Words by Ellie Doughty
Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Sunday garnered millions of views and covered allegations of racism inside the royal family, their mental health and personal relationships with other royals.
Perhaps the biggest allegation made was of a conversation an unnamed member of the royal family had with Harry, voicing ‘concerns’ about ‘how dark’ their unborn son’s skin would be, in tandem with questions about his security provisions.
Other notable claims included Meghan’s alleged denied request for help from the palace when she began experiencing suicidal thoughts.
When Winfrey asked for clarity on their move being motivated by getting away from the UK Press, or due to lack of support from The Firm, Harry said ‘It was both’.
Focus was also paid to Harry’s relationships in the family, particularly with the Queen, his brother Prince William and his father Prince Charles.
Harry said that it hurt him when his family never spoke out on the ‘colonial undertones’ of press coverage, and that he was ‘really let down’ by his father Prince Charles, for how the situation had been handled.
They also said that the royal family declined to provide security for Harry, and that his family officially ‘cut (him) off financially’ in ‘the first half, the first quarter of 2020’.
Harry said of his relationship with Charles that while he is now taking Harry’s calls, ‘there’s a lot to work through there’, and of his brother that their ‘relationship is space, at the moment’.
When speaking of the Queen, Harry said he has a ‘really good’ relationship with his grandmother and described her as his ‘colonel-in-chief’.
Meghan also spoke warmly of the Queen, relaying a story of her sharing a blanket with Meghan and giving her jewellery at the couple’s first joint engagement.
Winfrey has since clarified that it was neither the Queen nor Prince Philip who made the comments concerning Archie’s skin colour, but Harry specified that he will ‘never’ share that conversation.
Speaking of their decision to leave the UK in 2020, Harry said they were trying to ‘take a break’ from ‘this constant barrage. My biggest concern was history repeating itself’.
‘But more, perhaps. Or definitely far more dangerous because then you add race in and you add social media in. And when I’m talking about history repeating itself, I’m talking about my…my mother.’
Meghan went on to share her experience of isolation after joining the royal family, not leaving her house for more than ‘twice in four months’.
She went on to describe her mental health as so bad that she ‘didn’t want to be alive any more’.
Despite going to ‘one of the most senior people’ within the institution, and the palace human resources department, Meghan said ‘nothing was ever done’.
Speaking of their decision to move, Harry said ‘I went to all the places which I thought I should go to, to ask for help’.
Winfrey asked if they left because they were ‘asking for help and couldn’t get it?’, to which Harry replied ‘Yeah, basically, But we never left.’
Meghan added “We never left the family and we only wanted to have the same type of role that exists, right? They’re senior members of the family and then there are non-senior members.’
When recalling her assimilation into the royal family, Meghan said that she and her friends and family were told to always say ‘no comment’ when asked about things in the press, and that in exchange she was told she’d be protected.
She said after time she came to realise that the royal family was ‘willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband’.
One example she gave was the tabloid reports of Meghan making Kate cry over an argument about flower girl dresses at the wedding.
Meghan said that in fact it was Kate who had made her cry, and after the reverse was reported in the press the royal family prevented certain people from speaking out to correct the record.
‘I’m talking about things that are super artificial’, Meghan said, ‘But the narrative about, you know, making Kate cry, I think was the beginning of a real character assasination. And they knew it wasn’t true’.
A Palace statement released on Tuesday said ‘The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately’.
Picture Credit: Mark Jones