The Duchess of Sussex has told Oprah Winfrey that she was silenced by the royal apparatus and that it became clear at a certain point that some were willing to lie to “protect other members of the family.”
She differentiated between parts of the actual members of the royal family and those who worked for them.
“The Queen has always been wonderful to me,” Meghan said.
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The interview special which aired local time on Sunday night (and will be broadcast in Australia on Monday night at 7.30pm AEDT), opened with Meghan describing how naive she was about the ground rules of royal life before she married Prince Harry nearly three years ago.
“I didn’t fully understand what the job was,” she said.
Meghan told Winfrey she was “silenced” when she joined the royal family, while everyone in her circle was instructed to say “no comment” to questions which she said they did.
She revealed she had suicidal thoughts and said: “I just didn’t want to be alive any more.”
She said she begged for help, and asked to go somewhere to get help, and approached one of the most senior people in the institution, but was told it would not look good.
The Duchess said: “I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said that I’ve never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
Among other revelations made in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s blockbuster interview was the announcement of the gender of their second child.
“It’s a girl,” Prince Harry said.
When Winfrey asked about his reaction, Harry said, “Amazing. Just grateful. To have any child any one or any two would be amazing. But to have a boy and a girl, what more could you ask for?”
“Now we’ve got our family, we got the four of us and our two dogs.”
Asked if they were “done” with two children, Harry said “done” and Meghan said: “Two is it.”
She also confirmed the baby is due in the “summertime”.
Royals accused of racism
The couple also revealed shocking details about how unidentified royals were concerned about how dark her son Archie’s skin would be before his birth and that such worries explained why he was not given the title of prince.
Meghan, whose mother is black and father is white, said she was naive before she married into the royal family in 2018, but that she ended up having suicidal thoughts and considering self harm after asking for help but getting none.
“They didn’t want him to be a prince or princess, not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” Meghan said.
“In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of, ‘You won’t be given security, not gonna be given a title’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
She declined to say who had aired such concerns. Asked if she was silent or had been silenced, she replied: “The latter”.
The comments, she said, were made to Harry and relayed to her by her husband, and that such worries explained why Archie was not given the title of prince.
But she declined to say who in the royal family voiced those concerns, saying “I think that would be very damaging to them”.
The Duchess expressed her shock at “the idea of our son not being safe”, and the idea of the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way as other grandchildren.
Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, is not entitled to be an HRH or a prince due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by King George V.
He will be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne.
As the first born son of a duke, Archie could have become Earl of Dumbarton, one of Harry’s subsidiary titles, or have been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, instead at the time of his birth, a royal source said Harry and Meghan had decided he should a regular Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
Meghan ‘naively’ married into royal family
She also noted that she did not know how to curtsy before meeting Queen Elizabeth for the first time, and didn’t realise it would be necessary.
“I will say I went into it naively because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the royal family,” Meghan said.
“It wasn’t something that was part of conversation at home. It wasn’t something that we followed.”
Meghan said she and Harry were aligned during their courtship because of their “cause-driven” work.
But she did not fully comprehend the pressure of being linked the prestigious royal family.
“It’s easy to have an image of it that is so far from reality,” she said.
And that’s what was really tricky over those past few years, is when the perception and the reality are two very different things. And you’re being judged on the perception, but you’re living the reality of it. There’s a complete misalignment and there’s no way to explain that to people.”
Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal duties began in March 2020 over what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is biracial.
At one point, Winfrey asked Meghan how she felt about Buckingham Palace “hearing you speak your truth today?”.
“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,” she said.
“And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there’s been a lot that’s been lost already.”
In Britain, the interview is seen as poorly timed. It will air while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip remains hospitalised in London after undergoing a heart procedure.
Other key points:
- The Duke of Sussex said his father the Prince of Wales stopped taking his calls while Harry and Meghan were in Canada “because I took matters into my own hands. I needed to do this for my family”. He said Charles wanted him to put his plans in writing.
- Harry denied that he had “blindsided” his grandmother with the bombshell statement about stepping down as senior royal. The Duke said he believed the report probably could have come from “within the institution”
- Meghan said Kate made her cry ahead of her wedding. Reports circulated ahead of the Sussexes’ nuptials that Meghan left Kate in tears at Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress fitting. But Meghan told Winfrey the “reverse happened”. Meghan said she was not sharing the information to be “disparaging”, but added it was “really important for people to understand the truth”. “She’s a good person,” the Duchess added.