Do you remember when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married? What were you doing? It was a Saturday, I was watching from the office (it was closing period) and another major wedding was going on at the Manila Cathedral (locals termed it “the real Royal wedding”).
Three years later, we are in a global pandemic, I haven’t seen the office in nearly a year and that other marriage is doing fine. Meghan and Harry? They’re happy, healthy, and thriving, but everything else has changed. They’ve just had a major interview with Oprah Winfrey, and the couple did not hold back.
To wit, here’s a list of major revelations:
Prince Charles has stopped taking Prince Harry’s calls
I am not an avid royal family follower. I watch the weddings (only the A-list ones, sorry Eugenie) and birth announcements when they happen, but for the rest of the juggernaut, I merely read up on whatever is happening. My understanding was that Prince Charles was closer to Prince Harry than Prince William, owing in part to Prince William being closer to his mother-in-law. So it was a big surprise to find out that as of now, Prince Charles has cut his second son off.
“You just said your dad stopped taking your calls,” Oprah asked. “Why?”
“Because I took matters into my own hands,” Harry said. “It was like I need to do this for my family. This is not a surprise to anybody; it’s really sad that it’s got to this point, but I’ve got to do something for my own mental health, for my wife’s, because I could see where this is headed.”
G’day Mate! For everyone, except the British Royal Family
Did you watch The Crown, Season 4 Episode 6? In this one, Terra Nullius, Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) take Australia and everyone falls in love with Diana, to the detriment of their marriage, which has slowly been falling apart. The royal family watched with dismay when they realized Diana was eclipsing Prince Charles’ star. This obviously happened in real life (albeit in a way that wasn’t as dramatic). Decades later, it happened again, but instead of breaking up a marriage, it did the opposite: The Sussex couple shot up to fame. After this trip, negative stories about Megan started showing up in the press.
“My grandmother has been amazing throughout. My father, brother, Kate, and all the rest of the family—they were they were really welcoming. But it really changed after our Australia tour. It was also the first time that the family got to see how incredible she is at the job. And that brought back memories,” said Prince Harry.
Prince Harry didn’t realize how hard the racial aspect was going to be
Prince Harry, a prince, is so privileged he has never had to think about how easy his life has been compared to everyone else, so it’s no surprise he has literally never thought about race until his relationship with a WOC.
“I hadn’t really thought about the mixed-race piece because I thought, well, I’ve spent many years doing the work and doing my own learning…my god it doesn’t take you very long until you became aware of it. It takes living in her shoes in this instance for a day or those first eight days to see where it was gonna go and how far they were gonna take it and get away with it and be so blatant about it. We’re talking about the U.K. press here. And the U.K. is my home; that was where I was brought up. I’ve got my own relationship with the media. I asked for calm with the British tabloids: once as a boyfriend, once as a husband, and once as a father,” he said.
They are living off of Prince Harry’s inheritance from Princess Diana
Because the Sussex family are technically no longer working royals, they are no longer entitled to the family stipend, which means Prince Harry has had to pay for everything (it is unclear if they’re still receiving an allowance from Prince Charles as part of his earnings from the Duchy of Cornwall, but after this interview…probably not), including security. They are currently living off Prince Harry’s inheritance from Princess Diana.
“My family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford security for us,” he said. “In the first quarter of 2020, but I’ve got all my mom left me and without that, we wouldn’t have been able to do that,” said Prince Harry.
The Queen and Prince Harry remain close
Rumors have long swirled that Prince Harry is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite grandchild, and on his fun, informal interview with James Corden he mentioned their cordial relationship (she sent them a waffle machine for Archie), and that the Duke of Edinburgh does not know how to sign off out of Zoom (he merely shuts the laptop down). In the Oprah interview, he confirmed that they are much closer now.
“I’ve spoken more to my grandmother in the last year than I have [in] many, many years. My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and understanding, and I have deep respect for her,” he said.
Meghan didn’t make Kate cry in the lead up to her wedding, it was the other way around
One of the things that came out of the Meghan smear campaign was that Meghan made Kate cry in the lead up to her wedding. When this tidbit came out, I took it less as a sign of Meghan being terrible, and more of the burden of the moment, because I thought it made sense: weddings are stressful and royal weddings even more so, especially for the bride. Kate had also just given birth, another emotional thing that needed to be dealt with. Of course, sentiments would be all over the place for both women, because they’re living their lives in a beautiful, gilded fishbowl.
