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Meghan Markle calls out ‘cruel’ bullying she experienced while pregnant with Archie and Lilibet

Meghan Markle calls out 'cruel bullying' she experienced while pregnant with Archie and Lili
Meghan Markle calls out 'cruel bullying' she experienced while pregnant with Archie and Lili

Meghan Markle claimed she faced the “bulk” of “bullying” on social media while she was pregnant with her kids, Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2.

The Duchess of Sussex spoke on the dangers of social media during the “Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen” keynote discussion at South By South West in Austin, Texas.

Moderator Errin Haines asked, “Social media really has become the place for women and girls to, be scrutinized, objectified, bullied, and unfortunately I know this is something you are all too familiar with. How have you been able to manage the seemingly endless toxicity that comes at you?”

Meghan Markle attends SXSW on Friday for a keynote discussion. Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP
Meghan Markle attends SXSW on Friday for a keynote discussion. Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP

Markle, 42, took a moment and gathered her thoughts as her husband, Prince Harry, 39, who sat next to Markus Anderson, the global membership director of Soho House, watched from the audience.

“Yes, social media is an environment that I think has a lot of that,” she said Friday. “You know, I think it’s really interesting as I can reflect on it, I keep my distance from it right now just for my own well-being, but the bulk of the bullying and abuse that I was experiencing on social media and online was when I was pregnant with Archie and Lili, and with a newborn with each of them.”

Markle reportedly felt “unprotected” by the monarchy while suffering “tremendous emotional distress” and mental health problems while carrying Archie. She told Oprah Winfrey in the couple’s bombshell 2021 interview that she suffered with suicidal thoughts after they wed in 2018 about what was written about her in the British press.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle speak to Oprah Winfrey in their infamous 2021 tell-all. ZUMAPRESS.com
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle speak to Oprah Winfrey in their infamous 2021 tell-all. ZUMAPRESS.com

Archie was born on May 6, 2019 — just months before Harry and Meghan stepped down as members of the royal family in January 2020. They welcomed daughter Lilibet on June 4, 2021, in their now-home state of California.

Markle, who made an Instagram account in September but has yet to post anything, continued about the “bullying” at SXSW, “You just think about that, and to really wrap your head around why people would be so hateful. It’s not catty, it’s cruel.”

“And why you would do that. Certainly, when you’re pregnant, with a newborn, we all know as moms, it’s such a tender and sacred time.”

(Left to right) Markle, Katie Couric, and The 19th News’ Errin Haines take part in the keynote “Breaking Barrier, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen” at SXSW. Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP
(Left to right) Markle, Katie Couric, and The 19th News’ Errin Haines take part in the keynote “Breaking Barrier, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen” at SXSW. Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP
Harry and Meghan are parents to Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2. Alexi Lubomirski / Duke and Duch
Harry and Meghan are parents to Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2. Alexi Lubomirski / Duke and Duch

“I think you know, you could either succumb to it, nearly succumb to how painful that it is,” she went on. “And maybe in some regards, because I was pregnant, that mammalian instinct just kicked in. You do everything you can to protect your child, and as a result, protect yourself, too.”

Continuing her long-winded views on the downsides of social media, the former “Archetypes” podcast host said she finds it “disturbing” how “much of the hate is women completely spewing it to other women.”

“Reading something terrible about a woman, why are you sharing it with your friends?” Markle asked. “That’s the piece that’s so lost right now. We’ve forgotten about our humanity … Even if it’s making dollars, it doesn’t make sense.”

Markle visits New Zealand House to sign the book of condolence on behalf of the Royal Family on March 19, 2019. GC Images
Markle visits New Zealand House to sign the book of condolence on behalf of the Royal Family on March 19, 2019. GC Images

Referring to a platform like YouTube, which streamed the SXSW conversation, the “Suits” alum continued, “Everyone can hear the brilliance of this platform, but it also has hate and rhetoric. [The platform] incentivizes people to create pages to turn out comments and conspiracy theories that have a tremendous effect on mental health and safety.”

Markle previously claimed at the World Mental Health Day celebrations in New York City that she is “frightened” for her kids to one day log onto social media.

“As parents, though our kids are really young, they’re two and a half and four and a half… but social media is not going away,” Markle stated at the time.

Markle has previously spoken about her fears on her kids joining social media. Netflix
Markle has previously spoken about her fears on her kids joining social media. Netflix

“I think by design, there was an entry point that was supposed to be positive in creating community and something has devolved, and there’s no way to hear that and not try to help these families have their stories be heard.”

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.