Earlier this week, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex—and seemingly the only likable people from the royal family: Harry and Meghan—sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah in a sunny backyard in LA. I think it’s been pretty hard to miss at least the gist of this interview if you’ve turned on a television or opened your phone this week, but not everyone has the time to watch the interview that stretches into almost two hours, excluding the separate bonus footage released later on.
Pregnant with her second child, Meghan—joined later on by her husband Harry—spoke with Oprah about the inner-workings of the royal family, her own mental health, the blatant racism she encountered as part of the spotlight, as well as the couple’s ultimate decision to step down as senior members of the family. Over 17 million tuned in to watch this history-making interview; if you’re not one of them, or you’re like me, and you watched it, and now you want to consume every bit of media about this interview, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a summary of the interview and some opinions I had while watching.
The Beginning of the Interview
Meghan sits down, absolutely glowing, visibly pregnant. I immediately thought this was lovely. From the moment that Meghan enters the vision of the camera it felt like a total “still I rise” moment. After everything she’s been put through, she bravely enters the public eye once again, but on her terms to tell her story.
Immediately, Oprah and Meghan confirm that Meghan and Harry are not being paid for this interview, and the questions were not vetted. At first, I was really hoping that Meghan and Harry would get paid for this interview; honestly, I felt like they deserved it. But it was absolutely genius for them to not accept financial gain for this incredible two-hour interview because this means that no one can question their motives or their morality as they speak against the royal family and the institution that surrounds it.
Interview starts off slow: Meghan touches briefly on the wedding.
“I think we were aware that this wasn’t our day, this was a day that was planned for the world.” I think a lot of new brides feel that way about their wedding (on a much smaller scale, of course) that a wedding is for the surrounding people, not the bride and groom themselves. I immediately drew from this comment that Meghan was alluding to the pageantry of the royal family, and the exhaustive nature thereof.
When asked what she’s most excited about in her new life in LA, Meghan says “to live authentically.” I think throughout the interview, Meghan came off very soft-spoken, kind, and genuine. This comment felt very real that she just wanted to live with her family and enjoy her life with her husband. It gave me a sense that she has reclaimed her freedom in a very simple yet impactful way.
Opening up About the Tabloids
Oprah asks about the tabloids, specifically about a headline that circulated about Meghan making Kate Middleton cry. Meghan says this was a turning point where she realized that the media sought to disparage her completely. She explains to Oprah that it was Kate who made Meghan cry as she added stress to the week before her wedding when she had just been informed that her father wasn’t coming.
Meghan continues, saying that in no way is she trying to be unkind to Kate, who she claims apologized profusely, sent her flowers, and wrote her a note.
Meghan Says, “I would never want that to get out about her…I protected that [..]What was hard to get over was being blamed for something I didn’t do, and that happened to me.” Meghan continues to explain that although she never had and would never release the way Kate had hurt her feelings, the story was spun and released to the public to villainize her. This also comes off as very authentic and genuine; she refuses to disparage Kate while also actively trying to speak her truth, which is not easy.
Oprah asks if she knows how the story got out, and Meghan says it was probably someone in the institution. Obviously someone from inside the family leaked this inaccurate story, but what really stuck with me is that throughout the interview, Meghan called the royal family “the institution” or “the firm,” which felt very mob-like or culty. I think the language intentionally highlighted that the royal family is a business first, family second.
Oprah asks: “Do you think there was a standard set in place for Kate and a different one you? And if so, why?”
Meghan Answers: “I don’t know why. I can see what layers are at play now, and I think they really wanted a narrative of a hero and a villain.” This question was asked regarding the British tabloids but could also have an undertone of asking about the royal family as well. It’s been so clear that there have been wildly different standards for Kate and Meghan, and it’s been most likely racially motivated.
Meghan says, “I’ve advocated for so long for women to use their voice, and then I was silent” The interview begins to shift into something far heavier and emotionally charged. Meghan talks about how she’s always valued work, independence, and freedom and how most of what she cared about was taken away from her when she married Harry.
Oprah asks: “Were you silent or were you silenced?”
Meghan pauses, then answers: “The latter” Chills. This is where the interview starts getting absolutely overwhelming. It’s clear that Meghan isn’t going to hold back, and she’s clearly found her voice again.
Oprah asks: “Were you told to keep silent? How were you told to deal with tabloids?”
Meghan answers: “Everyone in my world was given clear directive to say no comment.” This is the beginning of Oprah and Meghan talking about the lack of both emotional and physical security that was afforded to Meghan as Harry’s wife. Meghan, along with everyone in her life was told to simply say “no comment” when approached by the media. Meghan followed because she thought the royal family would handle it. In reality, the “no comment” directive was further silencing Meghan and making her look guilty of every ridiculous rumour.
The Lack of Protection
Meghan says “I would say, don’t worry I’m being protected, and I believed that; it wasn’t until after we were married that everything started to worsen, and I came to realize that not only was I not being protected, they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family and not willing to tell the truth to protect me or my husband.” Meghan was assured that she would be protected by the family that had raised and protected her husband, and it wasn’t until she had been fully engulfed into the family by marriage and a baby on the way that she realized that they had no intention of protecting her reputation or her physical safety.
Meghan Says, “And, yeah when you say is it what it looks like, my understanding of the past four years is that it’s nothing like what it looks like.” This comment felt similar to the comment about how the wedding wasn’t for them but the world. The pageantry of the royals, of the pictures you see in the media, they’re not indicative of what’s happening behind closed doors.
