Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Open Up About Their Exit From The Royal Family in Oprah Winfrey Interview


(via Los Angeles Times)

Ryan Gorneault, Entertainment Editor

The 60 Minutes-produced sit-down interview between Oprah Winfrey and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, aired on March 7th, 2021, with the royal couple giving more insight into their exit from the Royal Family, shocking the public in the process. Right off the bat, it became apparent that this interview would be a refined look primarily at Meghan’s struggles, but not even Oprah was prepared to hear some of the revelations they made.

At the beginning of the interview, Meghan admitted to not doing enough research on royalty and British customs when she began dating Harry, not realizing just how involved royal culture was. She told a story where she was brought to meet Queen Elizabeth on a whim and quickly had to learn how to curtsy as to be respectful. As it turned out, the Queen was always nice to her. The entire Royal Family was welcoming of her, but problems arose as she realized not only how much she needed to learn but how much the new people around her were not telling her. Plus, she was continually losing autonomy, which was difficult considering that she was previously such an independent woman. Meghan was always told that she would be “protected,” but she quickly understood that those were just empty promises.

During the interview, Meghan wanted to distinguish between “The Family” and “The Institution”; in other words, the Royal Family itself was not always at fault. Instead, those around the Royal Family were often responsible for the problems Meghan faced. This was especially true as the British tabloids began releasing false and generally biased, if not entirely racist and sexist, stories about her. While she did not have regular access to these stories, she figured out through her family and friends that she was getting much worse press than her royal counterparts and that “The Institution” was not doing anything to deny the allegations made by the press. 

One infamous story released by the tabloids said that Meghan while preparing for her wedding, made Princess Kate cry. The reality was that Princess Kate had actually made Meghan cry, and while all was soon after forgiven, the story leaked six months later in an attempt to frame Kate as the hero and Meghan as the villain. She revealed that the tabloids and the Royal Family are inexplicably linked through a symbiotic relationship built on fear of bad press and large sums of money. The fact that the tabloids have had such power over the Family is just one reason why they have not spoken up for her.

Of course, the other reason, which had been widely speculated, was because of Meghan’s status as a biracial woman. She revealed that while she was pregnant with her baby Archie, there were worries amongst the Royal Family members about how dark his skin would be and how that would look for the Family in terms of publicity. Meghan and Harry were both very much disgusted by this. They feared that previous conversations within The Institution about the baby not being given any royal titles or security had to do with his race once he was born. When Oprah appeared on CBS This Morning the day after the interview aired, she clarified that according to Harry, the person who first expressed fears about Archie’s skin tone was not Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip.

Meghan admitted that between the racism (coming from the tabloids, The Family, and The Institution), a real lack of concern for her and her unborn baby, and a continued lack of autonomy, she became depressed and even thought about killing herself. When she told the Institution that she wanted to seek treatment for her mental health, she was told not to get help because it would make The Family and The Institution look bad. She said it took her a while to tell her husband because of how much he had on his plate and his traumatic past.

Harry initially did not seek help for Meghan following her revelation, saying he was ashamed and did not have anybody to turn to. However, when he finally did try and find help for her, The Institution was just as unresponsive with him, so the couple began the long process of moving out of the country. At the time, the tabloids pushed the narrative that Harry had blindsided the Queen by leaving the country, but Harry and Meghan denied this claim, adding that they still stay in contact with her to this day.

They initially decided to move to Canada since being a part of the Commonwealth of Nations would theoretically allow them to continue with at least some of their royal duties while away from the United Kingdom. When it became clear that this would not be possible, they moved from Canada to Southern California, staying at media mogul Tyler Perry’s house until they could get back on their feet. Things eventually fell into place, with the couple forming the “Archwell” media company and striking a deal with media and podcast-streaming site Spotify. Plus, the couple expects a baby girl this summer, so in the end, the story of the royal couple has a happy ending.