Prince Harry has claimed he and Meghan Markle believed their explosive Oprah Winfrey interview would help reconcile them with the Royal Family – and said his wife was so distressed ahead of the programme airing she sobbed through the night.
The Duke of Sussex, 36, who is currently living in his $14 million mansion in California having stepped back from royal duty, opened up about his decision to do the interview during his new documentary series The Me You Can’t See.
In the fifth series of the episode, Prince Harry described the bombshell discussion as ‘real and authentic’, saying: ‘I like to think that we were able to speak truths in the most compassionate way possible, therefore leaving an opening for reconciliation and healing.’
He continued: ‘Before the Oprah interview had aired, because of the combined efforts of The Firm and the media to smear her, I was woken up in the middle of the night to her crying into her pillow because she doesn’t want to wake me up because I’m already carrying too much. That’s heartbreaking.’
The couple were accused of ‘blowing up the royal family’ after the interview, in which they laid bare the extent of their rift with the Queen and other senior royals and accused The Firm of racism, sent shock waves around the world.
Prince Harry has claimed he and Meghan Markle believed their explosive Oprah Winfrey interview would help reconcile them with the Royal Family
During the programme, the Duke could be seen discussing the decision to do the Oprah Winfrey interview.
Prince Harry described Megxit as ‘an awakening’, saying: ‘The media is desperately trying to control the narrative because they know if they lose it, the truth will come out.’
He continued: ‘The interview was about being real and authentic. And hopefully sharing an experience which we know to be incredibly relatable to people around the world, despite our unique privileged position.’
The Duke went on to discuss waking up to find Meghan crying into her pillow the night before the Oprah interview aired in February.
The Duke of Sussex, 36, who is currently living in his $14 million mansion in California having stepped back from royal duty, opened up about his decision to do the interview during his new documentary series The Me You Can’t See
He said she ‘hadn’t wanted to wake him’ because he was already ‘carrying too much.’
Harry continued: ‘I held her, we talked, she cried and cried and cried.’
During the February programme, they accused an unnamed Royal Family member of racism, suggesting the relative had asked ‘how dark’ their baby would be; said they had been driven out of Britain, in part, by racism; and accused the Palace machinery of failing to support a ‘suicidal’ Meghan.
Meghan also accused her sister-in-law Kate of making her cry; suggested senior royals plotted to ensure Archie would never have a title or adequate security; and said officials had failed to stand up for the couple against ‘racist’ commentary, while lying to protect other royals.
Prince Harry said he thought the bombshell show would ‘leave an opening for reconciliation’ with his family (pictured, the Queen, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Commonwealth Service)
After the Oprah Winfrey interview, royal aides were said to be paralysed with ‘horror and dismay’ when watching the stream of damaging allegations.
The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William were all locked in crisis talks over how to react to the string of incendiary accusations unleashed by Harry and Meghan during a two-hour special with Oprah Winfrey on American TV.
In the days after the interview, Palace insiders described a mood of ‘intense personal shock and sadness’ that the prince had pressed the ‘nuclear button on his own family’. ‘People are just reeling,’ a source said.
Bombshells from the Oprah interview
– Meghan’s mental health
The Duchess of Sussex revealed she had suicidal thoughts and said: ‘I just didn’t want to be alive any more.’
She said she begged for help, and asked to go somewhere to get help, and approached one of the most senior people in the institution, but was told it would not look good.
The duchess said: ‘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.’
– Baby Sussex is a girl
Prince Harry said his first thought was ‘amazing’ when he discovered they were having a girl, adding: ‘Just grateful. To have any child, any one or any two, would have been amazing.
‘But to have a boy and then a girl, I mean what more can you ask for? Now we’ve got our family, we got the four of us and our two dogs.’
– Royal family accused of racism
Meghan said, when she was pregnant with Archie, an unnamed member of the royal family raised ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.
Asked whether there were concerns that her child would be ‘too brown’ and that would be a problem, Meghan said: ‘If that is the assumption you are making, that is a pretty safe one.’
Pushed by Winfrey on who had those conversations, Meghan refused to say, adding: ‘I think that would be very damaging to them.’