The British press took it to the extremes. All of a sudden, Meghan was a harpy who made an emotional, post-birth woman cry, a woman who happens to be the mother of the future King of England. Where once they had vilified Kate as being a social-climbing interloper (“Waity-Kaity”), now Meghan bore the brunt of their irritation. Class is the biggest, unspoken issue in the United Kingdom, and everyone admits this, but no one wants to say that race (which is an even bigger taboo) is part of it.
It turns out, however, that Kate made Meghan cry. “No,” Meghan said, during the interview. “No, no, the reverse happened. 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, but she owned it, and she apologized, and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing and she did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone. To just take accountability for it.
“What was shocking was, what was that six, seven months after our wedding, the reverse of that would be out in the world. I would’ve never wanted that to come out about her ever even though it had happened. I protected that from ever being out in the world. A few days before the wedding, she was upset about something pertaining—yes, the issue was correct about flower girl dresses, and it made me cry and it really hurt my feelings, and I thought in the context of everything else that was going on in those days leading to the wedding that it didn’t make sense to not be just doing what everyone else was doing, which was try to be supportive, knowing what was going on with my dad and whatnot.
“There wasn’t a confrontation, and I actually think it’s…I don’t think it’s fair to her to get into the details of that because she apologized and I’ve forgiven her,” Meghan said. “What was hard to get over was being blamed for something that not only I didn’t do but that happened to me…Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true. I’m not sharing that piece about Kate in any way to be disparaging to her.”
Meghan acknowledges that the media fed the enmity and that there was a different standard for her and Kate. “I think it’s really important for people to understand the truth, but also I think a lot of it that was fed into by the media. Look, I would hope that she would‘ve wanted that corrected. And maybe in the same way that the Palace wouldn’t let anybody else negate it, they wouldn’t let her, because she’s a good person, and I think so much of what I have seen play out was this idea of polarity where if you love me you don’t have to hate her, and if you love her, you don‘t need to hate me.”
If Prince Harry had never met Meghan Markle, he probably would have never left the British Royal Family
In January 2020, when we were all foolishly living our lives, believing nothing was going to change, the Sussex pair announced they were stepping back from their duties (in hindsight, the fact that we all thought this was going to be the biggest talking point of the year is ridiculous). People were of split opinion: some believed Prince Harry would have eventually done this anyway, others claimed not so, not without the influence of Meghan. Today, Prince Harry says the answer is closer to the latter.
“The answer to your question is no,” Harry told Oprah. “I wouldn’t have been able to because I myself was trapped. I didn’t see a way out. I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped. But the moment that I met Meg, and our worlds collided in the most amazing of ways and then [I began] to see how trapped within the system, like, the rest of my family are.”
Prince Harry clarified that it was easier for him to do this than his father or brother. “My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave, and I have huge compassion for that.”
I have long wondered what trauma Prince William carries from his childhood (let’s not forget that by birth order, he saw more), and while I am glad Prince Harry can break free and speak candidly about how his experience has inspired him to forge on a new, undiscovered path, I guess we’ll never truly know what his older brother feels.
Prince Harry and Meghan wanted Archie to have a title
In 1917, King George V (Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather) issued a Letters Patent (a document from a monarch conferring a patent or right) that declared only the children of the monarch, and grandchildren of the monarch in the male line would be bestowed the title of prince and princess. In current practice, that means the queen’s four children are known as princes and princesses, but only the monarch’s sons can pass that title onto their children. The eldest grandson of the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) would also become a royal highness. This is an honor that is would not be conferred to the current monarch (Queen Elizabeth)’s great-grandchildren.
However, in 2012, Queen Elizabeth issued another Letters Patent that amended the issue, stating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton) could name all their children prince or princesses (Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis). She did not do this for Archie (whose full name reads Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor), who was instead titled as “Master”. When Prince Charles becomes King, all his grandchildren are entitled to have Princely/Princess titles (this would only change Archie’s status, as the Cambridge children already have it). Originally assumed as inevitable, this might now change (for what it’s worth, there was a time when people felt Prince Charles was on the way to limiting the royal family to just his immediate family and grandchildren, limiting the roles and benefits of his siblings, which would have screwed over Prince Andrew…but in the words of the former Kim Kardashian-West on a slightly different issue, “It’s what [he] deserves.”)
