It was the interview that some within Buckingham Palace must have feared – but Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s discussion with Oprah Winfrey was more revealing, explosive and potentially damaging to the royal family than many could have imagined.
Allegations of racism within the family itself, and Meghan’s admission that she felt suicidal during her pregnancy, have been splashed across newspapers in the United Kingdom.
Throughout their two-hour TV special, both Harry and Meghan spoke with eye-opening candor, delivering accusations and rebukes that outweighed even Princess Diana’s landmark interview more than two decades earlier.
Here’s a round-up of what we learned from the conversation.
Meghan had suicidal thoughts
The duchess has hinted before that her mental health suffered during her stint as a senior royal, but during her interview with Winfrey she spoke for the first time about how severe the experience had been.
She revealed that life within the royal family was so isolating and lonely, and that she felt so unsupported by the institution, that she contemplated suicide while pregnant with her son Archie.
She added that she raised those issues with the palace, but felt unprotected by them. “I went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help, I said I’d never felt this way before … and I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution,” Meghan said, adding that she went to “one of the most senior people” to raise the concerns.
Emails were sent in which she was “begging for help,” she added.
She told Harry about the ordeal because “I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it – and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” Meghan said. She revealed her thoughts to her husband as they sat on the steps of their cottage. Hours later, the pair had to attend an event in London. “I can’t be left alone,” she remembered telling Harry, after he suggested she stay home.
“I wasn’t prepared for that,” Harry said during the interview. “I went into a very dark place as well. I wanted to be there for her.” He said that every day he came home from work after Archie was born, he would arrive to see Meghan crying while breastfeeding their child.
But he said he did not broach the topic with other family members. “That’s just not a conversation that would be had,” Harry said. “I guess I was ashamed of admitting it to them … For the family, they very much have this mentality of: This is how it is.”
The duchess also revealed that she reached out to an unnamed friend of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, to talk through her struggles. “I didn’t know who to even turn to in that. And one of the people that I reached out to, who’s continued to be a friend and confidant, was one of … Diana’s best friends. Because it’s like, who else could understand what it’s actually like on the inside?” she told Winfrey.
How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.
There were ‘concerns’ in the royal family about Archie’s skin color
Meghan said there was concern within the royal family about her baby’s skin tone, and Harry condemned his relatives for failing to criticize colonial undertones in media coverage.
Meghan told Winfrey that an unnamed member of the family raised the issue of how dark their unborn baby Archie’s skin would be while she was pregnant.
There were several “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born,” she said, in one of the most stunning revelations from the interview.