She added: ‘That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations the family had with him, and I think it was really hard to be able to see those as compartmentalised conversations.’
– Archie’s title
Meghan suggested she and Harry wanted Archie to be a prince so he would have security and be protected.
The duchess expressed her shock at ‘the idea of our son not being safe’, and the idea of the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way as other grandchildren.
Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, is not entitled to be an HRH or a prince due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by King George V.
He will be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne.
As the first born son of a duke, Archie could have become Earl of Dumbarton – one of Harry’s subsidiary titles – or have been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, instead at the time of his birth, a royal source said Harry and Meghan had decided he should a regular Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
– The Prince of Wales
The Duke of Sussex said his father the Prince of Wales stopped taking his calls while Harry and Meghan were in Canada ‘because I took matters into my own hands. I needed to do this for my family’. He said Charles wanted him to put his plans in writing.
A senior Government minister and Boris Johnson ally, Lord [Zac] Goldsmith, echoed the mood of many in royal circles. Responding to the suggestion that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had ‘loaded up a plane and dropped bomb after heavy bomb on Buckingham Palace’, he tweeted: ‘Not ‘Buckingham Palace’ – Harry’s family. Harry is blowing up his family.’
Buckingham Palace, which was not informed about the couple’s decision to do the interview before it was first announced, had been bracing itself for the worst.
Aides could not have predicted how devastatingly brutal the couple’s interview – watched by 17million in the US alone but set to air last night to a global audience of many times more, including on ITV in the UK – would be.
The Mail was told that royal staff stayed up until 3am to watch the interview via video link live from the US with a mounting sense of horror – and sadness.
As morning broke, crisis meetings were called involving senior officials as well as senior royals, in person and on the phone, as well via video call.
The Queen, at Windsor, spoke with her son Charles, who was at Clarence House, his London home, and grandson William, who has also moved back to the capital from Norfolk in preparation for his children to return to school.
Sources told the Mail that household staff, many of whom had supported the couple as best they could during an ‘extremely difficult and trying three years’, felt ‘angry and let down’ but were determined to put a brave face on the situation for the sake of the elderly monarch.
‘Staff are reeling. But there is [also] a strong sense of needing to retain a dignified silence and show kindness and compassion. There’s a lot people want to say but no one wins with a tit-for-tat battle,’ said one. ‘Bridges need to be built after all this is over, after all.’
Most damaging are the couple’s claims that not only were they unsupported by both family members and staff, but they also suffered as a result of an apparent racist agenda against them.
Meghan suggested that race was the heart of every decision made against them.
But there was bemusement among royal insiders at her claims that senior royals had tried to prevent their son, Archie, from having a title – or security – because of blatant prejudice.
‘They didn’t want him to be a prince,’ she told Miss Winfrey.
Long-standing rules, laid down by George V, mean that the title of HRH passes only to the children of a sovereign and their grandchildren through the male line, meaning Archie will only be given a title when his grandfather, Prince Charles, accedes to the throne.
The Queen can issue letters patent to change that on an individual basis but aides for Harry and Meghan briefed journalists at the time of his birth that they were very happy for him to be styled ‘Master Archie’ because they wanted him to have the same kind of freedoms as the prince’s cousins, Zara and Peter Phillips.
A source close to the Sussexes suggested the couple were so concerned about Archie’s security because of his mixed race heritage that they wanted him to become a prince so he would be afforded suitable security.
But insiders say there was never any doubt that the Queen’s great-grandson would be protected and although the Prince of Wales has made no secret of his desire to have a slimmed-down monarch, Harry and his family were always part of his plan.
Elsewhere in the new documentary series, Harry described returning to London to attend Prince Philip’s funeral last month as a terrifying experience.
Earlier this month, royal expert Russel Myers said Prince William, 38, and his father, the Prince of Wales, 72, ‘want to draw a line under Harry and Meghan’ who have been a ‘distraction for the family’ (pictured, at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh)
‘I was worried about it, I was afraid,’ Harry told The Associated Press during a recent joint interview with Oprah Winfrey to promote a mental-health series they co-created and co-executive produced for Apple TV+.
He was able to work through any trepidation using coping skills learned in therapy.
