Forgiveness, ‘guttural sounds’ and Nelson Mandela comparisons — everything we learned from Meghan’s bombshell interview

·13-min read
Forgiveness, ‘guttural sounds’ and Nelson Mandela comparisons — everything we learned from Meghan’s bombshell interview

The royal family probably aren’t your typical readers of The Cut, New York Magazine’s lifestyle brand targeted at women who want to read the latest on politics, culture, relationships and style.

But Prince Charles and the rest of his family are unlikely to have been able to resist reading some of the bombshells their former fellow royal Meghan Markle has dropped about them in her latest interview, a 6,000-word day-in-the-life piece with American features journalist Allison P Davis.

Among the most memorable: that Meghan apparently doesn’t want Harry to lose his dad like she did; that she’s making an active effort to forgive; and that her wedding day was compared to Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

Other bizarre details include Markle telling Davis to describe her moaning noises as “guttural sounds” and taking Davis along for the school run, where she asks her security guard to hand a backpack to a homeless man.

So which revelations were the most shocking? From Meghan’s “secret” social media confession to what she and Harry are teaching Archie as he grows up, here’s everything we learnt.

She’s considering re-joining Instagram

First, the real bombshell (by Meghan’s own admission): she is considering rejoining Instagram. “Do you want to know a secret?” she asks Davis, before revealing that she’s “getting back … on Instagram”, her eyes reportedly “alight and devilish” as she makes the revelation.

Later in the interview, the Duchess backtracks. “Later, Meghan would relay she was no longer sure she would actually return to Instagram,” writes Davis, who isn’t afraid to make her own position on the decision clear. The journalist admits the news is essentially “a nothing” and asks if Meghan is in fact trolling the media, having been so trolled by them in the past. She does then concede, and admit Meghan rejoining Instagram “is actually news”, given the actress had amassed more than three million followers on her lifestyle Instagram account The Tig before meeting Harry, but had to give it all up when they married.

Meghan later joined Harry, Kate and Will on a a preexisting account, @KensingtonRoyal, and in 2019 she and Harry launched their own Instagram handle @sussexroyal, which reached 1 million followers within six hours but was later closed down after they stepped back from royal duties. She has since told interviewers that she wasn’t planning to return to social media because of the bullying she’s received, so Davis acknowledges that Meghan’s new admission is a symbol of “progress”.

She’s aware that she still has princess status

Meghan has been estranged from her father since before her wedding (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
Meghan has been estranged from her father since before her wedding (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

The couple may have stepped back from royal duties but Meghan says she’s still keenly aware of being perceived as a princess. “It’s important to be thoughtful about it because – even with the Oprah interview, I was conscious of the fact that there are little girls that I meet and they’re just like, ‘Oh my God, it’s a real-life princess,’” she tells Davis.

She adds: “I just look at all of them and think, you have the power within you to create a life greater than any fairytale you’ve ever read. I don’t mean that in terms of ‘you could marry a prince one day’.

“I mean you can find love. You can find happiness. You can be up against what could feel like the greatest obstacle and then you can find happiness again.”

Her children have been called the N-word

The first picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter, Lilibet, was released in a Christmas card on December 23, 2021. (Alexi Lubomirski/Duke and Duchess of Sussex)
The first picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter, Lilibet, was released in a Christmas card on December 23, 2021. (Alexi Lubomirski/Duke and Duchess of Sussex)

Meghan says she doesn’t read the press and suggests this is to do with how she’s been treated by the media – particularly the British media – in the past. “There’s literally a structure by which if you want to release photos of your child, as a member of the family, you first have to give them to the royal rota,” she says of the UK royal rota media system.

“Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child? . . . You tell me how that makes sense and then I’ll play that game.” She does not explain who she is referring to.

Makeup queen Victoria Jackson has become a good friend

The Sussexes’ new Santa Barbara set has been much talked about over recent years. Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry have long been said to be among their close pals in California but Meghan’s latest interview with Davis reveals a new one: Victoria Jackson, a former makeup artist and entrepreneur who invented “no-makeup makeup” and made her money selling products on QVC in the Eighties.

Meghan says she met Jackson through Steinem and the makeup queen quickly became a close friend and “safe harbor”. She spent her 41st birthday at Jackson’s Santa Barbara ranch in August and the kids have been over to pet Jackson’s mini-pigs.

