Buckingham Palace did their best to smear their way to lower viewership, but it was no use: On March 7, the long-awaited (and well-teased) interview between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Oprah Winfrey aired on CBS as a prime-time special, and you just know the royal tea spilled out of all of those dainty porcelain cups. Throughout the two hours, the Sussexes spoke openly and freely about the decision-making that went into stepping down as senior members of the royal family, and just how much of it was influenced by the Windsors themselves. Additionally, often through tears, Markle discussed how Buckingham Palace brushed aside her thoughts of suicide, the “concerns” family members had about Archie’s skin color, and what really went down between her and Kate Middleton. Read on for all of the interview’s biggest bombshells about how terrible the monarchy can be.
1. Markle was denied mental health help from Buckingham Palace when she became suicidal.
While several months pregnant with Archie in January 2019, Markle revealed that she began to have suicidal thoughts due to the onslaught of negative and defamatory coverage from the British press. “I just didn’t see a solution. I would sit up at night, and I was just — I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out,” she explained about the press. “I realized that it was all happening just because I was breathing. 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’s suffered. But I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.” Markle defined her suicidal ideation as being “very clear,” “methodical,” and not “some abstract idea.”
When Markle, with the full support of Harry, approached both “the institution” and the palace’s human resources department to seek mental health help, she was denied any assistance. This came after she “really ashamed” to tell Harry about her suicidal thoughts, given “how much loss” Harry already suffered with his mother. “I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help and 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,” she recalled. “They said, ‘My heart goes out to you, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution.’” Markle hopes that by sharing her story, more people can better understand mental health struggles: “You have no idea.”
2. Middleton made Markle cry before her wedding.
As a direct contradiction to a flurry of tabloid reports that emerged months after her royal wedding, Markle said that she didn’t make Middleton cry over a tiff about bridesmaid dresses. In fact, she said the “reverse” happened. “It made me cry. It really hurt my feelings. I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding. She was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized,” Markle explained. “And she brought me flowers and a note, apologizing. And she did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone, right, to just take accountability for it.” Markle, who called Middleton a “good person,” added that the media “really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain” between them.
3. Despite royal protocol, Archie was not offered a prince title or “protection.”
Upon the birth of Archie, in May 2019, the press narrative that was favored about his name (which is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in full) is that Markle and Harry, in the hopes of their son maintaining a “normal” life, refused the grandeur of giving him an official title. However, Markle states that they were never offered the opportunity to decide for themselves. “While I was pregnant, they said they want to change the convention for Archie. It’s not their right to take it away,” she explained about the royal family. “They didn’t want him to be a prince or a princess. He wasn’t going to receive security. This went on for the last few months of my pregnancy, where I’m going, ‘Hold on for a second.’ We’re not saying don’t make him a prince, but if you’re saying the title is what’s going to affect the protection, our son needs to be safe.” Markle said she was never given any satisfying “explanation” about Archie’s title denial.
4. The royal family had “concerns” about how dark Archie’s skin might be.
Markle relayed a conversation that occurred between Harry and prominent family members while she was pregnant with Archie: There were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” When pressed by Winfrey to reveal who told Harry such a thing, Markle said that she wouldn’t reveal any names, as it would be too “damaging” to their reputations. Later in the interview, Harry confirmed that the conversation took place, but didn’t want to engage further: “I’m never going to share, but at the time it was awkward and I was a bit shocked.”
5. Markle never felt she was “protected” by Buckingham Palace.
As teased as the main sound bite for the interview, Markle said that she was silenced as opposed to silent about the royal family, which began as early as when the couple began to date in 2016. “I’ve always valued independence,” she explained. “I’ve always been outspoken, especially about women’s rights. And that’s the sad irony of the last four years, I’ve advocated for so long for women to use their voice.” Markle said that Buckingham Palace refused to let her, Harry, or her friends respond to any press inquiries with anything except “no comment,” which became increasingly “hard to reconcile” when they were married and saw the palace’s dynamics with other royals. “It was when everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” she said. “They weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.”
6. Prince Charles “stopped taking” Harry’s calls.
Prince Charles, the future king of England, cut off communication with Harry days before the couple announced they were stepping back as senior members of the royal family in January 2020. Harry said that he had three conversations with Queen Elizabeth and two conversations with his father prior to being ghosted, with Charles requesting written communication moving froward. “By that point, I took matters into my own hands. It was like, I need to do this for my family,” Harry explained. “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, my wife’s, and for Archie’s, as well, because I could see where this was headed.”
As for the current state of the relationship with his father, Harry said that he’s disappointed and there’s still “a lot of work” to be done. “I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar,” Harry explained. “He knows what pain feels like, and Archie’s his grandson. But at the same time I’ll always love him. There’s a lot of hurt that has happened. I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try to heal that relationship.” He added that “I’ve had to educate” Charles and other members of the royal family about the couple’s decision to step back.
7. Markle’s biggest regret is believing Buckingham Palace would protect her.
When asked by Winfrey if she had any regrets about her experience with the royal family, Markle further elaborated about how she felt she was blindsided by not receiving a basic level of protection. “My regret is believing them when they said I would be protected. I believed that,” she explained. “And I regret believing that because I think had I really seen that that wasn’t happening, I would have been able to do more. But I think I wasn’t supposed to see it. I wasn’t supposed to know. And now we’re actually on the other side, we’ve actually not just survived but are thriving. This? Miracles. I think that all of those things I was hoping for have happened.”
And now for one nice thing…
The couple’s second child will be a girl! Start betting if “Diana” will be the first or middle name.