By Ariel Steinsaltz
Markle explained that the first time she met Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry asked her if she knew how to curtsy, saying, “I thought, genuinely, that that was what happens outside. I thought that was part of the fanfare. I didn’t think that’s what happens inside.”
Later, Winfrey asked about the media coverage of her relationship with Kate Middleton. Markle explained that, despite stories swirling that she had made Middleton cry before her wedding, it had actually been the other way around.
She explained that Middleton apologized and sent her flowers, and that she had forgiven her, but that she was disappointed that the royal family had made no effort to correct the inaccurate report. She also called Middleton a good person and said that she was upset with the rivalry the media pushed between the two, and that people could like her without hating Middleton and vice versa.
Markle talked about how grateful she is for her experience working before becoming a member of the royal family. She also mentioned her work for women’s rights and called it ironic. “I’ve advocated for so long for women to use their voice, and then I was silent,” she said. But when asked, she amended that she had in fact been silenced, rather than silent.
She explained that she and everyone in her life had been told not to comment on media stories and that she had believed she was being protected. Eventually, she said, the illusion broke.
“They were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband,” Markle told Winfrey.
She explained that her experience with members of the family was different from her experience with the institution of royalty surrounding Buckingham Palace and the people running it. She recalled feeling welcomed into the family and that she specifically enjoyed spending time with the queen.
Markle talked about feeling lonely as a member of the royal family, and how she had to alter her life because of how things would appear to the public. She mentioned feeling like she wasn’t receiving the help or support from the royal family that she needed, and talked about the famous interview where she was asked if she was okay, and indicated she wasn’t.
"Not many people have asked if I’m ok … it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes."— ITV News (@itvnews) October 18, 2019
Meghan reveals to ITV's @tombradby the intense media spotlight has left her struggling to cope while becoming a mum #HarryAndMeghan https://t.co/Uy21iE6ozJ pic.twitter.com/kZqhZV66OL
Markle also talked about the issue of race in the royal family and how it was hurtful that the first member of color in the royal family would not be a prince, which broke usual protocol. She explained that during the months of her pregnancy, there were conversations between Prince Harry and members of the royal family who were concerned about how dark Archie’s skin was going to be when he was born, but would not name any names because she did not want to damage members of the family.
She discussed how she didn’t understand the concerns over Archie’s skin color, given that a large percentage of the British Commonwealth is people of color, so it would be a positive thing to have a person of color born into the royal family.
Markle also revealed that the constant negative press coverage and lack of protection got so intense that she had suicidal thoughts. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” she said. “And that was a very clear, and real, and frightening constant thought.” She said she had been afraid to tell anyone, but realized that she had to tell someone, or else she would end up committing suicide.
She remembered going to the institution and saying that she needed to go somewhere for her mental health, and being told that she couldn’t go because it would reflect poorly on them. She reached out to multiple people and was told there was nothing they could do to help her with her mental health. It even got so bad, she said, that she told Harry she couldn’t be left alone because she was afraid of what she might do.
After the interview aired, many people expressed support, including a number of celebrities. However, there was also pushback to the interview. The Society of Editors, a British organization that promotes freedom of the press, pushed back against the allegations of racism in media coverage, according to NBC News.
Piers Morgan, a conservative British TV personality, cast doubt on the story, saying he did not believe Markle’s claims of feeling suicidal. After a series of negative comments, Morgan resigned from his position as co-host on “Good Morning Britain,” but he said that he still did not believe Markle and did not regret his comments. He said that he was defending freedom of speech, according to NBC News.
Buckingham Palace released a statement on Tuesday saying that it was taking the allegations of racism seriously and that the family was “saddened” to learn how difficult the last few years were for Harry and Meghan. They said that the claims of racism would be privately investigated by the family and that Harry, Meghan, and Archie would always be beloved members of the royal family, according to CNN.