Harry and Meghan interview fallout

By Jessie Yeung, Aditi Sangal, Tara John, Zamira Rahim and Christopher Johnson, CNN

Updated 12:11 p.m. ET, March 8, 2021
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9:53 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Royal family never challenged the "colonial undertones" in the media's coverage of Meghan, Harry says

Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace in London on January 16, 2020.
Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace in London on January 16, 2020. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Harry said the royal family missed several opportunities to support Meghan and call the British press out on its negative coverage of the Duchess of Sussex.

"For us, for this union and the specifics around her race, there was an opportunity -- many opportunities -- for my family to show some public support. And I guess one of the most telling parts and the saddest parts, I guess, was over 70 female members of Parliament, both Conservative and Labour, came out and called out the colonial undertones of articles and headlines written about Meghan. Yet no one from my family ever said anything. That hurts."

He added: "But I also am acutely aware of where my family stand and how scared they are of the tabloids turning on them."

9:44 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

"I just wanted to make them proud" says Meghan

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch the RAF flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as members of the Royal Family attend events to mark the centenary of the RAF on July 10, 2018 in London, England.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch the RAF flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as members of the Royal Family attend events to mark the centenary of the RAF on July 10, 2018 in London, England. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Meghan told Oprah Winfrey that she had left everything to join the royal family, and just wanted to make them proud -- even though she received little to no guidance or instruction.

"I left my career, my life, I left everything because I love him," she said. "Our plan was to do this forever -- I wrote letters to his family saying I am dedicated to this, I am here for you, use me as you'd like."

But "there was no guidance," she said. "There were certain things you couldn't do, but (unlike the movies) there was no class on how to speak, how to cross your legs, how to be royal."

She didn't even know the British national anthem, and nobody in the royal institution thought to teach or show it to her, she said. "That was me Googling late at night ... we were doing the training behind the scenes because I wanted to make them proud."

9:39 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

"I was trapped but I didn't know I was trapped," says Harry

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit the University of the South Pacific on October 24, 2018 in Suva, Fiji.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit the University of the South Pacific on October 24, 2018 in Suva, Fiji. Phil Noble/Pool/Getty Images

When asked if he would have stepped back if not for Meghan, Harry replied no.

"I myself was trapped as well. I didn't see a way out. I was trapped but I didn't know I was trapped," he said.

When Oprah Winfrey asked how a prince born into privilege could have been trapped, he replied, "Trapped within the system, like the rest of my family are. My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don't get to leave, and I have huge compassion for that."

9:31 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Harry "went to a very dark place" after Meghan confided that she didn't want to live anymore

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks during a visit to The Silverstone Experience at Silverstone on March 6, 2020 in Northampton, England.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks during a visit to The Silverstone Experience at Silverstone on March 6, 2020 in Northampton, England. Peter Nicholls/WPA Pool/Getty Images

When Meghan told Harry that she didn't want to live anymore, "I was terrified," Harry told Oprah Winfrey.

"I had no idea what to do, I went to a very dark place as well, but I wanted to be there for her," he said.

At first, he didn't tell the family that she needed help -- it's not a conversation easily had in the institution, he said. And, he added, "I guess I was ashamed of admitting it to them -- I don't know if they've had the same feelings or thoughts. I have no idea."

It's a stifling environment, and "I didn't have anywhere to turn to," he added. "For the family, they very much have this mentality of, this is just how it is, you can't change it, we've all been through it."

"But what was different for me was the race element -- it wasn't just about her, it was about what she represents," he said. "So it's not just affecting my wife, but affecting so many other people as well."

That's what pushed him to discuss the issue with the royal family and warn them that "this isn't going to end well," Harry said.

9:33 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Harry says his father, Prince Charles, stopped taking his calls

Prince Harry and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales applaud while attending the 'International Year of The Reef' 2018 meeting at Fishmongers Hall on February 14, 2018 in London, England.
Prince Harry and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales applaud while attending the 'International Year of The Reef' 2018 meeting at Fishmongers Hall on February 14, 2018 in London, England. Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry discussed his relationship with his father, Prince Charles, following his move to Canada in early 2020.

Before the couple's public announcement of their stepping back from the royal family, Harry said he had had three conversations with the Queen and two conversations with his father, who is next in line to the British throne, "before he stopped taking my calls," Harry added.

His father asked him to put it in writing, which Harry did -- including specifics like the date they planned to make the announcement

When Oprah Winfrey asked why Prince Charles stopped taking his calls, Harry took a long pause.

"Because by that point, I took matters into my own hands," he replied. "I needed to do this for my family. 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 and my wife's. And for Archie's as well, because I could see where this is headed."
9:32 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

I had to walk "in her shoes" to understand the prejudice she faced, says Harry

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan walk down the stairs of the iconic Opera House to meet people on October 16, 2018.
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan walk down the stairs of the iconic Opera House to meet people on October 16, 2018. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Prince Harry said he had to walk in Meghan's shoes to understand the scrutiny and bias she faced as a woman of color.

"I've spent many years doing the work and doing my own learning. But then my upbringing and the system, in which I was brought up in, and what I've been exposed to, I wasn't aware of it to start with. But my God, it doesn't take very long to suddenly become aware of it," he said of racial issues.

"It takes living in her shoes, in this instance, for a day or those first eight days to see where it was going to go and how far they were going to take it, and get away with it," he said of the British media's coverage of the Duchess of Sussex.
9:31 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Prince Harry: "I was desperate" to stop history repeating itself, but received "no help at all"

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a township to learn about Youth Employment Services on October 2, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit a township to learn about Youth Employment Services on October 2, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

After Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping back from the royal family, they were told while in California that they would lose their security, the couple revealed in their interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It was due to their "change in status," they said -- though the royal institution admitted that there was no change in the level of threat they faced.

When Winfrey asked what the breaking point was, Harry answered, "I was desperate. I went to all the places I thought of to ask for help -- we both did."

"We're in a lot of pain, you can't provide us with the help we need," Meghan added.

They wanted to take a breath from "this constant barrage," Harry said. "My biggest concern was history repeating itself ... what I was seeing was history repeating itself. But (this is) far more dangerous, because you add race in, you add social media ... "

He clarified that by "history," he was referring to his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, while being pursued by the paparazzi.

"When you see something happening in the same kind of a way, anyone would ask for help ... especially when you know there's a relationship there, they could help you share the truth, call off the dogs, whatever you want to call it," he said.

But instead, they received "no help at all."

9:13 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Meghan and Harry are expecting a girl this summer

Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England.
Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Meghan and Harry revealed in their sit-down with Oprah Winfrey that they are expecting a baby girl.

The baby is due in the summer, Meghan said.

9:10 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Meghan ends her one-on-one segment: "I'm still standing" and "life is worth living"

In this handout image released on March 5, Oprah Winfrey interviews Meghan Markle.
In this handout image released on March 5, Oprah Winfrey interviews Meghan Markle. Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey ended her one-on-one segment with Meghan by asking how she felt about sharing her truth publicly, and whether she was afraid of backlash.

"I'm not going to live my life in fear," Meghan replied. "I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. At a certain point you're going to go, someone just tell the truth."

"If that comes with a risk of losing things, there's a lot that's been lost already," she added. "I've lost my father, I lost a baby, I nearly lost my name, there's the loss of identity. But I'm still standing, and my hope for people in the takeaway from this, is to know that there's another side -- to know that life is worth living."