‘It definitely made it a lot easier, but the heart still pounds,’ said Harry, the Duke of Sussex and grandson of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband Philip.
Earlier this month, royal expert Russel Myers said Prince William, 38, and his father, the Prince of Wales, 72, ‘want to draw a line under Harry and Meghan’ who have been a ‘distraction for the family.’
‘There will be quite a lot of dissatisfaction in the camp and it remains to be seen whether they will ever be brought back in,’ the royal expert continued.
‘I’m sure that Harry was a bit sheepish seeing the rest of his family at Prince Philip’s funeral.’
He added: ‘It was the first time he has spoken to many of them since that Oprah Winfrey interview where he accused them of all manner of things.’
‘He went back to America with his tail between his legs and who knows what will happen in the future.’
Myers previously claimed Prince Harry was so ‘shocked’ by the ‘very, very cold reception’ he received from the Royal Family after he flew over for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral that he may pull out of his upcoming trip to the UK in July.
The Duke is next expected to return to the UK this summer for the unveiling of a statue of his late mother Princess Diana.
However, speaking to talkRADIO earlier this month, the royal expert questioned whether the visit will take place and commented: ‘Some quarters of the family did give him a frosty reception and perhaps that did shock him somewhat.’
He went on to say how the Duke of Sussex may use the birth of his second child, who is expected to arrive in the summer, as a ‘convenient excuse’ not to ‘face the family’.
He added: ‘I don’t think we will realise the fallout of that Oprah Winfrey interview for some time.
‘Maybe once we get back to a bit of normality, the rest of the family will start thinking about that a bit more carefully. It might not be good news for Harry.’
‘It was like that for me so it’s going to be like that for you’: Harry criticizes his father Charles for continuing the cycle of generational suffering
In the third episode of the series, Harry talks about how his family would not discuss their feelings, leading to more ‘generational suffering.’
‘My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to both William and I, ‘Well, it was like that for me so it’s going to be like that for you,’ Harry says, ‘That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered, that doesn’t mean your kids have to suffer. In fact, quite the opposite. If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever negative experiences you had, you can make it right for your kids.’
‘Isn’t this all about breaking the cycle?’ he asked, rhetorically. ‘Isn’t this all about making sure that history doesn’t repeat itself.’
He said in an interview with Dax Shephard before the series aired he doesn’t blame anyone, ‘but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically.
‘It’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway so we as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say ‘you know what, that happened to me, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you’.’
He added: ‘I never saw it, I never knew about it, and then suddenly I started to piece it together and go ‘OK, so this is where he went to school, this is what happened, I know this about his life, I also know that is connected to his parents so that means he’s treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids’.
‘And here I am, I moved my whole family to the US, that wasn’t the plan but sometimes you’ve got make decisions and put your family first and put your mental health first.’
‘This is my mum. You haven’t even met her’: Harry hit out at mourners at Diana’s funeral who showed ‘ten times’ as much emotion as he could
In the first episode of the Apple TV+ series, the Duke of Sussex recounts how he was only allowed to show ‘one-tenth of the emotion everyone else was feeling,’ making him angry as he saw strangers on the street crying over Diana’s death.
‘This was my mother,’ he said, ‘you never even met her.’
The prince has previously spoken of the emotional turmoil he faced after his mother was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997, saying he spent nearly two decades ‘not thinking’ about her death before eventually getting help after a period of ‘total chaos’.
He said on the show he was discouraged from talking about his mother’s death, and when people would ask him how he was feeling, he said, ‘fine was the easy answer.’
Prince Harry suffered panic attacks and binged on drugs and drink for years to deal with his mother’s death – and says Meghan encouraged him to start therapy
But, the prince said in his new show, by the time he was 28 he would ‘freak out’ whenever he saw a camera flash or he had to get into a car, and over the weekends he ‘probably drank a week’s worth in a single day.’
He admitted he had tried drugs and alcohol to numb his pain, not realizing at the time that was what he was doing, and when people close to him told him to seek help, he would say he did not need help.
It wasn’t until he met Meghan, he said in the second episode, that he decided he needed help.
‘I knew that if I didn’t do the therapy and fix myself that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with,’ he said, recounting how Meghan first suggested he go to therapy after they got into an argument.