In fact, Jackson reportedly lent her use of the ranch for that very photo shoot for The Cut.

Packing up Frogmore Cottage this summer was ‘bittersweet’

Frogmore Cottage – Harry and Meghan’s UK home (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
Frogmore Cottage – Harry and Meghan’s UK home (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

You’ll remember that the Sussexes flew into London for the Platinum Jubilee in June. Well, apparently, they used the visit to pack up their belongings at Frogmore Cottage too.

Meghan says the trip was “bittersweet” as the house was almost exactly how they left it. “You go back and you open drawers and you’re like, Oh my gosh. This is what I was writing in my journal there? And here’s all my socks from this time?” she tells Davis, noting that the trousers she’s wearing are $30 pants from Boden that she brought back from the cottage.

Later, she adds: “It was bittersweet, you know? Knowing none of it had to be this way.”

She doesn’t want Prince Harry to lose his dad like she did

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Now, probably the most memorable quote of the whole interview (and the one many people including the Sussexes are still reacting to): “Harry said to me, ‘I lost my dad in this process.’ It doesn’t have to be the same for them as it was for me, but that’s his decision.”

The quote has mostly been interpreted to mean that Meghan doesn’t want her husband to lose his relationship with his father, Prince Charles, like she did with her father, Thomas Markle. Though others have suggested the “lost my dad” remark was Harry referring to Charles.

Omid Scobie, Meghan’s biographer and a close confidant of the couple, has since attempted to clear this up. “There seems to be confusion in some headlines about this quote in The Cut interview,” he tweeted last night. “I understand that Prince Harry is actually referring to Meghan’s loss of her own father, and Meghan is saying she doesn’t want Harry to lose his.”

Last night a source close to Prince Charles said he would be saddened if Harry felt their relationship was lost, adding: “The Prince of Wales loves both his sons.”

She and Harry were happy to leave the UK

Harry and Meghan talk to Oprah Winfrey (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions/PA) (PA Media)
Harry and Meghan talk to Oprah Winfrey (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions/PA) (PA Media)

The Sussexes have alluded to this already but Meghan didn’t mince her words when speaking of how she and her husband felt treated by the royal family, saying they felt forced to leave the UK because “just by existing, we were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy”.

“So we go, ‘Okay, fine, let’s get out of here. Happy to,’” she continues, adding that what she and her husband were asking for wasn’t “reinventing the wheel”.

“That, for whatever reason, is not something that we were allowed to do, even though several other members of the family do that exact thing.”

She’s never seen films like The Prince & Me (but wishes she had)

The Duchess of Sussex spoke to The Cut magazine (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duchess of Sussex spoke to The Cut magazine (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Davis points out that every film about an American woman who becomes a princess features a key scene in which an older royal gives her a coaching session on how to do the job properly. She cites The Prince & Me specifically and Meghan admits she hasn’t seen it.

“Yeah. That would’ve been really helpful. That would’ve been a very key tutorial to have had in advance of all this,” Meghan reportedly says.

Davis notes that while Meghan doesn’t say the line sarcastically, “the delivery is a sentence with a steel rod in it”. Meghan reportedly also suggests that her problems were because she was an American, not necessarily a black American.

Her wedding day was compared to Nelson Mandela’s release

Harry and Meghan on their wedding day (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
Harry and Meghan on their wedding day (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

Meghan tells several anecdotes during her interview with Davis and one of the most memorable comes from 2019, during a premiere of the live action version of The Lion King in London. “I just had Archie. It was such a cruel chapter. I was scared to go out,” she tells Davis, remembering how a cast member from South Africa pulled her to one side.

“He looked at me, and he’s just like light. He said, ‘I just need you to know, when you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same way we did when Mandela was freed from prison’.”

Hers and Harry’s Netflix series will be about their ‘love story’

At the Invictus Games (Getty Images)
At the Invictus Games (Getty Images)

Will it be reality TV show? A fly-on-the-wall documentary? A tell-all about Megxit and their new life in the US?

Meghan is tight-tipped about the details of her and Harry’s upcoming Netflix documentary with Davis, but she does hint that it’ll be about their love story. “The piece of my life I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see, is our love story,” she tells the interviewer, admitting she’s “not trying to be cagey” but that she doesn’t read any press so she doesn’t know what’s confirmed.

