Suicidal thoughts, racism and feeling trapped: Meghan and Harry lift lid on life as royals

Tom Batchelor
·5-min read
 (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions /PA Wire)
(Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions /PA Wire)

The Duke and Duchess dramatically lifted the lid on life as members of the royal family with a tell-all interview in which Meghan revealed her unhappiness left her contemplating suicide and accused others within “the firm” of racism.

Wiping away tears, she said she had pleaded for help from the family but none was given. “I just didn't want to be alive any more,” she said.

Meghan, 39, described how when she was first pregnant with son Archie, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born”.

And Harry, 36, said his father, Prince Charles, had refused to take his calls at one point during the family split.

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“I feel really let down because he's been through something similar. He knows what the pain feels like,” Harry said of the heir to the throne. “I will always love him, but there's a lot of hurt that's happened.”

The two-hour Oprah Winfrey interview, which aired in the US a day before it is shown on UK television, offered more dramatic revelations than many had expected, with several potentially damaging allegations likely to reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘I needed to go somewhere to get help’

On Meghan’s mental health, the duchess said she was so miserable as a royal that she considered ending her own life, and that her pleas for help had fallen on deaf ears.

Asked explicitly by Winfrey about suicide and self harm, Meghan replied: “That was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. And I remember how he [Harry] just cradled me.

“I went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help.

“I said that I've never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn't, that it wouldn't be good for the institution.”

Harry was asked if he told his family that he needed to get help for Meghan, and admitted he could not talk to them: “That's just not a conversation that would be had.”

He added: “I guess I was ashamed of admitting it to them. And I don't know whether they've had the same feelings or thoughts. I have no idea. It's a very trapping environment that a lot of them are stuck in.”

‘Archie denied prince title’

Meghan claimed that Archie, now aged one, had been denied the title of prince because there were concerns within the royal family about the colour of his skin.

“That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations that family had with him,” Meghan recounted.

She refused to say who made the remarks and Harry said he would never disclose who said it.

The prince added that no member of the family spoke out against racist articles about Meghan.

The couple met through mutual friends in London in July 2016 and announced their engagement in November of the following year.

They married in May 2018 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, when they took the Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles.

A year later, they moved out of Kensington Palace into their new home, Frogmore Cottage, in Windsor.

Then in early 2020, the couple announced they were stepping back from their royal roles and relocating to Los Angeles. It was at this point that the family cut the couple off financially, Harry said, adding that his father had let him down and at one point refused to answer his calls.

‘Diana would have felt very angry’

Money left to him by his mother, Diana, had been used to help them establish their new life in California, Harry said, adding that he was particularly hurt that security protection had been denied.

“I think she [Diana] would feel very angry with how this has panned out and very sad,” Harry said. “But ultimately, all she's ever wanted is for us to be happy.”

He also said he had been “trapped” in the royal family before Meghan helped free him.

“I was trapped but I didn't know I was trapped,” Harry said. “Like the rest of my family are, my father and my brother, they are trapped. They don't get to leave.”

Winfrey asked Harry whether he would have stepped down from his royal duties if he had never met Meghan.

“I wouldn't have been able to,” Harry replied, “because I myself was trapped as well” until “the moment that I met Meg”.

Responding to allegations that the couple's departure was due to her “scheming”, Meghan replied: “I left my career, my life. I left everything because I love him. Our plan was to do this forever.”

‘Kate made me cry’

She also denied newspaper reports that she had made Kate, the wife of Prince William, cry. Meghan said the opposite was true, and that Kate had made her cry before the 2018 wedding over the dresses for the flower girls.

In one of the few positive recollections of her time with the royal family, Meghan said the Queen had “always been wonderful to me”.

She recalled how meeting the monarch for the first time was “lovely and easy” and said now she had split from the family she felt able to “just pick up the phone and ... call the Queen, just to check in. That's what we do, it's like being able to default to not having to every moment go 'Is that appropriate?'”.

Harry disputed rumours that he intentionally blindsided his grandmother with his decision to split. “I've never blindsided my grandmother,” he said. “I have too much respect for her.”

But he acknowledged that he does not have a close relationship with his brother or father.

Meghan also revealed the pair were married in a secret private ceremony three days before the official ceremony at Windsor Castle in 2018.

Expecting a girl

And the couple announced their second child, who Meghan is thought to be around six months pregnant with, will be a girl.

The interview, which the pair will not be paid for, was first broadcast in the US on CBS and will air in the UK at 9pm on Monday on ITV.

You can contact the following organisations for support with your mental health in the UK: Mind, NHS, Samaritans. In the US, Mental Health America has useful resources.

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