Harry and Meghan ‘feeling free’ after Oprah interview, says close friend

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

A close friend of the Duchess of Sussex has claimed the couple are “feeling free” following their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Actress Janina Gavankar, a friend of Meghan for some 17 years, said she spoke to the pair regularly and that they now planned to turn their focus towards the environmental and humanitarian work they had bonded over initially.

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, she said: “I think they are feeling free. It is nice to see them feel free.

“Now they can get back to what they really were focussed on and how they really met and fell in love, that was through humanitarian and environmental work, they have Archewell (the Sussexes’s charitable organisation).

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“They have been doing that kind of work way before they met each other and now they can do it together. It is actually a really good time.”

In her interview with chat show host Winfrey, Meghan said she had been suicidal while in the royal family but claimed she received no help after speaking about her suffering.

She and Harry also also alleged that a fellow royal had been worried about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone might be before he was born.

Gavankar, 40, said she had at the time been made “worried, terrified, sad” by her friend’s mental health problems.

She added: “After reading this short statement that came out from Buckingham Palace today, I felt two things.

“One side, I thought: I am so thankful that they are finally acknowledging the experience.

Oprah Winfrey interviews Duke and Duchess of Sussex
(Aaron Chown/PA)

“But on the other side, I am well aware that the family and the staff were well aware of the extent of it, and though their recollections may vary, ours don’t, because we lived through it with them. There are many emails and texts to support that.”

Gavankar, who attended the 2018 Royal Wedding and took the couple’s 2019 Christmas card photo, dismissed allegations of bullying after a number of claims were made against Meghan.

“I have known her for 17 years and I have seen the way she regards the people around her and the people she works with, and I can say she is not a bully,” the actress said.

“But I can also say that I am personally glad people are doing their due diligence because I also know why someone had to leave, and it was for gross misconduct.

“The truth will come out, there are plenty of emails and texts about that.”

Gavankar also disclosed that she watched the interview special air with both Harry and Meghan.

The palace’s brief statement on Tuesday said the Queen was “saddened” to hear the full extent of the challenges faced by Harry and Meghan in recent years.

It went on to say the issues of race raised by the couple were “concerning”, and that while “recollections may vary”, they would be addressed by the family privately.