Anyway, the whole point of that history lesson is that Megan now refutes the fact that she and Prince Harry were fine with the idea that Archie would not be given a title at birth. According to Meghan, while she was not attached to the status of the title itself, she believed her son was entitled to its security benefits. “If it meant he was going to be safe, of course. All the grandeur around this stuff is an attachment I don’t have…the most important title I will ever have is mom.”
“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or princess, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” she continued. “This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I was going, hold on for a second.”
“They said [he’s not going to get security] because he’s not going to be a prince. Okay, well, he needs to be safe so we’re not saying don’t make him a prince or princess, but if you’re saying the title is what’s going to affect that protection, we haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of clickbait and tabloid fodder you’ve allowed that to happen which means our son needs to be safe.”
There were questions within the British Royal Family about “how dark the baby’s skin was going to be when he was born”
This is not the first time anyone in the Royal Family has acted out of turn when it comes to Meghan and her race. Princess Michael of Kent, married to Prince Michael of Kent (Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin) publicly wore an offensive brooch that depicted an African servant during the Queen’s Christmas lunch in 2017.
This latest transgression crossed the line when it directly involved the yet-unborn Archie. Relating to the conversation about whether or not the future baby who would be 7th in line to the throne was entitled to security, Meghan says she started hearing from Harry that there were conversations with him about the baby’s skin color. “All around this same time we had 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. “That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations that family had with him. And I think it was really hard to be able to see those as compartmentalized conversations.”
Meghan declined to answer when asked about the identity of these members of the family. “I think that would be very damaging to them,” she said. As for Prince Harry, “That conversation, I am never going to share. But at the time, it was awkward. I was a bit shocked,” he said.
Megan’s mental health started to suffer
In the beginning, Meghan tried ignoring the naysayers. She only realized something was truly wrong after conversations with her mother, and close friends. “It’s almost worse when you feel it through the expression of my mom or my friends or them calling me crying like, ‘Meg, they’re not protecting you.’ And I realized it was all happening just because I was breathing,” she said. At one point she started having suicidal ideation, thoughts she felt ashamed to voice, especially to Prince Harry.
“Look, I was really ashamed 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. But I knew that if I didn’t say it that I would do it—and I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.
“And I remember how [Harry] just cradled me and I was, I went to the institution [The Palace] and said that I needed to go somewhere to get help, said that I’ve never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere, and they said I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
“I share this because there are so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help,” she said. “And I know personally how hard it is to—not just hard it is but when your voice is silenced, to be told no…There were emails, begging for help, saying very specifically I am concerned for my mental welfare…Nothing was ever done. So we had to find a solution.”
Prince Harry, at a loss in this situation, had no idea what to do. “I wasn’t prepared for that. I went to a very dark place as well. And I wanted to be there for her. I was terrified.” It never occurred to him to ask members of his family for help, because he knew it was an impossible topic to broach. “I guess I was ashamed of admitting it to them,” he explained. “I don’t know whether they’ve had the same feelings or thoughts. I have no idea. It’s a very trapping environment that a lot of them are stuck in.”
Prince Harry thinks that Princess Diana would be on his side
“I think she would feel very angry with how this has panned out and very sad, but ultimately all she’d ever want is for us to be happy,” he said. “So touching back on you asking what my mom would think of this, I think she saw it coming and I certainly felt her presence throughout that whole process. I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side because I can’t begin to imagine what it must’ve been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago. Because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we have each other…”
Prince Harry says he and Prince William are giving each other space
Before they each got married, the public memory of Prince William and Prince Harry is the both of them walking behind their mother’s coffin. As Prince Harry had acknowledged in the interview, there are decisions he can make that Prince William, by being a direct heir to the throne, cannot. Right now, they are giving each other space. “As I said before, I love William to bits. We’ve been through hell together and we have a shared experience, but we are on different paths. The relationship is ‘space’ at the moment,” he said. “And time heals all things, hopefully.”
Some Happy News
Archie is going to be a big brother to a little sister! “To have any one or any two, but to have a boy and then a girl—what more could you ask for?” Harry said, during the interview. “But now we’ve got our family. We’ve got the four of us, we’ve got our two dogs. Done.”
Oprah: “Done–two is it?”
“Two is it,” Meghan confirmed.