Warning: This article contains mention of suicide, self harm, and depression.
Last night, March 7th, the highly anticipated two-hour interview between Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired on CBS, and it was just as jaw-dropping as we expected. Not only did the Duke and Duchess of Sussex further explain how the British press played huge role in their departure from the U.K., but Harry and Meghan also disclosed some disturbing information about the royal family, including isolation tactics, lack of concern for mental health, and unwillingness to admit that it was the actions of the royal family that ultimately caused Harry and Meghan to escape before the worst could happen.
The full interview is currently available to stream on the CBS website. But, if you're looking for the highlights, here are the 11 most important things we learned from the conversation between Winfrey and the Sussexes.
Meghan and Harry were married days before the royal wedding in 2018.
We may have watched Meghan walk down the aisle and exchange vows with Harry, thus securing their union, but actually...the pair were already married. "Three days before our wedding, we got married," Meghan told Winfrey. "No one knows that. We called the Archbishop and we just said, look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world. But we want our union between us, so the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury."
Meghan learned to curtsy minutes before meeting Queen Elizabeth II.
When Meghan went to meet Queen Elizabeth for the first time, Harry prefaced the visit with a question: "Do you know how to curtsy?" Meghan told Winfrey, "I thought genuinely that was what happens outside I thought that was part of the fanfare. I didn't think that was what happens inside. And I said, 'But it's your grandmother,' and he said, 'It's the queen.'"
Thankfully, Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson stepped in and taught Meghan the ropes of the curtsy. "Apparently I did a very deep curtsy...then just we sat there and we chatted and it was lovely and easy." Meghan later joked, "Unlike what you see in the movies, there's no class on how to speak, how to cross your legs, how to be royal." Princess Diaries lied to us...
It was actually Kate Middleton who made Meghan cry, not the other way around.
One of the stories the British press blew up in 2018 and beyond was that Meghan made sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry over the topic of flower girl dresses. However, according to Meghan, "the reverse" is what actually happened. And the whole thing was cleared up after Kate apologized with flowers. "She is a good person," Meghan said of the Duchess of Cambridge, but the fact that no one in the family came forward to correct the reporting of the story was an early sign of the lack of support to come.
There was a conversation about Archie's skin tone and lack of title before he was born.
"In the months when I was pregnant," Meghan told Winfrey, "we have in tandem the conversation of he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born," which rendered Winfrey speechless. "That was relayed to me from Harry. Those were conversations that family had with him," Meghan said, but noted she would not reveal who started those conversations due to the fact that it would be "very damaging" to the other party.
Of the conversation between the anonymous person and Prince Harry regarding his son's skin tone, Harry said "it was awkward, I was a bit shocked." He confirmed this morning, March 8th, that this person was not the queen nor Prince Phillip.
Meghan contemplated suicide.
While Meghan was pregnant with Archie, her public image was bashed so badly and she was living in such isolation that her mental state deteriorated to the point of her having suicidal thoughts. "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," she told Winfrey, noting that she went to one of the top-tier officials in the family, "and I was told that I couldn't, that it wouldn't be good for the institution."
She eventually told Harry of her mental state because, as Meghan said, "I knew that if I didn't say it, that I would do it—and I just didn't want to be alive anymore."
After Archie was born, things didn't get much better. Harry recalls coming home and seeing Meghan crying while breastfeeding their son, and Meghan admitted that she reached out to one of Lady Diana Spencer's best friends during this time for advice. "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," Meghan said. "Because it's like, who else could understand what it's actually like on the inside?"
Harry's father stopped taking his calls after he and Meghan left the U.K., and Harry believes his father is "trapped."
Since moving to the U.S., Harry said he had "two conversations with [his] father, before he stopped taking [his] calls." Harry said that his lack of communication with his father has him feeling "let down," not only because Prince Charles knows firsthand the pain Harry and Meghan are dealing with, having gone through it with Princess Diana, but also because he's excommunicated himself from his grandson.
In fact, Harry believes that both his father and brother William are "trapped," telling Winfrey, "It's a very trapping environment that a lot of them are stuck in." And in many ways this is not an exaggerations, as Meghan recounts having to hand over her driver's license, passport, and keys as soon as she became part of the family.
"But at the same time, of course, I will always love him," Harry said of Charles, continuing, "I love William to bits, he's my brother, we've been through hell together, but we're on different paths."
Harry and Meghan were completely cut off from the royal family in 2020.
When Harry and Meghan signed their deals with Netflix and Spotify in early 2020, they did so not only to begin building a life for themselves post-royals, but because they financially had to. "My family literally cut me off financially," Harry told Winfrey, meaning he and Meghan had to act fast in order to stay afloat. Fortunately, Harry had money his mom had left him, which he says saved them.
The couple has remained close with the queen.
Meghan told Winfrey that despite her difficulties with the royal family, the queen has always been "wonderful to me," saying that Queen Elizabeth was always "warm" and "inviting."
Harry told James Corden during a segment for The Late Late Show that he and Meghan have FaceTimed with the Queen and Prince Phillip a handful of times since moving to the U.S.—she even bought Archie a waffle maker for Christmas this year. And the relationship between grandmother and grandson hasn't at all wavered since their departure and has even grown stronger. "My grandmother and I have a really good relationship, and an understanding and I have a deep respect for her," Harry told Winfrey, adding that he's spoken to his grandmother more this year than he ever has.
"I've never blindsided my grandmother," Harry told Winfrey regarding their decision to leave the family. "I have too much respect for her."
The Duke and Duchess will have a baby girl, due in the summer.
And they are both thrilled that Archie will become big brother to a baby sister later this year. But Meghan made one thing clear: "Two is it."
Archie's tagline is "drive safe!"
Meghan told Winfrey that Archie as been "on a roll" with learning new words and phrases. "In the past couple weeks, it's been 'hydrate,' which is just hysterical," she said. And Harry added that any time anyone leaves the house, Archie tells them to "drive safe."
"'Drive safe!'" Harry laughed. "He's not even 2 yet."
Harry enjoys doing things with Archie he was never allowed to do as a kid himself.
Life in the U.S. is calm for Harry and Meghan, and Harry especially is enjoying doing things with his son that he never got a chance to do as a child. "I can go for walks with Archie and we can go for walks as a family and with the dogs or have a hike or go down to the beach, which is so close," Harry told Winfrey. But his favorite activity to do with Archie is bike riding. "The highlight for me is sticking him on the back of the bicycle in his little baby seat and taking him on these bike rides, which is something I was never able to do when I was young."