In an exclusive bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Harry and Meghan say they left Buckingham Palace due by to lack of support from the British Royal Family.
A year after Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in a fairy-tale wedding, she said in an extraordinary interview broadcast on Sunday night, her life as a member of the British royal family had become so emotionally desolate that she taking her own life.
At another point, members of the family told Harry and Meghan, a biracial former actress from the United States, that they did not want the couple’s unborn child, Archie, to be a prince or princess, and expressed concerns about how dark the color of the baby’s skin would be.
An emotional but self-possessed Meghan said of her suicidal thoughts: “I was ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. I knew that if I didn’t say it, I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
Meghan’s blunt answers raised the combustible issues of race and privilege in the most rarefied echelon of British society.For the royal family, already preoccupied by the hospitalization of its patriarch, Prince Philip, it was both an embarrassing airing of dirty laundry and a painful reminder, a year after Harry and Meghan turned their backs on royal life, that the wounds from that rupture had yet to heal.
Meghan said that while her husband was deeply concerned about her emotional fragility — gripping her hand tightly at public events — her efforts to seek medical help were rebuffed by palace officials, who worried about the impact on the monarchy. She described herself as a sort of prisoner in Kensington Palace.
“I couldn’t just call an Uber to the palace,” she said.
Meghan did not say which family member had raised questions about her baby’s skin color, nor did she fully explain why the royal family had not automatically planned to confer a royal title, which would have provided security protection for the child. By convention, Archie would assume a royal title once his grandfather Prince Charles ascended to the throne.Still, the lack of clarity did not rob the moment of its power: Meghan’s reference to concerns about her child’s skin tone provoked a stunned “what?” from Ms. Winfrey.
In other, less provocative disclosures, Meghan corrected the record on some family business and revealed the sex of their unborn child.
It was her sister-in-law, Kate, she said, who drove her to tears in a clash over dresses for the flower girls, rather than the reverse, as had been widely reported. In another awkward encounter with one of her own aides, she said that the aide told her she shouldn’t go out to lunch with friends because she was overexposed, even though she had left her residence only twice in four months.
On his part,Prince Harry who joined Meghan for the second half of the interview, said the couple broke away because of a lack of support or understanding from his family, particularly about the racism that he said his wife confronted in news coverage.
“No one from my family said anything over those three years,” Harry said.
The prince, who remains sixth in line to the throne, described being financially cut off by his family after he and Meghan announced plans to withdraw from royal duties. He said his relationship with his father was particularly strained — Charles stopped taking his calls at one point — because “there’s a lot of hurt that has happened.”
On both sides of the Atlantic, this was the most eagerly anticipated royal interview since Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, told the BBC in 1995 that “there were three of us in this marriage,” referring to her husband, Charles, and his extramarital relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, whom he later married
Harry invoked that tragedy with Ms. Winfrey, saying of his wife’s recurring clashes with the tabloid press, “My biggest concern was history repeating itself.” He has long blamed journalists for his mother’s death and said one of the reasons the couple moved to California was to escape the unrelenting media attacks
Meghan, however, cast the interview as a chance to reclaim her own narrative, after a period when she claims her reputation was distorted by a ravenous tabloid press fed a diet of falsehoods by jealous palace courtiers
Even Meghan’s choice of wardrobe seemed calculated to telegraph the message of a new start. Her elegant black dress, designed by Giorgio Armani, featured a striking lotus flower design that her staff said symbolized revival and a will to live. She also wore a diamond tennis bracelet that once belonged to Diana.
But the couple’s effort to relaunch their public image did not go unchallenged back home. In the days leading up to the broadcast, new allegations surfaced that Meghan had bullied members of her staff, reducing junior aides to tears and driving two personal assistants out of the palace. Meghan dismissed the claims as character assassination, while Buckingham Palace said it would look into them.
“My biggest concern was history repeating itself,” Harry told Ms. Winfrey in the interview.