Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Interview With Oprah Just Changed The Royal Family’s Reputation Forever

Photo: courtesy of Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese.
On Sunday, March 7, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about their harrowing experience as official members of the Royal Family. Just as many people suspected, the interview was both explosive and enlightening, revealing a long established culture of control and narrative shaping to the detriment of some of its most vulnerable members.
Even before the tell-all premiered on Global TV, many people anticipated that it would expose the dark side to being a royal. Because of the very public struggle between The Firm and Princess Diana, leading up to her tragic death in 1997, the world was already somewhat aware of how thorny things in the palace could get, but Harry and Meghan's conversation with Oprah painted a clear picture of extreme stress and endangerment.
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Over nearly two hours, we learned several disturbing new details about their time as royals. Here are some of the biggest bombshells that may affect that reputation of the Royal Family forever.

Kate Middleton was the one who made Meghan cry during wedding planning— not vice versa

One of the earliest, most impactful of the many negative reports about Meghan was a story that she was so controlling about the planning of her wedding that she made her sister-in-law Kate Middleton break down in tears. During her one-on-one conversation with Oprah, Meghan quickly put to bed the rumour by sharing some surprising insight: It was actually the opposite.
"The reverse happened," Meghan admitted, to Oprah's shock. "And I don't say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding, and she was upset about something."
Although Meghan followed up by saying that Kate apologized soon after and even sent her flowers to show her remorse, the false stories still hit the tabloids and spread like wildfire. Everyone within the palace knew the truth, Meghan claimed, but no one did anything to dispel the rumours because they wanted to position the women as opposites — Kate as the soft-spoken, easygoing angel and Meghan as the bossy, demanding diva.
"[British tabloids] really seem to want a narrative of a hero and a villain," she mused. "But if you love me, you don't have to hate her. And if you love her, you don't have to hate me."
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Meghan was repeatedly denied mental health resources

Meghan and Harry have made it a point to use their platform to de-stigmatize conversations about mental health, and the interview underscores why the subject is so close to home. Behind the scenes, the couple was in the midst of a perilous mental health crisis.
In addition to having to assimilate to British culture as well as fulfill her duties as a senior member of the Royal Family, Meghan was also dealing with severe harassment from the British media. Outlets' coverage of her was widely negative, spinning narratives about her being an outsider and negatively influencing Harry's relationship with his family. All of this took a toll on Meghan, especially when she was pregnant with Archie, and she reached a critical point in her mental health journey where she was seriously considering ending her own life. And even though The Firm was made aware of the gravity of the situation, they didn't give her the help she needed.
"I was really ashamed to have to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry especially, because I know how much loss he’s suffered,” Meghan revealed. “But I knew that if I didn’t say that I would do it...I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”
"I went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help," she continued. "I said that I’d never felt this way before, I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, because it wouldn’t be good for the institution.” 
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“I share this because there’s so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help. And I know personally how hard it is to not just voice it, but when you voice it to be told no. And so I went to human resources. And I said ‘I need help,’” the duchess said, adding, “because at my old job there was a union and they would protect me.” 

Members of The Firm were "concerned" about Archie's skin colour

Discussion of race and identity also came up during the interview, with Oprah asking if and how racism might have played a part in the couple's decision to step back from the Royal Family and move to the United States. As a biracial Black woman in a notoriously white and powerful family, Meghan definitely experienced micro and macroggressions because of her racial identity, but it turns out her son Archie also dealt with the same — even before he was born. The duchess told Oprah that there were some people within the palace who had anxiety over what the colour of Archie's skin might be, presumably because he might look Black.
"In those months, when I was pregnant, all around this same time, we had in tandem the conversation of he won't be given security, he won't be given a title...and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin will be when he's born," revealed Meghan. "That was relayed to me from Harry, that was from conversations that family had with him. It was really hard to see those as compartmentalized conversations."
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Harry later confirmed that the disturbing conversation did happen but refused to specify who in his family had brought it up. However, he felt that it was imperative that Oprah share that Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip weren't involved in the problematic chats.

Prince Charles refused to take Harry's calls

The decision to step back from the family created quite a bit of tension between Harry and his family, specifically between the prince and his father Prince Charles. Harry casually shared that at some point after the split, the Crown Prince had stop taking his calls, feeling upset because his son had "taken things into [his] own hands."
Though the lines of communication between the two have opened up again, and the father and son are working to heal their relationship, Harry confessed that there are still some hard feelings there; Charles famously went through a similar situation with Diana in the past but still couldn't understand or support his son's decisions.
"There’s a lot to work through, there," Harry said. "I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like. I will always love him. There’s a lot of hurt that’s happened."

Harry was financially cut off and denied security

Another consequence of the move was The Firm's choice to ultimately cut Harry and Meghan off financially. Because they were no longer considered official staff members, the Sussexes were taken off the payroll without any financial support, save for the money that Diana had specifically left behind for Harry. The latter told Oprah that because of the jarring decision, he and Meghan had no choice but to seek financial independence via multi-million dollar deals with Netflix, Spotify, and Disney.
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“My family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford security for us,” Harry said. “[I was cut off] in the first quarter of 2020. But I’ve got what my mom left me and without that, we would not have been able to do this.”
But money wasn't the only thing Harry and Meghan had to figure out — their security was also nonexistent after leaving the palace. The couple told Oprah that their security team was removed while they were still living in Canada, putting them at greater risk because they had no protection while everyone knew where they were living. And because they didn't have the funds to pay for the level of security that they once had, Meghan and Harry left the country with Archie and moved to Los Angeles, where television and filmmaker Tyler Perry provided them with a house to live in as well as security.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566 at any time or text 45645 between 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET. Residents of Quebec, please call 1-866-277-3553.

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