Trigger warning: This story touches on topics concerning mental health and suicide. If you, or someone you know, would like to have a free, confidential chat with someone they can trust, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website here.
It’s been almost three years in the making, and finally, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have given us a true, no-holds-barred insight into their tumultuous journey as a royal husband and wife.
Their interview with Oprah Winfrey first aired on CBS around midday on Monday (Australian time), where they spoke at length with the iconic TV host about the challenges and discrepancies they faced as senior royals since their wedding in May 2018.
In the two-hour long special, the couple touched on their life as working royals – including the trials, tribulations and pain they’ve encountered as “falsehoods” continued to spread about them.
They also touched on life as parents to one-year-old Archie, with a baby daughter on the way.
And, on a hopeful note, their work within the social sphere, launching their charitable foundation Archewell, and how they will continue to grow in this space.
Keep scrolling as we uncover the biggest details from the Oprah special (and if you’re wanting to watch the special in full, tune in to Channel Ten or WIN this evening Monday March 8 at 7.30pm).
The palace “perpetuated falsehoods” about Harry & Meghan
A common theme throughout the interview is the monumental lack of support Meghan received from the Palace.
“I don’t know how [the palace] could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent when there is an active role that the Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” she told Oprah in the interview.
This suggests the Palace had an active role in continuing a narrative which tarnished Meghan’s image within the royal fold.
Meghan first met the Queen at Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew’s home
Meghan describes the moment she first met The Queen, telling Oprah it was at the Royal Lodge, the home of Sarah ferguson and Prince Andrew.
She didn’t realise she had to curtsy to the Queen in private until five minutes before entering. According to Meghan, Fergie came out to help her through the process.
Meghan never researched the inner workings of the royal family
Oprah asked her the question many people wondered: Surely Meghan would look up the family she’s looking to marry into.
Meghan told her: “I’ve never looked up my husband online.”
“I didn’t feel a need because everything I needed to know he was telling me.”
The infamous story about making Kate Middleton cry
Oprah asked Meghan about the a story published several months after her royal wedding in 2018, which claimed Meghan had made Duchess Catherine cry at the wedding rehearsals for her May wedding.
Reports claimed at the time it was due to a disagreement over Charlotte’s dress.
Speaking of the salacious report in her interview with Oprah, Meghan said: “I heard about that one. That was a turning point. That was when everything changed.”
Oprah asked her: “Did you make Kate cry?”
Meghan replied: “No. The reverse happened.”
“A few days before the wedding she was upset about something… and it made me cry and it really hurt my feelings,” Meghan said.
“What was hard to get over was being blamed for something not only I didn’t do, but happened to me.”
Meghan then added it was interesting this was never cleared up by the Palace.
Harry and Meghan married THREE DAYS before their royal wedding
In one of her biggest revelations early in the interview, Meghan told Oprah she and Prince Harry actually married three days before the royal wedding.
The Archbishop of Canterbury did it for them.
There were troubling conversations about how dark Archie’s skin would be
In a deeply saddening revelation from Meghan, she tells Oprah of the preparations in the lead up to giving birth to her baby son Archie.
“We had in tandem the conversations of how he won’t be given security,” she said in the interview.
According to Meghan, Palace officials informed her that her child would not have a title, and raised “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
Oprah asked her more about this, with Meghan telling her: “That was relayed to me from Harry from conversations that family had with him.”
She added that her security concerns only deepened throughout her last few months of pregnancy.
“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince, which would be different to protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security. This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy,” she explained.
NOTE: When Meghan references “The Firm”, this is presumably those who run the administrative side of the royal family. That includes private secretaries and senior staff who control logistics and protocol.
In the Oprah interview, she also refused to name the family member who commented on Archie’s skin colour citing it would be too damaging for them.
Meghan still speaks highly of The Queen, but says she didn’t feel protected
The Duchess told Oprah that the Queen always made her feel welcome.
But Oprah prodded her;: “What about the rest of them?”
“So often people in the firm would say ‘you can’t do this because it would look like that’,” Meghan told her.
She also added that everyone in her life was instructed to say “no comment.”
She initially thought this was to protect her, but this never combated the extremely negative press coverage she consistently received.
“It was only when things really started to worsen that I realised I wasn’t being protected but they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family but not me and my husband.”
Meghan contemplated suicide
In a devastating admission, Meghan admits that she contemplated suicide as the horrific media narratives and lack of support from the Palace continued.
“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. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. That was clear and real and frightening and constant thought.”
She added of the awful time: “I thought it would solve everything for everyone.”
