I became an avid royal watcher at the age of 13, a full 30 years ago. My obsession extended far past the British royals: I devoured biographies of Queen Marie of Romania, the Imperial Russians, and Princess Grace of Monaco. But the Brits were always my fave. As a matter of fact, I spent the first hours of my 20th birthday watching Princess Diana’s funeral in the middle of the night. All that to say, when I heard Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were sitting down with Oprah to spill all the (English Breakfast, presumably) tea about their exit from being working members of the British Royal Family, I. Was. HERE FOR IT!
I put my family on notice that for two hours last night, Oprah, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry were taking precedence over their needs, and shut myself up in my bedroom with a bowl of ice cream.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not disappoint.
My jaw DROPPED at some of their revelations, and my heart went out to them over and over.
The first bombshell was a big one: Meghan admitted to having suicidal thoughts and ideations because of her isolation and horrible treatment from the press, and even stated that she could not be left alone. She said she told Harry even though she was ashamed because she knew, “If I didn’t say it, then I would do it,” meaning that she would take her own life. My heart ripped in two when she said that she thought her death would solve everyone’s problems, and that the “institution” surrounding the royal family refused to get her mental health hospitalization because of how it would look.
Ummm . . . did anyone consider how it would look if a pregnant duchess died by suicide? Hole. Lee. Smokes. I am truly astonished at the callousness she was met with.
The next bombshell that had my jaw on the floor was the fact that a member or members of the family discussed with Prince Harry their concern over what his unborn child’s skin tone might be like because Meghan is biracial. Um, WHAT??? That Meghan discussed this with Oprah in a conversation about the fact that they were told their child would be given no royal title or official security made this revelation all the more sickening. Both Meghan and Harry declined to name the person who expressed this, or what was exactly said, which to me infers it is worse than what we could imagine.
I feel like it goes without saying that any child born into any family is a priceless gift and treasure no matter his or her skin tone, but apparently some folks in the UK need it to be said, so I am saying it.
Throughout their interview, Meghan and Harry made it clear that the racist treatment of Meghan by the UK press was a huge reason they felt they had to leave royal life to save their own lives and their family. In an additional clip of the interview aired not last night but on CBS This Morning, Harry reiterated that the “UK is not bigoted” but the “UK press is very bigoted.” The couple said racism in the press combined with lack of support from the Palace’s PR machine (i.e. their refusal to speak out to the press and squash false stories or bigoted attacks against Meghan), along with the lack of help for their mental health, are what ultimately drove them to leave the working royal life and flee the UK.
Overall, I was impressed by Harry’s willingness to do whatever it took to save his wife’s life and keep his family together. Referring to his mother’s royal exile and subsequent death in a paparazzi-fueled car crash, he said he could see history repeating itself, and he was not going to allow that to happen to his wife. He got his family out of a toxic, no-win situation at the possible cost of his relationship with his father and his brother. He gave up everything he had ever known, and it’s no small thing. Though I pray those relationships can be eventually restored, I am so glad he was brave enough to do what he did.
There was so, so much said in this interview (and the extra clips shared on CBS This Morning) that I could write five articles on it. I mean, we haven’t even talked about the fact that Harry and Meghan told Oprah that their baby due this summer is a GIRL!! (Please name her after Diana, please please.)
But the bottom line is this: I believe them.
Any reader of royal biographies knows that the Queen is not all-powerful and is very controlled by her advisors and protocol. She may have wanted to help the Sussexes, but in the end, the “Institution” won out, as it probably always will, at the expense of those who are born or marry into it.
As an American, I’m glad to have the Sussexes here and I am kinda geeked out that their baby girl will be born here as a citizen! A British royal born on American soil? I’m here for that, too.
What did you think of Meghan and Harry’s interview?