Although she has been dragged through the mud by the media over the years, Meghan Markle has always remained strong. Now, both Markle and husband Prince Harry have peeled back the curtain hiding the secrets behind royal life. No longer bound by the tedious press crafting of royal life, the couple has decided to reveal what they experienced and what led to their infamous Megxit moment. In an interview with superstar Oprah, Markle talks about what it was like to have her suicidal thoughts brushed aside, feel like a prisoner in her own home, and weather the unimaginably casual racism of the family discussing concerns over whether her son Archie‘s skin color would be, “too dark” once he was born. 

Interview with Oprah Peels Back Curtain

In the CBS interview with Oprah, which garnered a staggering 17.1 million viewers, Markle goes into detail about the grim reality behind the glamorous photos and drama-filled headlines. Markle talks about how she felt like a prisoner in her home at times, being told to, “lay low,” because she was in too many headlines. Now, Markle says, people can appreciate how damaging that can be to mental health and happiness, after most people have been stuck at home for the past year. But it went beyond trying to keep Markle out of the headlines.

The Duchess of Sussex says that pressure from the royal family and bad media coverage that painted her as a troublemaker and a controlling, problematic partner for the Prince, meant that the couple had plans from the start to step away from the center of royal life. People reports, “‘We never left the family and we only wanted to have the same type of role that exists … there are senior members of the family. We said specifically we’re stepping back from senior roles.’

‘We weren’t reinventing the wheel here we were saying, ‘Okay, this isn’t working for everyone. We’re in a lot of pain, they can’t provide us with the help that we need. We can just take a step back,’ Meghan said after explaining that, currently, there are members of the royal family with titles ‘who earn a living, live on palace grounds can support the Queen if and when called upon.'”

The media mercilessly hounded Markle, from accusing her of being a gold-digger – despite being independently wealthy – to calling her vain for touching her baby bump or claiming she’s in favor of human rights violations for enjoying avocado toast. 

Their desperation to escape the royal life went beyond pressure and carefully crafted public images. At times, Markle’s very life depended on their ability to get away. Markle didn’t even have to do anything for the press to gleefully toss her image about, and explains when she and her husband reached a breaking point at the midst of the media furor; “For eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible. I was on maternity leave or with a baby, but what was able to be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable.”

Megan Discusses Suicidal ThoughtsMeghan Markle

Markle explained to Oprah that the way she was silenced and the pressures she was put under at times made her feel desperate. Candidly opening up about her mental health struggles, Markle reveals that she struggled with suicidal thoughts. Like many, she agonized over the option to get help. But horrifyingly, once she reached out for help, the actress was told it wouldn’t look good. So she was turned away.

“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, I would do it. And I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. That was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”

Once the expectant mother of one chose to tell her husband of her dark moments, Markle explains that he was her rock because no one else would help. “I remember how he just cradled me and I went to the institution and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help.”

The institution, Markle explained at Oprah’s prompting, is several people who determine what royal family members can – and cannot – do when it comes to normal, everyday decisions that are magnified by royal status. 

“I was told that I couldn’t [receive treatment], that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”

Markle wants her story to help others who are in circumstances where seeking help is hard or impossible. “I share this because there are so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help.”

When asked if she was having specific suicidal thoughts, Markle responded, “yes, this was very very clear. Very clear and very scary.”

Family Discussed Concerns that Archie Would be Born with Skin that Was, ‘Too Dark’

One of the most shocking – but somehow historically predictable – revelations that Markle shared centers on her and Harry’s son, Archie. The couple was informed that Archie would not be named a Prince, as should have been customary. Markle says she wasn’t concerned about the status, but was eager for some kind of title because with titles come the assurance of protection with the family’s resources. 

Markle explained that the lack of Prince title would mean Archie wouldn’t receive the highest level of security protection. Oprah asked if the couple felt that the cold shoulder of their son was racially motivated. 

Markle answers grimly, “In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, we have in tandem the conversation of, ‘he won’t be given security, he’s not gonna be given a title,’ and also concerns and conversations on how dark his skin might be when he was born.”  

Markle recounts a series of conversations relayed to her between Harry and a member of the royal family who expressed concern about Archie’s skin color. The unnamed family member worried that his skin might be too dark, and worried about what that might mean for the family’s image. Oprah, stunned by the revelation, asks if she will share who had the conversation, but Markle declines to. 