He said he realized early on in therapy that he had never processed the loss of his mother, and was projecting that grief onto others.
‘That was the start of a learning journey for me,’ he said. ‘I became aware that I had been living in a bubble within this family, within this institution and I was sort of almost trapped in that sort of thought process or mindset.’
Six-month pregnant Meghan shared with Harry HOW she was going to kill herself before they attended charity function at Royal Albert Hall captured in now infamous squeezing hand pictures
Harry recalled in the second episode how difficult it was for Meghan to adjust to royal life as an outsider, noting, ‘There was a lot of learning in the beginning of our relationship.’
Soon after the relationship started, he said, Meghan was in the proverbial spotlight, with cameras following the couple around.
‘It made my blood boil,’ he said. ‘It makes me angry. It takes me back to my mum, to what I experienced as a kid.’
Making the situation worse, he said, were negative comments on social media.
‘I thought my family would help,’ Harry told Oprah, ‘but every single ask, request, warning, whatever, it is just got met with total silence, total neglect.
‘We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job. But Meghan was struggling.’
Before they walked into the Royal Albert Hall in London for a charity event when Meghan was already six months pregnant, gripping each others hands, Harry said on the show, ‘Meghan decided to share with me the suicidal thoughts and the practicalities of how she was going to end her life.
‘I’m somewhat ashamed of the way that I dealt with it,’ he said, ‘and of course because of the system that we were in and the responsibilities and the duties that we had, we had a quick cuddle and then we had to get changed and had to jump into a convoy with a police escort and drive to the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event.’
‘There wasn’t an option to say, ‘You know what, tonight we’re not going to go, because just imagine the stories that come from that,’ he said, recounting how once the lights dim Meghan started to cry and he felt ashamed he could not go to his family.
Prince Harry told Oprah that Meghan didn’t kill herself because she didn’t want him to lose another woman he loved
Harry said in an interview with Oprah that the only thing preventing Meghan from killing herself was the thought that it would be unfair to him to lose another woman he loved in his life while also pregnant with their baby.
‘The scariest thing for her was her clarity of thought,’ he said. ‘She hadn’t lost it. She wasn’t crazy. She wasn’t self-medicating, be it through pills or by alcohol. She was absolutely sober. She was completely sane.
‘Yet in the quiet of night, these thoughts woke her up.’
He says he now would like to focus on his son, Archie, ‘rather than every time I look in his eyes wonder whether my wife is going to end up like my mother, and I’m going to have to look after him myself.’
‘That was one of the main reasons to leave,’ Harry said.
Prince Harry says Royals tried to STOP him and Meghan leaving after ‘she was going to end her life’
But, the prince said, his family tried to stop him and Meghan from leaving, even as she was supposedly feeling suicidal.
‘That feeling of being trapped within the family, there was no option to leave. Eventually when I made that decision for my family, I was still told, ‘You can’t do this.’ And it’s like, ‘Well how bad does it have to get until I am allowed to do this?’ She [Markle] was going to end her life. It shouldn’t have to get to that.’
He said his biggest regret was not taking a stand earlier in his relationship with Markle, claiming a barrage of attacks on her won’t stop ‘until she dies.
‘It’s incredibly triggering to potentially lose another woman in my life,’ Harry said in the interview with Oprah. ‘Like the list is growing, and it all comes back to the same people, the same business model, the same industry.’
Harry claims Royals showed ‘total neglect’ for his and ‘struggling’ Meghan’s mental
The Duke of Sussex said on the Apple TV+ series he thought his family would help as Meghan started claiming she felt suicidal, but instead he was ‘met with total silence, total neglect.’
‘We spent four years trying to make it work,’ he says on the show. ‘We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job. But Meghan was struggling.’
He said the way Meghan was feeling reminded him of his own mother’s final days.
‘History was repeating itself,’ he said in an interview with Oprah. ‘My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone who wasn’t white. And now look what’s happened.
Ultimately, he claimed, he and Meghan had to leave the U.K. to ‘put our mental health first.’
‘That’s what we’re doing,’ the prince said, ‘and that’s what we’ll continue to do.’