couple did not hold back.
Harry, Meghan and the power of their story
Opinion from CNN’s Richard Galant
Whatever magic is left in the House of Windsor today, after “The Crown,” may not survive Sunday night’s airing of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan told Winfrey that the royal family, aka “The Firm,” was “perpetuating falsehoods” against her. Her words evoked memories of the tension between Buckingham Palace and the late Princess Diana in the 1990s.
The palace announced Wednesday that it was investigating accusations that the duchess had bullied employees in the royal household and that it was “very concerned.” After the investigation was reported, Holly Thomas noted, “Meghan’s spokesman said the duchess was ‘saddened by this latest attack on her character,’ and a spokesperson for the Sussexes dismissed the Times report as ‘a calculated smear campaign.'”
Thomas added that the palace’s “eagerness” to respond to the allegations stands “in stark contrast to its previous reactions to the substantially more serious complaints against the Queen’s third child, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. These have been minimal, and resolutely supportive of the prince …”
Peggy Drexler wrote, “It’s easy to feel bad for Harry, who grew up in the spotlight, and for Meghan, who many would say both pursued that attention and fought it.” For all his privileges, “since he was small, Harry’s life was one of being followed, trailed. He was young when his mother, Princess Diana, was pursued to her death by paparazzi, but old enough to remember.”
Amanda Gorman and Bernice King among Black women standing up for Meghan
Members of the Black community — and especially Black women — are making themselves heard on social media in the aftermath of Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah.
Many reminded viewers that the racism Meghan faced is a daily reality for the community. Others praised Harry for admitting his own ignorance and privilege regarding racial prejudice, and standing by his wife in the face of public vitriol.
“Royalty is not a shield from the devastation and despair of racism,” tweeted Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
22-year-old Amanda Gorman, who recited her poem at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inauguration, tweeted in support of Meghan as well.
“This isn’t Meghan’s princess ‘happy’ ending. But sometimes change, the decisions that bring us the most hurt, aren’t about about happiness, but healing,” she wrote. “Unclear if this will change the Royal family, but Meghan’s strength will certainly redefine family everywhere. Think of the women who will be inspired to stand up for their lives, the partners who will be kinder & more courageous than the kin they were born into.”
In her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb,” Gorman confronted America’s racist history and ongoing conflicts head-on.
“We the successors of a country and a time / Where a skinny Black girl / Descended from slaves and raised by a single mother / Can dream of becoming president / Only to find herself reciting for one,” she read.
“We are striving to forge a union with purpose / To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.”1 hr 32 min ago
Serena Williams decries the “sexism and racism” that Meghan faced
American tennis star Serena Williams tweeted a statement about her good friend Meghan after the Oprah Winfrey interview, expressing support and anger for what the Duchess of Sussex has had to face.
“Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life — and leads by example — with empathy and compassion,” Williams wrote, referring to Meghan by her full name before she was married. “She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced.”
“I know first hand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us, to break us down and demonize us. We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.”
“I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society that is driven by respect,” she added.
The tennis phenom and the Duchess of Sussex are close friends, having met a few years ago at a charity event. Meghan has attended the US Open to cheer on Williams, and Williams co-hosted a baby shower for Meghan in 2019 when she was pregnant with Archie.
Meghan spoke out about race. America responds
In their interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry and Meghan alleged that their son Archie’s race had been a concern in the royal institution, with conversations about “how dark” his skin would be.
During the interview, Harry also spoke about how Meghan’s biracial background made it a uniquely challenging situation. Everybody in the royal family lives under a certain amount of pressure — but it was “far more dangerous” for Meghan due to her race, he said.
The allegations sparked outrage almost immediately on social media among Americans, with countless posts expressing sympathy for the couple and criticism for the royal family’s response to the crisis.
“(Meghan) was suicidal and begged for help,” tweeted Meena Harris, author and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris. “Oprah bout to fight somebody her damn self.”
“Meghan is living the life Diana should have, if only those around her had been as brave as she was. Meghan isn’t living a life without pain, but a life without a prison,” tweeted Amanda Gorman, America’s youngest inaugural poet. “Meghan was the Crown’s greatest opportunity for change, regeneration, and reconciliation in a new era. They didn’t just maltreat her light–they missed out on it.”
Kizzmekia Corbett, a viral immunologist at the National Institutes of Health, tweeted that she wanted to give Meghan a hug. “My heart just breaks for her,” she wrote. “Protect. Black. Women.”