Harry explains, “That conversation, I am never going to share. At the time, it was awkward, I was a bit shocked.” He would not share the specific question asked about Archie’s skin color, but it was clear that the Prince found the approach stunning and upsetting.

Newsweek shares, “Although Harry declined to reveal who said it, on Monday Oprah clarified that ‘it was not his grandmother nor his grandfather’ who was involved in the conversation about the baby’s skin color.”

Harry later in the interview explained that the royal family’s silence on support for issues relating to Markle’s race hurt and disappointed him. Oprah asks why the family seems to shy away from ruffling press feathers, and Harry explains that there’s a behind-closed-door relationship between the royal family and press whereby if they treat reporters kindly, they receive good press. Oprah asks if there is a symbiotic relationship between the royal family and the press, but what is described is more parasitic.

The royal family is ostensibly in control, but their power rests on the perception that is crafted by the media. For fear of having that bedrock shattered by a gleefully gossiping media, the royal family remained aloof in the face of the barrage of abuse Markle received in the media, and Archie’s skin color worried them because it sounded too close to what they would have historically viewed as a scandal. Because of the “colonial” way the media covered Harry’s new wife, Markle and Harry explain that the threat to their family became racially charged and enhanced.

Megan and Harry Forging New Life Partly With Money Squirreled Away By Princess Diana

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

After Megxit, when the pair famously stepped down and moved to SoCal, their security detail left. The media had gleefully announced their new residence, and Harry realized that they were dangerously vulnerable.

“Their justification was, ‘a change in status.’ Of which I pushed back and said, ‘is there a change of threat or risk?’ And after many weeks of waiting, eventually I got the confirmation that, no the risk and threat hasn’t changed, but due to our change of status – which we would no longer be official working members of the royal family – obviously what we proposed was part-time [involvement].” This arrangement continued until earlier this year when the couple opted to retire completely.

Oprah asked Harry, “The media reported that you had blindsided the Queen – your grandmother. Here’s a time to set the record straight. What was the tipping point that made you decide you had to leave?”

The Prince responded, “I was desperate. I went to all the places I thought I should go to for help.”

Harry talks about the feeling that history was repeating itself. The Prince is referring to his mother, Princess Diana, who famously was hounded to her death by paparazzi. Harry says the pressure was even higher due to Markle’s mixed-race heritage; he felt that the atmosphere they were living in was toxic and headed towards deadly. 

After the couple left for SoCal, they found themselves bereft of access to the royal coffers. Markle had a successful career of her own, but that wasn’t their only fall-back. The couple quickly forged their own path and established their wealth through deals with Netflix and other endeavors.

The Same System ‘Trapping’ the Royals May Keep Them From Retaliating

When asked if Markle was afraid of backlash from the royal family, Markle answered honestly, “I’m not going to live my life in fear. So much of it is said with an understanding of truth. But I think, to answer your question, I don’t know how they could expect that after all this time we would still just be silent if there’s an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. That at a certain point, you’re going to go, ‘you guys, just tell the truth.'”

At one point, Harry becomes emotional talking about how he was trapped but had no idea until his world collided with Markle’s. With a loving glance in her direction, he describes coming to the realization that his family is trapped within the system, the same one that killed his mother. 

Going Through It Together

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Both husband and wife have lost much in their jouney to taking care of their family’s wellbeing. Markle talks about her motivation in speaking up, “If that comes with the risk of losing things, I mean – I’ve lost. There’s a lot that’s been lost already. I lost my father. I lost a baby. I nearly lost my name. The loss of identity. But I’m still standing. My hope for people, in the takeaway from this, is to know that there’s another side. To know that life is worth living.”

Harry is clearly happy that his wife is healthy and alive and they’re forging a path forward together. “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side. Because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago. Because it has been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we have each other.”

The couple, still living in Southern California and expecting their second child, have revealed that the new baby will be a girl. The baby girl will join her older brother Archie in their post-royal life. Harry says he speaks with his grandmother regularly – more than in the past, in fact. The Prince’s relationship with his father is a bit more strained, and he describes feeling let down. 

Although they have received no apologies for the way they were treated, they seem hopeful that some relationships can be healed. Others will be far more difficult to reconcile. Harry describes enjoying the little things he never had as a child – like a bike ride around the neighborhood with a loving dad. Markle seems to be healing mentally and looks radiant with her growing bump and loving partner. 

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