She said she went to Human Resources (HR) at the palace but they allegedly told her: “There is nothing we can do to help you because you are not a paid member of the institution.”
“Nothing was ever done,” Meghan revealed.
This is a deeply troubling and heartbreaking admission from the Duchess, and one which justifies everything she and Prince Harry did in order to protect themselves and their son in stepping back from the royal family and moving to the US.
Later in the interview, Meghan touched on the harrowing topic again.
“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” she said.
“And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. And I remember, I remember how [Harry] just cradled me.”
She said later she asked a senior royal about the possibility of seeking inpatient care, but was told that was not possible because it “wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
If you, or someone you know, would like to have a free, confidential chat with someone they can trust, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website here.
Meghan was weeping at a public event
While at the Royal Albert Hall in January 2019, Meghan told Oprah of her private pain just days after telling Harry of her crippling mental health.
“We had to go to this event at the Royal Albert Hall after I told Harry I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” she told Oprah.
“In the pictures, I see how tightly his knuckles are gripped around mine. We are smiling, doing our job. In the Royal Box, when the lights went off, I was just weeping.”
Harry and Meghan are having a baby girl!
In a joyous reprieve, Meghan and Harry come together to tell Oprah that they are expecting a little girl this year, making their eldest son Archie a big brother.
“To have any child would have been amazing. But to have a boy and then a girl? What more could you ask for?” Harry said jubilantly.
They added that they’ll be stopping at two kids – plus their two adorable pooches, Pula and Guy.
Harry says they never “blindsided” The Queen
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan sent shockwaves through the world when they announced they would be stepping back from their roles as senior royals – but they never “blindsided” the Queen, as was quickly claimed by the press.
He said the pair asked for help before making the decision, with Meghan even suggesting they move to fellow Commonwealth country New Zealand to do the work on a lesser level.
“I never blindsided my grandmother. I have too much respect for her,” Harry insisted.
Prince Harry says Prince Charles “stopped taking my calls”
Harry admits he wasn’t prepared for the racism aimed towards Meghan in the British tabloids.
Ultimately, the intensity and scrutiny from the press, combined with the lack of support from the palace was the final straw.
Harry said he tried to talk it through with his Grandmother The Queen as well as his father Prince Charles. But apparently, it was only after three conversations that Charles “stopped taking” Harry’s calls.
“Because by that point I took matters into my own hands. I’ve got to do something for my own mental health, for my wife’s, and for Archie as well,” he said.
He added that he and his family continue to fear the British press in the wake of the racism and abuse they’ve been subjected to as it affects them mentally.
“There was an opportunity, many opportunities, for my family to show support… No one from my family said anything,” Harry said.
Meghan denies Megxit, Harry says he was “trapped”
Aptly titled in the months following Brexit (a whole other can of worms), Meghan and Harry’s explosive departure from the royal family became known as Megxit – almost immediately perpetuating an unconfirmed narrative that it was ultimately Meghan’s decision to step back.
Painted as a woman who “dragged” Harry away from his family, the real story couldn’t have been more different.
“Can you imagine how little sense that makes,” she told Oprah.
“I left my career, my life… because I love him.”
Harry, meanwhile, explained how he felt trapped – though he hadn’t realised its extent.
“I was trapped and I didn’t know I was trapped… My father and my brother, they are trapped, they don’t get to leave,” he said in the interview.
The Sussexes financial independence addressed
Prince Harry revealed he was cut off financially from his family in the first quarter of 2020.
“I have got what my mum left me. I think my mum saw it coming. And I felt my Mum’s presence through this process,” Harry heartbreakingly added.
He also explained how he thought Princess Diana would have reacted to this situation.
“I think she would feel very angry about how it’s turned out, but at the same time she would want us to be happy.”
Meghan called The Queen after Philip was admitted to hospital
In another small anecdote, Meghan said she had called the Queen following Prince Philips admission to hospital last month.
Explained by the mother-of-one, she said this is not something she could have done off-the-cuff as per royal protocol. Small wins…
Prince Harry hopeful for a reconciliation with William
In one of his final admissions, Prince Harry touches on his ever talked about, ever scrutinised relationship with his older brother, Prince William.
Last year, he referenced their disagreement publicly for the first time, telling journalist Tom Bradby that they’d had their disagreements.
He referenced this again, telling Oprah: “We have been though hell together. We are on different paths.”
He continued: “The relationship is space at the moment…. time heals all things, hopefully.”
Harry “saved” his family
In a final statement, Meghan went out with a bang: “Harry saved all of us, he ultimately called it when he said: ‘we have got to find a way.'”
She concluded by telling her husband: “You made a decision that saved my life and saved all of us.”