The revelations come half a year after last summer’s racial reckoning, sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests which turned the spotlight onto a variety of historical injustices.
In Britain, protests centered on symbols tied to the country’s colonial past, with demonstrators toppling a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in the city of Bristol. However, the royal family, which sits at the summit of the British class system, had largely escaped the type of scrutiny applied to other institutions.
Prince Harry and Meghan continue to draw from Princess Diana’s influence
The late Princess Diana has remained a strong influence in the life of son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, as was evident throughout their interview with Oprah Winfrey.
When the couple revealed that the royal family had cut them off financially for stepping back from their royal duties, Harry also said he relied on his inheritance from Princess Diana.
“I’ve got all my mum left me. And without that, we would not have been able to do this,” he said. “She saw it coming and I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process.”
Meghan appeared to pay tribute to Princess Diana by wearing a sparking diamond bracelet once owned by her late mother-in-law.
When the Duchess of Sussex revealed that she was struggling with suicidal thoughts, she said she turned to one of Princess Diana’s best friends:
“I didn’t know who to even turn to in that. And one of the people that I reached out to, who’s continued to be a friend and confidant, was one of … Diana’s best friends. Because it’s like, who else could understand what it’s actually like on the inside?” she told Winfrey.
Harry has also frequently explained his decision to leave the royal family out of his worry of “history repeating itself,” referring to Princess Diana’s troubles within the family.
Here are the biggest revelations from Harry and Meghan’s interview
Oprah Winfrey’s broadcast interview with Harry and Meghan has ended. Here are the biggest takeaways:
- Meghan’s suicidal thoughts: She revealed that life within the royal family was so isolating, lonely, and lacking in support that she had experienced suicidal thoughts. She told Harry because “I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it — and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
- Archie’s race: The couple’s son, Archie, wouldn’t receive a title or security, Meghan revealed — and within the royal family, there were several “concerns and conversations about how dark (Archie’s) skin might be when he was born.” Harry confirmed these conversations — but added that he would never share details about them.
- It’s a girl! The couple, sitting side by side, revealed that they are expecting a girl in the summer.
- The royal wedding: They had gotten married three days before the glamorous royal wedding, Meghan said — and the vows from that private wedding are framed in their home.
- Trapped without knowing: Harry said that, like Meghan, he had also been trapped within the system — but he hadn’t known it. He added that his brother and father were also trapped, and that the royal institution was a stifling environment.
- Harry and his family: Harry revealed that his father, Prince Charles, had stopped taking his calls while the couple transitioned into their new roles after stepping away from the royal family. Charles has since started taking his calls again. Harry expressed his love for his brother, Prince William, but their relationship is experiencing some “space” at the moment.
- Meghan and the royal family: She had been welcomed into the royal family, and said the Queen had been wonderful and welcoming — but beyond that, there was nearly no guidance or support. She wasn’t allowed to leave the house for months due to concerns regarding optics. When she finally expressed her battered mental health and asked the institution for help, she says she was told no.
- Meghan and Kate: Meghan denied the rumors that she had made Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cry during her royal wedding. In fact, it was the other way around — a disagreement with Kate had made Meghan cry, she said. Kate has apologized and the issue has been resolved — but the public attacks had been hard to bear with no way of speaking the truth, said Meghan.
Harry on relationship with Prince William: “Time heals all things”
Harry had said earlier in the interview with Oprah Winfrey that he loves his brother Prince William “to bits,” despite frequent rumors and speculation of sibling conflict.
But “the relationship is space at the moment,” Harry added. “And time heals all things, hopefully.”
He also said that though his father, Prince Charles, had stopped taking his calls for a while during the exit process, they are now speaking again.
Meghan on Harry’s support in stepping back from royal family: “He saved all of us”
After Harry said earlier in the interview that he had been trapped in the system without knowing it, Oprah Winfrey asked if Meghan — and her role in his life — had saved him.
“Yeah, without question,” Harry replied. “There was a bigger purpose, there were other forces at play, throughout this whole process … it’s undeniable when these things have happened, where the overlap is. She did, without question, she saved me.”
Meghan, sitting beside him, said it was a “lovely” sentiment, but disagreed.
“I think he saved all of us,” she told Winfrey. “He ultimately called it, and was like, we’ve got to find a way for us, for Archie.”
