Previously the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan have gone through a tumultuous move across the pond, and now, coming out the other side of it – are ready to talk about their experiences. In an exclusive, tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, the former British royals have discussed their feelings, Meghan’s experiences joining and in the Royal Family, and how they both feel now.
The interview will be airing at 9pm on the 8th March 2021, on ITV. It will be available to stream simultaneously on the ITVHub.
Meghan’s experiences entering and living in the Royal Family
Harry and Meghan got married in May 2018, and since then, former actress Meghan Markle has had to adapt to a very different kind of life. She had to give up her career, her life, and ship herself across to the United Kingdom. Since then, and even before the marriage, the UK press has been less than kind to Meghan. She has been slated for everything she does, from holding her baby bump, to the way she looks. But what the press and the people at home haven’t been able to see, was how she was treated by the Royal Family themselves.
As both an American, and a woman of colour, as well as effectively a ‘commoner’, Meghan was breaking a lot of boundaries by marrying into sovereignty. And it would appear that this breaking of boundaries was not appreciated. In the interview with Oprah, Meghan revealed that she ‘just didn’t want to be alive anymore’ following a distinct lack of support from the family. She talked about how she was given no guidance, and had to Google the national anthem, in a desperate attempt to make the royals proud. Yet, she was still isolated, lonely and in a dark place. Meghan went on to reveal that she also had no access to her passport, driver’s licence, or keys.
Eventually, she realised she needed to speak to someone, and confided in her husband. Harry said to Oprah that he was also in a dark place, but realised he needed to be there for his wife. When Meghan reached out for help elsewhere in the family – she was told no.
On top of the isolation within the family, Meghan was attacked again and again by the British tabloids, with claims that she was cruel, vindictive, manipulative, acting – and even claims that she had made her sister-in-law-to-be Kate Middleton cry prior to marrying Harry. Meghan spoke about this in the interview, explaining that it was the other way around, but that Kate apologised and the issue has since been resolved. Harry said in the interview that the Royal Family never addressed the ‘colonial undertones’ in the press’ treatment of Meghan, once again offering no support.
Aside from her own wellbeing, Meghan spoke about hers and Harry’s son, Archie. Meghan revealed that there had been conversations about Archie when she was pregnant, namely conversations about what colour his skin would be, and that they were told he would not receive a title or security. Both Harry and Meghan have declined to comment on who these conversations were had with. Since the interview, Vicky Ford, UK Minister for Children has stated that there is no place for racism in this country.
— LBC (@LBC) March 8, 2021
Overall, Meghan’s interview has explained exactly why the couple left the Royal Family, with her description of the environment as ‘almost unsurvivable’, and that Harry ‘certainly saved [her] life’ by making the decision to part from his family.
In the hours since the interview, many people have reacted to Meghan’s stories. Members of the Black community have spoken out in support for Meghan – namely Bernice King (Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter), Amanda Gorman, Serena Williams and Meena Harris.
Meghan Markle: “I’m still standing.”
— Meena Harris (@meena) March 8, 2021
Unfortunately, the response has not been all support, with British tabloids once again going after Meghan. Headlines reading ‘Meghan accuses the palace of racism’ and stories claiming the couple have burnt their bridges and won’t be permitted back to England have filled newsstands across the UK this morning.
Harry and the family rift
Of course, this has all impacted Harry, too. In the interview, Harry speaks about how his father, Prince Charles, stopped answering his phone calls shortly after the move. He went on to say that he was ‘disappointed, especially considering Charles’ experience with similar pain in the 1990s with Lady Diana. Harry explained that he feels ‘very let down’, but that he will always love his father, and will continue to make the effort to heal the relationship.
On top of this, Harry has gone as far as to say that he ‘was trapped’ without knowing it, and that his brother and father are too. He explains that the Royal Family fear the British tabloids, they are scared the press will turn against them.
Since leaving the family, Harry has been completely cut off financially. He and his family have been left solely with what Diana left him when she passed, and have been living on that. Hence, Harry and Meghan’s rumoured deals with companies like Spotify, Disney and Netflix. He explained that these were never part of the plan, but have arisen in attempts to find ways to support their family and lives.
When asked about his brother, William, Harry simply said that they need space, but that time heals all wounds. He also spoke fondly of his grandmother, the Queen, and said that she has made efforts to see Archie.
Fears of history repeating itself
Both Harry and Meghan made subtle references Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. For example, Meghan was wearing her diamond bracelet throughout the interview, and Harry spoke of his father’s experience with the press.
However, Harry also spoke outrightly about his mother. He explained that he felt her presence throughout this entire tumultuous period of his family’s life, and that he knows she’d be very upset and angry with how the family and press have treated them all. Ultimately, he said, she would just want them to be happy. And that’s where they’re heading, by the looks of it.
The interview also featured Meghan and Harry announcing the sex of their second baby, a girl! The baby is due in June, and in the meantime, the family have been making waffles, cycling, hiking, and enjoying their lives. Meghan spoke about their love and the life they share, describing it as “greater than any fairytale you ever read”.
As of yet, the Royal Family’s press secretary has only said that the interview raises ‘family issues’ but denies racism.