In the couple’s first interview since their royal exit, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spoke candidly with Oprah Winfrey about their mental health as members of the royal family as well as the racism and prejudice that led to their leaving.
During the CBS interview that aired Sunday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex discussed the racism, discrimination, and pressure that Meghan faced as the only mixed raced member of the royal family.
Meghan Markle revealed that during her first pregnancy, members of the royal family had raised concerns about “how dark” her son’s skin color would be. She declined to specify who said these things, saying that it would be “very damaging” to them and the royal family.
In a break from tradition, the couple’s son also did not receive a title or security.
“In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of ‘He won’t be given security. He’s not going to be given a title,’ and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” said Markle.
“Because they were concerned that if he were too brown, that that would be a problem? Are you saying that?” Oprah asked.
Meghan responded, “I wasn’t able to follow up with why, but that- if that’s the assumption you’re making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one.”
As she spoke about the prejudice that she faced as a member of the royal family, Meghan Markle also spoke candidly about the toll that constant attacks from the media and a lack of support from the institution had on her mental health.
When asked by Oprah if she was having suicidal thoughts, Meghan admitted, “Yes. It was very clear and very scary. And I didn’t know who to even turn to in that.”
“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought,” she continued.
Meghan also opened up about her efforts to seek help for her mental health, saying, “I went to the institution. And I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. And 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.”
Prince Harry, who joined his wife for the second half of the interview, also spoke about his own mental health and the perennial expectation to hide his emotions and put on a show and a bright smile for the public.
“That’s a part of the role. That’s what’s expected. No matter who you are in the family, no matter what’s going on in your personal life, no matter what’s just happened, if the bikes roll up and the car rolls up, you got to get dressed, you got to get in there. You wipe your tears away, shake off whatever you’re thinking about, and you got to be on your ‘A’ game,” explained Harry.
Ultimately, the couple explained that they decided to leave the royal family because of a lack of support or understanding from the family, particularly about the racism that Meghan was frequently confronted with.