She then turned to Harry to say, “You made a decision that certainly saved my life. And saved all of us.”
Life after leaving the royal family includes walks on the beach and bike rides with Archie
Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey that the past year of freedom has offered new gifts — especially quality time with his son Archie.
“This year has been crazy for everybody, but to have outdoor space where I can go on walks with Archie, and we can go for walks as a family, and the dogs, we can go for hikes or down to the beach, which is so close,” he said.
“I guess the highlight for me is sticking him on the back of a bicycle in his little baby seat and taking him on bike rides, which is something I was never able to do when I was young.”
As they bike, Archie likes to stick out his arms and point out scenery passing by, Harry said, mimicking his son: “Palm tree? House?”
Archie’s favorite word has been “hydrate” in the past few weeks, Meghan added. And whenever anyone leaves the house, Archie will say, “Drive safe!”
Meghan says her relationship with Harry is “greater than any fairytale you’ve ever read”
Meghan is now looking forward to life after the royal family. This is “just the beginning for us,” she said of their new life in America.
When asked by Oprah Winfrey if her story with the Prince has a happy ending, Meghan answered unequivocally.
“[It’s] greater than any fairytale you’ve ever read.”
Meghan’s one regret: “Believing them when they said I would be protected”
When Oprah Winfrey asked if Harry and Meghan had any regrets, they had slightly different answers.
“No,” Harry replied. “I’m really proud of us. I’m so proud of my wife. She safely delivered Archie during a period of time that was so cruel and so mean. Every day I was coming home to Meghan crying and breastfeeding Archie … We did what we had to do.”
Meghan chimed in that she had one regret: “Believing them when they said I would be protected.”
That was a false promise, but “I wasn’t supposed to see it, I wasn’t supposed to know it,” she said. “And now, because we’re actually on the other side, we’ve actually not just survived but (are) thriving … it’s a miracle.”
Meghan wears Princess Diana’s diamond bracelet during Oprah interview
From CNN Style’s Oscar Holland
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, appeared to pay tribute to Princess Diana by wearing a piece of her jewelry during the interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Reportedly by French luxury brand Cartier, the item was worn in public by Harry’s mother, Diana, several times prior to her death.
Harry is thought to have taken stones from the very same bracelet to produce the engagement ring he proposed to Megan with in 2017.
It’s not the first time that Meghan has worn the bracelet, having appeared to have done so at a royal tour in 2018. She also wore a ring owned by Harry’s mother before her wedding reception.
The topic of jewelry came up in the much-anticipated interview, with Meghan revealing that the Queen had given her a gift of pearl earrings and a matching necklace on their first joint engagement.
The royal family cut Harry off financially in the first quarter of 2020
Prince Harry revealed that the royal family cut him off after he and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, announced that they would be stepping back from official royal duties.
They initially relied on what Princess Diana had left for Harry.
“I’ve got all my mum left me. And without that, we would not have been able to do this,” he said. “She saw it coming and I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process.”
Harry: “I am never going to share” conversation with royal family about Archie’s race
Oprah Winfrey asked Prince Harry about the conversations he’d had with the royal family about Archie when Meghan was pregnant with him — and about concerns surrounding his race.
“That conversation, I am never going to share,” Harry said. “At the time, it was awkward, I was a bit shocked.”
When Winfrey asked if he could share the questions posed during the conversation, he declined, saying “I’m not comfortable with sharing that.”
“But it was right at the beginning,” he added. “What will the kids look like? That was at the beginning when she wasn’t going to get security, when my family suggested that she might continue acting (because there wasn’t going to be money for her).”
Winfrey then asked: If you had had more support, would you still be there? “Without question,” Harry responded. But “I know and I’m comfortable in knowing that we did everything we could to make it work.”
Diana would feel “angry” says Harry of how things have turned out
Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey that his mother, Princess Diana, would have been “very sad” about the couple’s decision to step back from the royal family.
“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,” Harry said.
“I think she saw it coming. I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process. I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side,” he said. “Because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her, going through this process by herself all those years ago.”
“It has been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we had each other,” he said, sitting next to Meghan in an outdoor set.
Royal family never challenged the “colonial undertones” in the media’s coverage of Meghan, Harry says
Prince Harry said the royal family missed several opportunities to support Meghan and call the British press out on its negative coverage of the Duchess of Sussex.
