The Duchess said she had reached a “turning point,” that she had suicidal thoughts, and that she could not be left alone, for fear of what she might do to herself.
Meghan said she asked the palace for help, seeking professional mental health care, but was refused and told to actually get up and drive away.
“I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” Meghan told Winfrey. “I thought it would solve everything for everyone.”
The two-hour interview with CBS was not easy fun, and despite being held in the southern California sun, the program was sometimes – using Harry’s words – “very dark”.
Although the couple had only nice words about Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, they were ridiculed at court, which they described as particularly cruel, almost without feeling.
They did not name names, instead often calling Buckingham Palace, the Windsor House and the royal family and staff a “firm” or “institution”, making it unclear who they were complaining about.
Did the interview do significant damage to the British monarchy in public? Probably not, at least not irreparable damage – in part because after the 4th season Netflix hit series “The Crown” many people assume that royal families are distant and dysfunctional.
Indeed, this is how Harry and Meghan described them as a family “trapped” in their roles and who “lived in fear” of the British tabloid press.
The interview was broadcast in the United States and hit the front pages of British newspapers. The British will have to wait until Monday at 9pm to watch on ITV in the UK.
The British early reaction focused on Meghan’s confession that she felt suicidal. Whether the interview will prove good or bad for Sussexes is hard to predict, as the couple has become polarizing in Britain, with many fans and distractors. An interview with Winfrey, however, allowed the couple to explain their pressures they felt and the reasons for leaving Britain.
The duke said there was an “invisible contract” between the Windsor house and the tabloids, with the royal family ready to wine and dine with the media to get better treatment.
“I am extremely aware of where my family is and how much they are afraid of the tabloids turning to them,” he said.
Harry described this as “fear control” by the tabloids.
The couple accused the reporting of Meghan – and the couple’s first child, son Archie – of being racist.
Equally disturbing to them, the duchess said, was that, when she was pregnant with Archie, there was “concern and talk about how dark his skin might be when he was born.”
That conversation was with Harry, not Meghan.
When asked by Winfrey who told her husband, Meghan replied: family. “I think it would be very harmful for them,” she said. “Those were the conversations the family had with him.”
Harry refused to say who he was talking to.
The couple stressed that they would rather stay – for the rest of their lives – as “older royal kings”, but said the atmosphere was too poisonous.
The duchess said that the palace’s public relations teams are ready to lie in order to protect other members of the royal family, but that they will not correct false reports about her.
“They weren’t willing to protect me and my husband,” Meghan said.
Or as Harry said, “Share a little truth or invite the dogs or whatever.”
Giving one example, Meghan said that the stories she claimed made Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge cry, were actually the opposite of what happened, and that Catherine made Meghan cry in a dress over dresses for girls flowers at a wedding.
The television conversation had an echo of the familiar BBC interview in 1995 with Princess Diana, the mother of Harry and his brother William, Duke of Cambridge, who is Catherine’s husband.
In that exchange, Diana told reporter Martin Bashir about her husband, Prince Charles, and his adultery, bulimia and not getting support from the palace.
Meghan talked about suicidal thoughts and that she didn’t get support from the palace.
The duchess said that she entered the royal family “naively”, so she even needed a quick lesson from the correct record before she met the queen for the first time.
In the interview, Meghan tried to correct some headlines. She said it was untrue that she and Harry did not want Archie to have the title of prince, saying it was the decision of others.
Meghan said she cared less about the title than the impact of not being Prince Archie. She said her son would not be insured.
Harry said the palace pulled out their security details in early 2020 after they announced they would “move away” from the role of older members of the royal family. After the Daily Mail reported the location of their temporary home in the Canadian area of Vancouver, the couple said they felt exposed and vulnerable.
Both mentioned death threats. “I never thought my insurance would be removed. Because I was born at that risk, ”Harry said.
Harry said the couple did everything to stay in the family. He talked about “a lot of pain” with his father, who at one point stopped calling him while they were in Canada.
The duke also spoke about his mental health and how his wife helped him understand his own suffering.
“I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped,” Harry said.
Winfrey expressed surprise, saying that Harry was loved, that he was born a prince, so how exactly was he captured?
“Trapped in the system, as well as the rest of my family. My father, my brother – they were captured, “said Harry.