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Meghan describes anguish about hurtful discussions about son

Meghan describes anguish

UPDATE 6:40 p.m.

Meghan told Oprah Winfrey that she experienced suicidal thoughts over how she was being treated after marrying Harry, and the anguish she had over discussions about her son that ranged from questions about his skin colour to the decision that he would not get a prince title.

The Duchess of Sussex told Winfrey that when she was first pregnant with son Archie, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” The statement led Winfrey to ask “What,” incredulously and sit in silence for a moment.

Meghan, who is biracial, declined to say who had this conversation with Harry that he relayed to her, saying revealing their name would be “very damaging.”

Sunday's interview — Meghan and Harry's first since stepping away from royal life — is being broadcast first in the United States; British audiences will not be able to see it until Monday evening.

Meghan said she grew concerned about her son not having a royal title because it meant he wouldn't be provided security.

Meghan said digesting everything during while pregnant was “very hard.” More than the “prince” title, she was the most concerned about her son’s safety and protection.

“He needs to be safe,” a teary-eyed Meghan recalled. “We’re not saying don’t make him a prince or princess, whatever it’s going to be. But if you’re saying the title is going to affect their protection, we haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of click bait and tabloid fodder. You’ve allowed that to happen, which means our son needs to be safe.”

Meghan said it was hard for her to understand why there were concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour. She said it was hard for her to “compartmentalize” those conversations.

Winfrey at various points in the interview ran through headlines about Meghan and at one point asked about the mental health impact. Meghan responded that she experienced suicidal thoughts and had sought help through the palace's human resources department, but was told there was nothing they could do.

Harry joined his wife later in the interview and they revealed that their second child will be a girl.

Earlier in the interview, Meghan told Winfrey it became clear at a certain point that some were willing to lie to “protect other members of the family.”

The duchess differentiated between parts of the actual members of the royal family and those who worked for them. “The queen has always been wonderful to me,” Meghan said.

Sunday's interview special opened with Meghan describing how naive she was about the ground rules of royal life before she married her husband, Harry, nearly three years ago. “I didn’t fully understand what the job was,” she said. She also noted that she did not know how to curtsy before meeting Queen Elizabeth II for the first time, and didn't realize it would be necessary.

“I will say I went into it naively because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the royal family,” Meghan said. “It wasn’t something that was part of conversation at home. It wasn’t something that we followed.”

Meghan said she and Harry were aligned during their courtship because of their “cause-driven” work. But she did not fully comprehend the pressure of being linked the prestigious royal family.

“It’s easy to have an image of it that is so far from reality,” she said. “And that’s what was really tricky over those past few years, is when the perception and the reality are two very different things. And you’re being judged on the perception, but you’re living the reality of it. There’s a complete misalignment and there’s no way to explain that to people.”

At the top of the interview, Winfrey ran through several key points: that the production was following strict COVID-19 protocols, no topic was off limits and that Meghan and Harry were not being paid for the special.

Royal interviews that aren't tied to a specific topic are rare, and prior televised sessions have often proved problematic. Prince Andrew’s 2019 BBC interview about his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein led to his own departure from royal duties after he failed to show empathy for Epstein’s victims.

Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal duties began in March 2020 over what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess.

In Britain, the interview is seen as poorly timed. It will air while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip remains hospitalized in London after undergoing a heart procedure.

It is unclear what public reaction, if any, the queen and other royal family members will have to Sunday’s interview. The U.K.'s Sunday Times newspaper, citing an anonymous source, reported that the queen would not watch it.

On Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation after a London newspaper reported that a former aide had accused Meghan of bullying staff in 2018.

A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by the latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself.”

Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, wore an empire-style black dress with embroidery. Harry wore a light gray suit and white dress shirt, minus a tie.

As Meghan Markle, the actor starred in the TV legal drama “Suits.” She married Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and their son, Archie, was born a year later.

Harry and Meghan's departure from royal life was supposed to be reviewed after a year. On Feb. 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple would not return to royal duties and Harry would relinquish his honorary military titles — a decision that made formal, and final, the couple’s split from the royal family.


ORIGINAL 10:30 a.m.

The time has finally come for audiences to hear Meghan and Harry describe the backstory and effects of their tumultuous split from royal life.

Sunday night’s airing of a two-hour special hosted by Oprah Winfrey will provide the first, and unprecedented, peek into the couple’s departure from royal duties and the strains it has placed on them.

How it’s received is likely to depend on which side of the Atlantic Ocean viewers are on.

The show, which includes Winfrey’s interviews with Meghan and Harry, will air first in the United States — Meghan’s home country — at 8 p.m. Eastern. Hours earlier, Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, delivered a royal address before Commonwealth Day.

British audiences will wake up Monday to headlines and social media posts about Winfrey’s special, but won’t be able to see the full interview until Monday night when it airs on ITV.

Royal interviews that aren't tied to a specific topic are rare, and prior televised sessions have often proved problematic. Prince Andrew’s 2019 BBC interview about his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein led to his own departure from royal duties after he failed to show empathy for Epstein’s victims.

Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal duties began in March 2020 over what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is biracial.

Clips released ahead of the airings suggest that at least Meghan will have some pointed criticisms of royal life. In one she describes the royal family as “the firm,” a nickname that is sometimes used affectionately and sometimes critically.

At one point, Winfrey asked Meghan how she felt about Buckingham Palace “hearing you speak your truth today?”

“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,” she said. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there’s been a lot that’s been lost already.”

In another clip, Harry invoked the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, who had to find her way alone after her divorce from Prince Charles.

“I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago,” Harry said, adding, “because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us.”

In Britain, the interview is seen as poorly timed. It will air while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip remains hospitalized in London after undergoing a heart procedure.

Meghan is shown in a clip released Friday contrasting the conversation the two women were able to have now versus in 2018 ahead of her wedding. Meghan described not being able to talk to Winfrey, who was seeking an interview, without royal minders present.

“As an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is um.. different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes,” Meghan told Winfrey.

It is unclear what public reaction, if any, the queen and other royal family members will have to Sunday’s interview. The U.K.'s Sunday Times newspaper, citing an anonymous source, reported that the queen would not watch it.

On Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation after a London newspaper reported that a former aide had accused Meghan of bullying staff in 2018.

A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by the latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself.”

The snippets already released provide some details about the interview, which includes Winfrey speaking one-on-one with Meghan and a joint session with the couple.

Holding hands, Harry and Meghan sat opposite Winfrey while she questioned them in a lush garden setting. The couple lives in Montecito, California, where they are Winfrey’s neighbours.

Meghan, who recently announced she is pregnant with the couple’s second child, wore an empire-style black dress with embroidery. Harry wore a light gray suit and white dress shirt, minus a tie.

As Meghan Markle, the actor starred in the TV legal drama “Suits.” She married Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and their son, Archie, was born a year later.

Harry and Meghan's departure from royal life was supposed to be reviewed after a year. On Feb. 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple would not return to royal duties and Harry would relinquish his honorary military titles — a decision that made formal, and final, the couple’s split from the royal family.



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