“For us, for this union and the specifics around her race, there was an opportunity — many opportunities — for my family to show some public support. And I guess one of the most telling parts and the saddest parts, I guess, was over 70 female members of Parliament, both Conservative and Labour, came out and called out the colonial undertones of articles and headlines written about Meghan. Yet no one from my family ever said anything. That hurts.”
He added: “But I also am acutely aware of where my family stand and how scared they are of the tabloids turning on them.”
“I just wanted to make them proud” says Meghan
Meghan told Oprah Winfrey that she had left everything to join the royal family, and just wanted to make them proud — even though she received little to no guidance or instruction.
“I left my career, my life, I left everything because I love him,” she said. “Our plan was to do this forever — I wrote letters to his family saying I am dedicated to this, I am here for you, use me as you’d like.”
But “there was no guidance,” she said. “There were certain things you couldn’t do, but (unlike the movies) there was no class on how to speak, how to cross your legs, how to be royal.”
She didn’t even know the British national anthem, and nobody in the royal institution thought to teach or show it to her, she said. “That was me Googling late at night … we were doing the training behind the scenes because I wanted to make them proud.”
“I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped,” says Harry
When asked if he would have stepped back if not for Meghan, Harry replied no.
“I myself was trapped as well. I didn’t see a way out. I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped,” he said.
When Oprah Winfrey asked how a prince born into privilege could have been trapped, he replied, “Trapped within the system, like the rest of my family are. My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave, and I have huge compassion for that.”
Harry “went to a very dark place” after Meghan confided that she didn’t want to live anymore
When Meghan told Harry that she didn’t want to live anymore, “I was terrified,” Harry told Oprah Winfrey.
“I had no idea what to do, I went to a very dark place as well, but I wanted to be there for her,” he said.
At first, he didn’t tell the family that she needed help — it’s not a conversation easily had in the institution, he said. And, he added, “I guess I was ashamed of admitting it to them — I don’t know if they’ve had the same feelings or thoughts. I have no idea.”
It’s a stifling environment, and “I didn’t have anywhere to turn to,” he added. “For the family, they very much have this mentality of, this is just how it is, you can’t change it, we’ve all been through it.”
“But what was different for me was the race element — it wasn’t just about her, it was about what she represents,” he said. “So it’s not just affecting my wife, but affecting so many other people as well.”
That’s what pushed him to discuss the issue with the royal family and warn them that “this isn’t going to end well,” Harry said.
Harry says his father, Prince Charles, stopped taking his calls
Prince Harry discussed his relationship with his father, Prince Charles, following his move to Canada in early 2020.
Before the couple’s public announcement of their stepping back from the royal family, Harry said he had had three conversations with the Queen and two conversations with his father, who is next in line to the British throne, “before he stopped taking my calls,” Harry added.
His father asked him to put it in writing, which Harry did — including specifics like the date they planned to make the announcement
When Oprah Winfrey asked why Prince Charles stopped taking his calls, Harry took a long pause.
“Because by that point, I took matters into my own hands,” he replied. “I needed to do this for my family. This is not a surprise to anybody, it’s really sad that it’s gotten to this point, but I’ve got to do something, for my own mental health and my wife’s. And for Archie’s as well, because I could see where this is headed.”
I had to walk “in her shoes” to understand the prejudice she faced, says Harry
Prince Harry said he had to walk in Meghan’s shoes to understand the scrutiny and bias she faced as a woman of color.
“I’ve spent many years doing the work and doing my own learning. But then my upbringing and the system, in which I was brought up in, and what I’ve been exposed to, I wasn’t aware of it to start with. But my God, it doesn’t take very long to suddenly become aware of it,” he said of racial issues.
“It takes living in her shoes, in this instance, for a day or those first eight days to see where it was going to go and how far they were going to take it, and get away with it,” he said of the British media’s coverage of the Duchess of Sussex.
Prince Harry: “I was desperate” to stop history repeating itself, but received “no help at all”
After Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping back from the royal family, they were told while in California that they would lose their security, the couple revealed in their interview with Oprah Winfrey.
It was due to their “change in status,” they said — though the royal institution admitted that there was no change in the level of threat they faced.
When Winfrey asked what the breaking point was, Harry answered, “I was desperate. I went to all the places I thought of to ask for help — we both did.”
“We’re in a lot of pain, you can’t provide us with the help we need,” Meghan added.
