Racism, lack of security for son, and media pressure: Harry, Meghan Markle expose toxicity of the UK royals and British press

Halfway into the explosive interview, Meghan began speaking about the incessant racism she had experienced and that her son was not spared either
Meghan Markle and Harry with Oprah Winfrey
Meghan Markle and Harry with Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey’s much-anticipated interview with Meghan Markle and former prince Harry has thrown light on the actual reasons for the couple to exit Britain. In the controversial interview, Meghan opened up about why they stepped back from the life of royalty and the destructive practices by the UK royal family that triggered their decision.

Meghan told Oprah that she was utterly unprepared for the “monster machine” of the British royalty when she married Prince Harry.

She added that she didn’t “fully understand what the job was when she, as an American, waded into the firm (her description for the British royal family).”

Within the first 15 minutes, Meghan admitted to Oprah that all she wanted was to “go back to the basics” and that the reality of royalty wasn’t something she was ever ready for.

Halfway into the interview, Meghan began speaking about the incessant racism she had experienced and that her son was not spared either. She disclosed that the royal family had been “concerned” over whether her child would have “dark skin.”

She also said the royal family had discussed not offering security for baby Archie.

Speaking at length about this issue, Meghan said, “In those months when I was pregnant, 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,” she said, adding that while the couple didn’t refuse for the official photo when Archie was born, Meghan was scared for his safety.

“There was a lot of fear surrounding it. I was very scared of having to offer up our baby, knowing they weren’t going to be kept safe,” she said.

Moving on to talk about how the press had made things difficult for the couple, Meghan said, “That’s what was really tricky over those past few years, is when perception and reality are two very different things. And you’re being judged on the perception, but you’re living the reality of it,” she explained.

Meghan added that she never looked up her husband online and did not think it was necessary to do any research on Harry.

However, Meghan did not mention who within Buckingham Palace was having these conversations with her or Harry. She told Oprah that disclosing that “would be very damaging to them.”

“I went to human resources and asked for help and the person told me this. My heart goes out to you because we see how bad it is. But we can’t help you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution,” Meghan said.

Talking about the increasing pressure and racist behaviour towards her, the duchess claimed that she felt alone fighting constant media speculation and “falsehoods perpetuated" by “the firm”.

Meghan said the growing scrutiny also had a damaging effect on her mental health, and she claimed she had been having suicidal thoughts when she was pregnant.

“I was ashamed to say it at the time I just didn’t want to be alive any more. And that was a very real and clear, and frightening and constant thought,” she said, adding that the Palace refused to protect her.

“My regret is believing them when they said I would be protected,” a teary-eyed Meghan said at the end of the interview to Oprah.

Furthermore, Oprah also asked Meghan how she felt about Buckingham Palace “hearing them speak their truth today”.

“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Meghan said.

“And if that comes with the risk of losing things, I mean, there’s been a lot that’s been lost already,” she added.

Harry too opened up about how helpless and ashamed he had felt around at that time, and had realised after that how he had been “trapped” all along just like the “rest of his family”.

He said later in the show that while he loves his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and his brother, Prince William, despite the “space” between their relationship, he hopes time will heal it.

However, he said he was not sure about his relationship with his father, Prince Charles, and felt “let down” by him. Harry believed that the family had gotten multiple opportunities to be there for them.

He mentioned how his father had stopped taking calls after the couple informed the Palace of stepping back as active members of the Royal family, before they had made the formal announcement.

During this development, the media too had accused the couple of blindsiding the Queen with their decision. However, Harry refuted the rumours and claimed that he spoke with the Queen and his father before making the formal announcement on January 7, 2020.

He also claimed that the family cut him off financially, and took away their security, which is what forced them to make deals with platforms such as Netflix and Spotify, to pay for the security for his family, including their upcoming baby, a girl.

Harry added that the couple survived on the money left to them by his late mother, Princess Diana.

Talking about Diana, Harry said that while she would have been angry at their decision to step back as royals, she would have understood their decision, since it made them happy.

The interview was filmed in a backyard garden setting and began airing on CBS in the US on Sunday at 8 pm. It will be broadcast in the UK on Monday night on ITV.

The widely anticipated 90-minute interview reportedly cost the American broadcasting network CBS several million dollars. According to media reports, the American network paid Winfrey’s company, Harpo Productions, a licensing fee between USD 7-9 million, which also included the rights to license the special interview abroad as well.

The report also said Meghan and Harry were not paid to be a part of the interview, previews of which have already generated a lot of buzz in the world media.

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