At the same time, she does appear happy to shed more light on the animated series, Pearl, she’d been working on with Netflix until bosses axed it. “There’s not much you can do when a company and a division changes their slate,” she tells Davis. “And there’s also not much you can do when, even if they think the project is great, the media will report it as though it was only my project.”

Harry thinks she can be both a model and a mum

Meghan might have been the focus of the interview, but Harry makes the occasional appearance, too.

Addressing Meghan in front of Davis, the father-of-two is described as saying: “Tell her the first thing you said when you got back last night,” before turning to Davis and saying: “She said, ‘I’m not a model’. I was like, ‘No, you are, of course you can be a model’. And she’s like, ‘I’m a mom!’ And it’s like, ‘You can be both.’”

Elsewhere in the interview, Harry tells Davis that working with Meghan from their shared home office for their company Archewell feels “natural and normal” before making a swipe at other members of his family. “Most people that I know and many of my family, they aren’t able to work and live together,” he adds.

She believes her need for privacy in California is part of being a good parent

Meghan Markle, Lilibet, Camilla Holmstroem and her daughter (Misan Harriman  @misanharriman)
Meghan Markle, Lilibet, Camilla Holmstroem and her daughter (Misan Harriman @misanharriman)

Meghan might still have problems with the paparazzi, but she believes her family’s privacy is better in California than it was in the UK.

Despite inviting Davis to join her for the school run (and handing a backpack to a homeless man en route), she says she believes she’d never be able to drop Archie at school or pick him up without a royal photo-call if they’d remained in Britain.

“Sorry, I have a problem with that,” she tells Davis. “That doesn’t make me obsessed with privacy. That makes me a strong and good parent protecting my child.”

She and Harry are keen to teach Archie about manners

Harry, Meghan and Archie (Toby Melville/PA)
Harry, Meghan and Archie (Toby Melville/PA)

Another anecdote, this time concerning how she and Harry are bringing up their eldest son, Archie. “We always tell him, ‘Manners make the man. Manners, manners, manners, manners, manners’,” Meghan tells Davis in The Cut.

She recalls a lesson she learnt when she was young, about salt and pepper always being passed together. “[My friend’s mother] said, ‘you never move one without the other’. That’s me and Harry. We’re like salt and pepper. We always move together,” Meghan says, also revealing that she and Harry have a pair of palm trees in the garden that are “connected at the bottom” and represent their love.

Other Archie-related insights include that he likes pretending to be a doctor with a toy stethoscope, and snacks on quesadillas on the way home from school. He’s currently doing half-days at pre-school but his teachers reportedly think he’s now ready to do full days soon.

She thinks forgiveness is important — but it takes effort

Meghan says she is still healing (Spotify/YouTube)
Meghan says she is still healing (Spotify/YouTube)

The Duchess clearly still has mixed feelings over the royal family and how she expresses her emotions around leaving. Though she’s “never had to sign anything that restricts [her] from talking”, she admits she’s still “healing” — but also says she believes there’s room for forgiveness.

“I think forgiveness is really important. It takes a lot more energy to not forgive,” she tells Davis. “But it takes a lot of effort to forgive. I’ve really made an active effort, especially knowing that I can say anything.”

Later, she adds: “I have a lot to say until I don’t. Do you like that? Sometimes, as they say, the silent part is still part of the song.”

She is keen to control the narrative

The upside of a journalist like Davis being chosen to do the interview is she isn’t afraid to offer extra colour, detail and insight.

Davis describes Meghan’s method of answering as “like she has a tiny Bachelor producer in her brain directing what she says” and acknowledges that she is trying to turn her apparent “hardship” into “content”.

She also recounts one particularly bizarre and memorable moment during their meeting in which Meghan tries to suggest what the journalist should write.

“At one point in our conversation, instead of answering a question, she will suggest how I might transcribe the noises she’s making: ‘She’s making these guttural sounds, and I can’t quite articulate what it is she’s feeling in that moment because she has no word for it; she’s just moaning,’” Davis writes.

Was the moan a cry for help, or just a stage direction from a woman still used to working as an actress? “And then, quickly and decisively, as if it were my idea, the conversation ends,” Davis says, concluding her interview. “She smiles and waves as I make my way out the door, wondering if somehow I’d missed everything she was trying to say.”