They wanted to take a breath from “this constant barrage,” Harry said. “My biggest concern was history repeating itself … what I was seeing was history repeating itself. But (this is) far more dangerous, because you add race in, you add social media … “
He clarified that by “history,” he was referring to his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, while being pursued by the paparazzi.
“When you see something happening in the same kind of a way, anyone would ask for help … especially when you know there’s a relationship there, they could help you share the truth, call off the dogs, whatever you want to call it,” he said.
But instead, they received “no help at all.”
Meghan and Harry are expecting a girl this summer
Meghan and Harry revealed in their sit-down with Oprah Winfrey that they are expecting a baby girl.
The baby is due in the summer, Meghan said.
Meghan ends her one-on-one segment: “I’m still standing” and “life is worth living”
Oprah Winfrey ended her one-on-one segment with Meghan by asking how she felt about sharing her truth publicly, and whether she was afraid of backlash.
“I’m not going to live my life in fear,” Meghan replied. “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. At a certain point you’re going to go, someone just tell the truth.”
“If that comes with a risk of losing things, there’s a lot that’s been lost already,” she added. “I’ve lost my father, I lost a baby, I nearly lost my name, there’s the loss of identity. But I’m still standing, and my hope for people in the takeaway from this, is to know that there’s another side — to know that life is worth living.”
Meghan didn’t have access to her passport, driver’s license or keys when she joined the royal family
Until she moved away from her royal duties, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said she felt trapped and didn’t have her passport, driver’s license or keys.
“When I joined that family, that was the last time — until we came here — that I saw my passport, my driver’s license, my keys. All that gets turned over. I didn’t see any of that anymore,” she told Oprah Winfrey.
Meghan said she was struggling with the intense pressure and scrutiny and she did not receive help from the royal institution even when she asked to be checked into an institution or seek professional help.
“I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” Meghan says of life in the royal family
Meghan revealed in her interview with Oprah Winfrey that life in the royal family had driven her to suicidal thoughts.
When Winfrey asked if there had been a breaking point, Meghan said yes. “I just didn’t see a solution. I would sit up at night, like, I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out,” she said. “My mom and my friends (were) calling me crying saying, ‘Meg, they’re not protecting you.'”
“It was all happening just because I was breathing,” she said.
It drove her to the verge of despair, she said. “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 has suffered, but I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it — and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
“It was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. I remember how he just cradled me, and … I went to the institution, and I said I needed to go somewhere to get help … and I was told that I couldn’t.”
She went to human resources as well to plead her case for leaving or seeking help, and though they expressed sympathy, they told her there was nothing they could do because she wasn’t a paid member of the institution, she was family.
“The way you’re describing this, you’re trapped and couldn’t get help, even though you’re on the verge of suicide. That’s what you are describing, that’s what I’m hearing,” said Winfrey.
“Yes,” Meghan replied. “That’s the truth.”
“I share this because there’s so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help, and I know how hard it is not just to voice it but to be told no,” she said.
The royal institution did not help when the “real character assassination” began, Meghan says
From CNN’s Aditi Sangal
Meghan said the stories about her making Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, cry were “the beginning of a real character assassination” and the royal institution did not publicly challenge it, despite knowing it was false.
“They would go on the record and negate for the most ridiculous story for anyone,” she said. “But the narrative about making Kate cry was the beginning of a real character assassination and they knew it wasn’t true. If they’re not going to kill things like that, then what are we going to do?” the Duchess of Sussex said in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Royal institution had concerns about “how dark” Archie’s skin might be, Meghan said
When Winfrey asked why Meghan thought the royal family didn’t want to give Archie a title or security, she revealed that race had been a concern within the institution.
There were several “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born,” she said.
The family had had those conversations with Harry, which were then related back to her, Meghan said. She declined to reveal who was involved with those conversations.
“That would be very damaging to them,” she said.
During her tours and visits to the Commonwealth, she saw “how much it meant to them to be able to see someone who looked like them in this position. And I could never understand how it couldn’t be seen as an added benefit, and a reflection of the world today.”
Harry and Meghan’s baby, Archie, won’t receive security from royal institution
When Meghan was pregnant with her son Archie, she was shocked to be told by the royal institution that he wouldn’t be made a prince and thus wouldn’t receive security.
“This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy, where I’m going, hold on a second … he needs to be safe,” she said. “We have created this monster machine (of clickbait and tabloids), you’ve allowed this to happen, which means we need to be safe.”
