Celebrity royalty met British royalty Sunday night when talk show queen, Duchess of Sussex. And no one held back. Among other revelations, American-born Meghan Markle told Winfrey representatives of the palace were concerned about her son’s skin color and offered her no help when royal pressures drove her to very real thoughts of suicide.
Here are some of the headline-making revelations to emerge from the much-anticipated televised interview on CBS.
Baby Archie’s skin color
Meghan, now pregnant with the couple’s second child, revealed that at least one person in the palace, whom she didn’t name, was concerned about the skin color of the Sussexes’ first child, son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born in 2019.
“There were also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born,” Meghan said.
“This is very strong and the Palace will face serious questions,” tweeted ITV royal editor Chris Ship.
When Prince Harry joined the interview, Winfrey asked him if he would reveal the name of the person who made the skin color comments, and he said he never would.
Meghan’s suicidal thoughts
Harry’s mother, Diana, freely shared that she had suicidal thoughts and and even attempted suicide due to the monumental pressure of marrying in to the royal family. Harry’s wife, decades later, stated that she’d had essentially the same feelings.
“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” the duchess told Oprah in the interview, calling the suicidal thoughts “constant,” and saying she “thought it would solve everything for everyone.”
In a chilling detail, she revealed that she went to the human resources department at the palace (yes, they have one), and was told she wasn’t an employee and couldn’t be helped.
Royal baby gender reveal
When Prince Harry joined the interview after Oprah first talked with Meghan alone, the royal couple revealed they’re expecting a girl. She will be eighth in line to the throne, following her brother, Archie, and bumping Prince Andrew down a notch.
The couple said they will not have more children, but if they were to have a boy after this daughter, he would not leapfrog his sister in the line of succession. That wasn’t always true — Princess Anne is the second of the queen’s children, but her two younger brothers, Andrew and Edward, are higher in the line than she is. But the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act changed that sexist rule. Now Princess Charlotte, Prince William’s second child, keeps her place in line even though a boy, her brother Prince Louis, arrived later.
Cut off financially
Money has never been a problem for the royals, but in the interview, Meghan and Harry said the royal family has “literally cut me off financially,” Harry told Winfrey.
It’s not like the couple will be poor, ever. Harry inherited millions from his mother, Diana, who died in a Paris car wreck in 1997, Meghan has her own money from her Hollywood career, and the royal couple has signed big deals with Netflix and Spotify.
But considering the number of less-important royals who collect money, and the riches Harry’s father, Prince Charles, pulls in from the Duchy of Cornwall, this feels like a shocker. Harry said the couple would not have had the money to relocate to California without his inheritance from Diana.
Loss of royal protection
Like other heads of state, the royal family have always had bodyguards, and there have been times when they have needed them. Princess Anne was almost kidnapped in 1974, an intruder broke into the queen’s bedroom in 1982, and a man fired blanks at the queen as she rode in the Trooping of the Color ceremony in 1981.
So it was startling to hear that the royal family cut off Harry and Meghan’s security detail when the couple moved to Canada and then California. Meghan especially was the target of death threats, some based on her race, she told Winfrey, yet that didn’t change the palace’s decision.
Stepping up to help? Hollywood director Tyler Perry, who offered the royal couple use of his California home and security.
Kate made Meghan cry
Meghan and Harry and Prince William and his wife, Catherine, were the Fab Four of British royalty for a while, much as Charles and Diana and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson briefly were in the 1980s. Since the Sussexes went their own way, there have been plenty of rumors about issues between the brothers and their wives.
Meghan addressed one of the major rumors in the interview. The tabloids reported that Meghan made Catherine cry before Meghan and Harry’s wedding due to a fight about what Princess Charlotte would wear in the wedding. Sunday night, however, Meghan said it was the other way around — that Catherine made Meghan cry by commenting on the outfit Charlotte and the other little girls in the wedding were to wear.
Meghan said Kate later apologized and sent her flowers: “She was upset about something, and she owned it.”
But when the tabloids put the blame on Meghan instead, the royal family didn’t correct the record, something Meghan called a “turning point” in her relationship with the royals.
How can I watch?
If the interview hasn’t yet aired in your area, we’ve got a, but in short: Turn your dial to CBS, via regular television or a streaming service that offers the network.
Why is this interview such a big deal?
Markle has made an insane amount of headlines for pretty much everything she does. From an apparent feud with her father Thomas (who didn’t attend the wedding), to her biracial background and American citizenship, to her writing positive messages on bananas for sex workers. Her latest controversy involves reports that she bullied royal staffers. She’s “saddened by this latest attack on her character,” the BBC reports.
You may have heard that Meghan and Harry (their royal titles are just too tangled to keep using here) moved first to Canada, then to California in 2020. In February 2021, after a year trial, Buckingham Palace announced the couple would not return as working members of the royal family, through they would remain “much loved.”
Meghan and Harry now live in the Santa Barbara, California, area now, as does Winfrey, so this pairing of famous names was as natural as tea and crumpets, or burgers and fries, if you prefer. Winfrey has been a friend of the couple for some time, even attending their wedding. While not normal for royal family members to seek out this kind of public interview, Meghan and Harry have been making their own way for some time, including moving first to Canada, then California, in 2020.
There is precedent for public airing of royal grievances. Harry’s mother, Diana, sat down for a shocking televised interview in 1995, where she openly discussed Prince Charles cheating on her with Camilla Parker-Bowles, his current wife.
The royal reaction
It isn’t like Queen Elizabeth II to comment on such a breach of royal protocol. But it’s easy to assume the sheer idea of her beloved grandson and his wife blabbing about family issues to an American media celeb is giving the monarch more of a headache than her Imperial State Crown.
But due to the dramatic revelations in the interview, the palace is going to have to say something, it would appear. They can’t let the biggest topics just sit out there with no attempt to smooth things over.
“Tonight’s revelations will reverberate in the British tabloids for days, weeks, eons to come,” the New York Times reports. “It seems hard to imagine that the palace will be able to stay silent.”
The British tabloid press, never exactly a model of quiet regal decorum, have taken this interview to an even crazier level. According to author Edwin Hayward, “50 — yes, 50 — articles attacking Meghan Markle were published on the Express website on Saturday. That’s *50* articles in *24* hours.”
Other publications published almost as many, Hayward reported.
And one tabloid, the Star, published a do-it-yourself barf bag for those who were so disgusted by the interview they needed to throw up.
“It’s almost impossible to understand why Harry and Meghan would want to leave this very normal country…” tweeted writer Bella Mackie.
If you’re struggling with negative thoughts, self harm or suicidal feelings, here are 13 suicide and crisis intervention hotlines you can use to get help.
You can also call these numbers:
US: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
UK: The Samaritans can be reached at 116 123.
AU: Lifeline can be reached at 13 11 14.