But Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special is, as expected, full of even more big reveals. Markle admitted that she considered suicide as a result of British tabloid intrusion and lack of support from the Royal Family and that the “firm” had “concerns and conversations about how dark [son Archie’s] skin was going to be when he was born”.
Markle and Prince Harry revealed that they are having a girl this summer and that they’re stopping at two children.
The pair also opened up about the specifics of leaving the Royal Family and revealed how they came to sign multi-million-dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify.
Winfrey opened the CBS interview that there was no agreement, no subject off limits and the pair aren’t getting paid for the interview.
Markle said she went in to her marriage “naively” and that she didn’t know much about the royal family. “I didn’t look up my husband online,” she said, adding that she also didn’t “fully understand what the job was”.
There wasn’t a huge “formality” when she first met the Queen, Markle revealed but her future husband did ask if Markle knew how to curtsey and that was the moment “the penny dropped”. “I did a very deep curtsey,” she said.
She added that growing up in LA she saw celebrities all the time. “This is not the same,” she said.
After the first ad break, Oprah donned her “wellies” to check on the pair’s chickens, a moment where Markle revealed that they actually got married three days before the royal wedding.
“Everything changed” over the narrative after the wedding when British press said that Markle made Kate Middleton cry – which Markle said never happened.
The issue was flower girl dresses, and Markle said it actually made her cry. Why didn’t the royal “institution” clear up the narrative? “It’s a good question,” she said, adding that Middleton is a “good person”.
The avocado issue came up, where the British tabloids accused her of fueling deforestation with the fruit, while Middleton was praised for her taste in breakfast. “That’s a loaded piece of toast,” Markle joked.
On a more serious note, she revealed she was “silenced” by the royal family. “Everyone in my world was given very clear directive to say no comment,” she said. “Even as things started to roll out in the media… I said ‘Don’t worry, I’m being protected’. I believed that and that was really hard to reconcile because it was only once we were married and things started to worsen that I realized I was not being protected but they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family but they weren’t prepared to tell the truth to protect me.”
Markle calls the royal family “the firm” – a common reference in the UK. But she said it was important to distinguish between the family and the institution. “It’s a family business. There’s the family and then the people running the institution. The Queen has always been wonderful to me.”
She talked about the difficulties around her and Harry’s son Archie’s title and security protection. She said it was really hard to find out he wasn’t going to receive security – “that was really hard”. Adding that it was the family that had created the “monster machine” of clickbait and tabloid fodder rather than them.
She admitted that they never got an answer as to why the royal family changed the rules of Archie’s title, a controversial move as the first member of the royal family of color. “There was a lot of fear surrounding it.”
BOMBSHELL MOMENT – Markle revealed that there were “concerns and conversations about how dark [son Archie’s] skin was going to be when he was born”.
“I know how important representation is,” she said, highlighting the British Commonwealth.
Later on in the interview, Harry confirmed this but said, “That conversation, I’m never going to share. It was awkward and I was a bit shocked.”
BOMBSHELL MOMENT #2 – Markle admitted during particularly nasty press intrusion she “didn’t want to be alive anymore” and went to the royal family to help improve her mental health. “That was frightening thought,” she added.
She spoke to someone high up in the “institution” but was turned down. “You couldn’t just call an Uber to the Palace” and check in to a hospital, revealing that she didn’t even have access to her own passport. She admitted that her thoughts of suicide were “very real” and she was scared, admitting that “I don’t think I can be left alone”.
“It takes so much courage to admit that you need to help. To admit that you need help…”
Winfrey called some of the revelations “shocking” and Markle jokes that she didn’t plan on saying anything shocking. “I’m not going to live my life in fear,” she added. “I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.”
She also referred she had a miscarriage and said that she also “lost” her dad, who has been excommunicated from the family after a series of interviews.
BIG NEWS #3 – Prince Harry joined the interview after an hour to reveal that the pair were having a girl.
The pair then opened up about “Megxit”, where they stepped back as working members of the royal family. They said that they left because they were asking for help but didn’t get it and were only planning to step back from senior roles, as many others in the family. “We weren’t reinventing the wheel here,” Harry said.
He added that he wanted to take a breathe from the “constant barrage” and they left because of a lack of support and understanding.
Asked whether he blindsided the Queen with the exit and their statement, Harry said, “I’ve never blindsided my grandmother”, adding that if he had to “hazard a guess” about where those reports came from, “it could have come from inside the institution”.
He revealed that he had three conversations with Queen Elizabeth II before the statement and two with his father, Prince Charles, and this was “not a surprise to anyone” but he also admitted that Charles did stop taking his calls.
A touching moment… Markle coming across a repeat of The Little Mermaid and realizing that she was Ariel, who falls in love with a prince and loses her voice before eventually finding it in the end.
Harry reveals that there were many opportunities for his family to show Meghan support but they never did. He then goes in for the kill regarding the tabloids and the relationship with the royal family. “I’m acutely aware of how scared my family is of the tabloids turning on the royal family.”
He calls it an “invisible contract”. “It’s a case of if you as a family member are willing to wine, dine and give full access to reporters, you’ll get better press,” he said. “There is a level of control by fear that has existed for generations.”
He added that the institution survives on its relationship with the press, Markle highlighting press holiday parties being hosted at the Palace.
But Markle said that press coverage had racial overtones and this changed the threat levels including increased death threats.
She shoots back at the idea that she caused “Megxit” “I left everything because I loved him,” adding that unlike things you see in the movies, there was no guidance, admitting that she was up late googling the words to the British royal family.
While Oprah showed compassion during the interview, she was visibly irked when Harry, a man literally born a prince, said that he was “trapped within the system, like the rest of my family”.
ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS – The pair talked briefly about their deals with Netflix and Spotify through their company Archewell. Harry said “the Netflixes and Spotifys of it all was never part of the plan” but they were forced to find ways of making money after they were cut off financially from the family in the first quarter of 2020. He admitted that he had money that his mother left him.
Harry said, “This was never the intention. We’re certainly not complaining, our life is great now, we’ve got a beautiful house, I’ve got a beautiful family. The dogs are really happy. At the time during Covid, the suggestion by a friend was ‘what about streamers?’ and we hadn’t thought about it. There were all sorts of different options and from my perspective, I just needed enough money to pay for security to keep my family safe.”
“Life is about storytelling,” added Markle. “For us to be able to have storytelling through a truthful lens that is hopefully uplifting is going to be great, knowing how many people that can land with and be able to give a voice to a lot of people that are underrepresented and aren’t really heard.”
He said that his relationship with his grandmother was good and they had Zoomed with Queen Elizabeth with Archie, although he added that “there’s a lot to work through” with his relationship with his father.
Winfrey ended the two-hour interview by revealing that there was “so much more” to share and she will appear on CBS News on Monday morning with Gayle King to discuss that and the reaction.
The special was produced by Harpo Productions. Executive producers are Terry Wood and Tara Montgomery, co-executive producer is Brian Piotrowicz.
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