She didn’t have much of an attachment to titles — but it’s different if those titles might affect Archie’s safety, she said.
“While I was pregnant, they wanted to change the convention, for Archie. Why?” she said. “There’s no explanation.”
“That’s a loaded piece of toast” says Meghan of media’s scrutiny of her diet
During her interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan discussed the different standards applied to her and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge — and how glaringly obvious it becomes when you examine media headlines.
When Kate was photographed cradling her baby bump, she was praised as a doting expectant mother — but when Meghan was photographed doing the same, British media accused her of “pride or vanity.”
Winfrey contrasted media coverage of Meghan and Kate eating avocados during their pregnancies. For Kate, it was said to be helping with morning sickness. However, for Meghan, avocados became a fruit linked to water shortages and “environmental devastation.”
“You have to laugh at a certain point because it’s just ridiculous,” Meghan said. “That’s a loaded piece of toast,” she added.
She said she didn’t know why there was a difference in standards for her and Kate.
“I can see now what layers were at play there. And again, they really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain.”
Life in royal family was deeply lonely, Meghan says
Life in the royal family was deeply lonely and isolating, and she had little freedom, said Meghan.
She wasn’t even allowed to go out for lunch with friends sometimes because she was too heavily covered in the media, she said.
She was told to lay low — but she hadn’t even left the house in months, she said.
“I am everywhere but I am nowhere,” she added. Everyone was concerned with optics, how her actions might look — but “has anyone talked about how it feels? Because right now I could not feel lonelier.”
Meghan says she was silenced and wasn’t protected by the royal institution
In her interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said that she had been silenced after she got married and joined the royal family.
It was only when she joined the institution that she understood she “wasn’t being protected,” she said.
“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 said.
She added that she had been welcomed into the family, and that the family members are different from “the people running the institution.”
“The Queen has always been wonderful to me,” she said. On their first joint engagement, the Queen gave her a gift of pearl earrings and a matching necklace. In the car between engagements, the Queen had a blanket across her knees for warmth — and “she said, ‘Meghan, come on,’ and put it across my knees as well,” said Meghan. “It made me think of my grandma as well.”
This post has been amended to clarify Meghan’s statement on the protection offered by the royal family.
Meghan had to quickly learn to curtsy before her first meeting with the Queen
Before she met the Queen for the first time, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said she was taught to curtsy.
“I thought genuinely that that was what happens outside, I thought that was part of the fanfare. I didn’t think that’s what happens inside. And I said, ‘But it’s your grandmother.’ [Harry] goes, ‘It’s the Queen,'” she told Oprah Winfrey in the interview.
“That was really the first moment that the penny dropped,” she added.
She said she practiced it quickly with Harry before the meeting and did a “very deep curtsy” in front of the Queen.
“We just sat there and we chatted. And it was lovely and easy,” she said of their first meeting.
Meghan addresses rumors of dispute with Kate
In her one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan addressed the rumors that she had made Prince William’s partner, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cry during her wedding preparations.
The rumor had made headlines and sparked public hostility — but it wasn’t true, said Meghan. In fact, it was the other way around — Meghan had been the one in tears.
“A few days before the wedding she was upset about something pertaining to flower girl dresses. It made me cry, it really hurt my feelings,” she said.
She added that “There was no confrontation,” and that she has forgiven the Duchess of Cambridge, who is known as Kate. She is “a good person,” said Meghan.
“I don’t think it’s fair to her to get into the details of that, because she’s apologized,” she said — but the hard part was being publicly and relentlessly “blamed for something I didn’t do, but happened to me.”
“Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true,” she said — the institution being the royal family. When Winfrey asked why nobody had spoken up, Meghan replied, “That’s a good question.”
Meghan and Harry got married three days before the royal wedding
Meghan and Harry got married three days before the royal wedding that captured the world’s attention, Meghan revealed on her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The vows framed in their home shows the two of them during their private wedding, Meghan said.
Life now in their new home has been “really fulfilling,” she added — the couple has been able to focus on “getting back down to basics.”
Life in the royal family: “You’re being judged on the perception of it, but you’re living with the reality”
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, started her interview with Oprah Winfrey by discussing her wedding day and what it was like to enter the royal family.
