The highly anticipated prime time interview of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has wrapped up on the CBS. In a tell-all conversation with Oprah Winfrey aired on Sunday in the US and on Monday in the UK, Harry and Meghan provided viewers with an insight into what life was like for them inside the royal family. The couple spoke about a range of issues, from racism and lack of mental health support to feeling “let down” by the family. Here are some of the main talking points:
Meghan revealed palace conversations around ‘how dark’ Archie’s skin is going to be
In the interview, Meghan revealed that in the months leading up to the birth of their son, there were conversations within the palace not only about whether Archie would be given a royal title and security but also about “how dark” his “skin might be when he is born.” She said the concerns were relayed to her through Harry but declined to share who made the comments, adding: “I think that would be very damaging to them.”
Oprah later revealed that Harry had told her that the royal who made the comments was not the Queen or Prince Philip.
The duchess said she was baffled by this alleged side-lining of her future child in the royal hierarchy, and the risk a lack of security could put them in. “We haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of clickbait and tabloid fodder,” Meghan said. “You’ve allowed that to happen, which means our son needs to be safe.”
Asked by Oprah if the couple left the UK because of racism, Harry replied: “It was a large part of it.”
Meghan said that she struggled with suicidal thoughts
Meghan described her brief time as a royal as “almost unsurvivable”, adding that she struggled with suicidal thoughts while the palace staff ignored her pleas for help. “I was ashamed to say it at the time... I just didn’t want to be alive any more. And that was a very real and clear and frightening and constant thought.”
She then explained that when she went to “one of the senior-most people” to seek mental health resource but was told she could not and that it would not be good for the institution. “They said, ‘My heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution,’” she said.
On her relationship with Kate
Meghan addressed tabloid reports of the supposed “feud” between her and the Duchess of Cambridge by saying she had been wrongly accused of making Kate cry.
She told Oprah that it was actually Kate who made her cry during a discussion about flower girl dresses before the royal wedding in 2018. Meghan said Kate “owned it and apologised” with a handwritten note and flowers. She went on to describe her sister-in-law as a “good person”.
“What was hard to get over was being blamed for something that not only I didn’t do but what happened to me and the people that were a part of my wedding going to my comms team, saying, I know this didn’t happen,” Meghan added. “Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true.”
As for why she seemed to be held to a different standard than Kate in the press, Meghan told Oprah: “I don’t know why. I can see now what layers were at play there... They really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain.”
Harry felt ‘trapped’
Harry told Oprah that he felt “trapped” by his life as a member of the British royal family. “I didn’t see a way out. I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped,” the duke said.
“Trapped within the system, like the rest of my family are,” elaborated Prince Harry, adding that his father, Prince Charles and brother, Prince William are also trapped. “They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that,” he said. The couple had informed the Queen that they wouldn’t be returning as working members of the royal family.
Harry on being ‘let down’ by his father
Prince Harry revealed that he felt “really let down” by his father Prince Charles as he longed for the public support of his family, particularly during a time when his wife Meghan faced scrutiny from the British tabloids.
“There was a way of doing this, but 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,” he said.
“No one in my family said anything in those two years,” he said, before describing what he saw as a mutually reliant relationship between the tabloids and the palace. He said that the alleged lack of support from his father was especially disappointing because Prince Charles had gone through “something similar” during his marriage with Diana, Princess of Wales.
Harry also acknowledged during the interview that he had only spoken with his father twice about his eventual decision to step back from the royal family “before he stopped taking my calls”.
On the rift with William
Harry told Oprah that a distance had formed between him and his brother Prince William as he has stepped back from the royal family.
He said the relationship is one of “space at the moment”, but reiterated his love for his brother and said “time heals all things, hopefully”.
“As I’ve said before, I love William to bits,” he said. “He’s my brother. We’ve been through hell together. We have a shared experience, but we were on different paths.”
The Queen is ‘badly advised’
While Harry mentioned his close relationship with his grandmother, he revealed how he and Meghan were suddenly ordered not to attend lunch with the Queen at her Sandringham Estate in January 2020.
He said he was told “do not come up here” by her private secretary shortly after the Queen personally invited him and Meghan to visit and discuss their intention to step back from royal life. When he rang his grandmother to check, she said she had forgotten about something in her diary and was too busy.
Harry blamed courtiers, saying: “When you’re head of The Firm there is people around you that give you advice. And what has also made me really sad is some of that advice has been really bad.”
The financial cut-off
Prince Harry revealed that he had to make deals with Netflix and Spotify as the royal family “literally cut me off financially” after he and Meghan stepped back as working royals. He said that he needed the money so that he could afford to pay for security to “keep his family safe”.
He added that he had the money left to him by his mother, Princess Diana.
“Without that, we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” he said, in an apparent reference to their decision to move to California. He added, “All I wanted was enough to get security and keep my family safe.”
Harry and Meghan were ‘married’ three days before the wedding
Meghan said she and Harry had a secret marriage ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury in their “backyard” three days before their royal wedding.
“No one knows that – the spectacle was for the world,” the duchess told Winfrey. “But we want our union for us.”
She also told Oprah that the marriage certificate that hangs at her home is the one that has the date of the private ceremony. However it was later clarified that the secret ceremony would be best described as a private exchange of vows rather than a formal marriage.
It’s a girl
Harry and Meghan revealed they are expecting a baby girl. The duke said it is “amazing” to be having a daughter and said that they were “done” with two children.
Meghan added: “Two is it”, and confirmed the baby is due in the “summertime”.