The wedding was an “out of body experience,” she said. She had woken up that morning, listened to the “Going to the Chapel” song — but all the while, she and Harry were aware that “this wasn’t our day — this was the day that was planned for the world.”
“I went into it naively because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the royal family,” she said. “It wasn’t part of conversation at home it wasn’t something we followed … I didn’t do any research. I’ve never looked up my husband online,” she said.
“I didn’t fully understand what the job was, what does it mean to be a working royal?” she added. “But I think, there was no way to understand what the day to day was.
She didn’t know much about the British royals beforehand, she said — her mother didn’t even know about Princess Diana’s bombshell interview. “What do you know about the royals? It’s what you read in fairy tales,” Meghan said.
“The perception and the reality are very different things, and you’re being judged on the perception of it, but you’re living with the reality.”
Why Harry and Meghan stepped away from the Royal Family
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, announced they were stepping back from their roles as senior royals in January 2020, explaining on Instagram that they hoped to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution.”
Under the terms brokered by the palace, the couple had to step back from their royal duties, including military appointments and would no longer represent the Queen. The arrangement — which would go into effect in the spring — also saw them drop the titles His and Her Royal Highness and they would no longer receive funds for royal duties.
“It brings me great sadness that it has come to this. The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” Harry said shortly after the announcement while speaking at a charity event in London. “It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always got it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”
He added, “What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly aren’t walking away from you. Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the Commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.”
Hints of unhappiness in court documents: Meghan disclosed in court documents from her successful invasion of privacy case that she felt “unprotected” by the monarchy during her first pregnancy, in the face of “a large number of false and damaging articles.”
The legal documents were the first time Meghan had publicly indicated her unhappiness at the support Palace staff were providing to her. More specifically it disclosed a hint of her frustration at the royal protocol not to respond to speculative media reports.
Move to Los Angeles: As the end of the one-year transition period drew closer, friction reignited between the Sussexes now based in Los Angeles and the royals back home in the United Kingdom.
It was announced that Harry and Meghan had agreed with the Queen that they would not be returning as working members of the family. As a result, their honorary military appointments and royal patronages were revoked and would be redistributed.
NOW: The broadcast of Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah starts
Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan is airing now on CBS.
Oprah’s interview with Harry and Meghan was pre-taped, and CBS has teased preview clips over the past several days.
Viewers in the United States can watch the interview on CBS broadcast stations or online at CBS.com.
A once-in-a-generation challenge for the Palace
From CNN’s Rob Picheta
By the time the sun rises in the UK on Monday, the public will have a new perspective from Harry and Meghan, the former senior royals, on the machinations of the palace.
This week has already seen a frenzy of stories citing unnamed sources and royal commentators but the Palace has adhered to its usual protocol of silence in the face of the speculative reporting surrounding the broadcast.
It did, however, announce Wednesday it would investigate allegations that Meghan bullied members of staff, claims made anonymously in a British newspaper that the Sussexes’ spokesperson dismissed as “a calculated smear campaign.”
“It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining The Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and The Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years,” their statement added on Wednesday.
The more keenly anticipated TV special falls at an already fraught time for the royals, with Prince Philip, the Queen’s 99-year-old husband, spending a third week in hospital, having undergone a heart procedure on Thursday.
But the royals likely know from history the impact the televised spectacle could have. The palace encounters a bombshell TV tell-all roughly once a generation; a 1970 interview with the abdicated King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson posed problems for the Palace, 25 years before Princess Diana’s “Panorama” confessional was watched by tens of millions in Britain.
World braces for royal TV bombshell
From CNN’s Rob Picheta
The primetime event of the couple’s Oprah interview threatens to lift the lid on a litany of frustrations and grievances held by the couple against the institution they quit last year.
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have fought multiple legal cases against publications and photo agencies that had printed details of their private lives.
Earlier this year Meghan won a privacy claim against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday after they published a letter she sent her father, and launched a stinging rebuke to “dehumanizing” media organizations after the verdict, saying the “damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.”
“It has been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we had each other,” Harry told Winfrey in another promo clip, drawing parallels between their experience and that of his mother, Princess Diana, who was similarly exiled from the royals in the 1990s.
The door was closed on a potential return for the pair as working royals earlier this year.
But even that announcement was shrouded in tension; Harry and Meghan’s statement that “service is universal” was widely seen as a rebuke of the Palace’s framing of events, after the Queen confirmed that “in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family, it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”