Meghan Says, “I have left the house twice in four months, I am everywhere and I am nowhere. I have never felt lonelier” This was in regard to her pregnancy and the time that she lived in the palace. Meghan had to ask to leave the palace for lunch with friends, to go shopping, to do anything on her own. She was barely leaving the palace, but because there was so much publicity surrounding her, the royal family didn’t want her to do anything in the public eye. She sat alone in her home for long periods of time. Meghan laughed and said that it wasn’t like she could call an Uber to the palace and leave. She claims that her driver’s license and passport were taken when she entered the palace, leaving her unable to go anywhere. This is what I mean when I say the royal family feels very culty.
Meghan’s First Pregnancy
“In those months that I was pregnant, [I was told] ‘you won’t be given security, he’s not going to get a title, and conversations concerned with how dark he’s going to be when he’s born’” This was the bombshell. This is where Meghan shocked both Oprah and the 17 million of us watching at home. There was no intention to give Archie, Meghan and Harry’s son, any royal titles. There was speculation about “how dark” Archie would be when he was born, suggesting the lighter his complexion is, the better. This confirms the racism surrounding Meghan’s character assassination and her lack of support from the family.
Meghan Says, “During that part of my pregnancy that I started to understand what our continued reality was going to be like.” During Meghan’s first pregnancy, she came to terms with the fact that things were not going to improve for them as royals, and more likely; things were going to worsen. Not only was Archie not going to be given the titles that would be his birthright, but he also would not be given the security and protection from the royal family that would’ve come with the titles. At this point, Archie could be very vulnerable as the first person of color born into the monarchy. Megan says: “Thats when they were saying that they didn’t want him to be a prince […] and that he wasn’t going to receive security.”
Oprah Is it important that he has the title of the prince?” Meghan says, “It’s important if he’s going to be safe; all the grandeur around this stuff isn’t something I hold close,” I think this was a really important thing for Oprah to ask because there’s a huge narrative spun around Meghan suggesting that she’s only interested in Harry for titles and money. For Meghan to officially say on record that the titles aren’t important to her, but her family’s safety makes a huge difference. With the title of prince comes security and protection from the royal family, and without the title, Archie is left vulnerable.
Meghan: “The most important title that I will ever have is mom.” This isn’t particularly important to the story, but it was truly beautiful. After all she’s accomplished in her life, the most important thing is her family.
There is a Convention that automatically titles the grandchild of the king/queen as prince or princess, the family wanted to change the amendment for Archie so he wouldn’t get the title. This was so shocking, so petty, and so revolting. To change a centuries-held rule just to block the first prince of colour from having his title given by birth is disgusting. What’s the craziest part of it, in my opinion, is how blatant and outward they are about stripping titles from Archie.
It’s not true that Meghan and Harry didn’t want Archie to be called a prince. Oprah touches on the fact that the media reported that Meghan and Harry didn’t want Archie to have the prince title, and Meghan is given the chance once again to clear the record, and to explain that she was fine with Archie being a prince, and wanted the title for the protection, but Archie was not given the opportunity.
When asked why they didn’t take the iconic image of themselves outside the hospital when Archie was born, Meghan said that the royals didn’t ask them to take a photo like they had with Diana and Kate. She says that they weren’t asked like all the other royals were, and they weren’t keen to take the picture if they were not being given security. “We weren’t asked to take a picture” she continues, “I was very scared having to offer up our baby knowing that they weren’t going to be kept safe.” This also left such a bad taste in my mouth, the royal family clearly treated Archie like someone to be ashamed of instead of celebrated. This is the queen’s direct great-grandson, and the first born to Harry, and he’s being treated like an inconvenience.
When Oprah presses Meghan further as to why she thinks Archie wasn’t given the title, Meghan repeats that there were “Concerns in conversations about how dark his skin will be when he’s born” Meghan is being pretty outward about how racially motivated the exclusions of Archie from the royal family is. When Oprah asks who had these concerns, she is unwilling to share specific names but assures that race was the main factor, and how disappointing that is. Meghan says “The commonwealth is a huge part of the monarchy, 60-70% of which are people of colour. Growing up as a little girl of colour, I know important representation is,” she continues by saying (about a potential for a prince of colour) “How inclusive is that? That you can see someone who looks like you in this family, much less born into it.”
Meghan’s Mental Health
Meghan calls her life in the palace “Almost unsurvivable.” The heaviest part of the interview is probably when Meghan starts to explain the complete deterioration of her mental health as a result of being isolated from the world, horribly harassed and slandered by the press, and being pregnant and rejected by the royal family. She very bravely recounts her experience as being severely depressed and having constant suicidal thoughts. She says “I just didn’t see a solution. I would sit up at night, I was just, like, I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out.” It’s so heartbreaking to hear about a pregnant, lonely, and suicidal young woman on the brink of collapse from racism, rejection, and a lack of protection.
When asked why she thought this was all happening to her, Meghan said “It was all happening just because I was breathing,” This line was both heartbreaking and reassuring to me. It was clear that Meghan (at least presently) has not internalized the hate and the racism that has been thrown toward her. She acknowledges that there’s nothing she could or could not to do warrant this aggression, At the same time, it’s heartbreaking to see such undeserved and unwarranted hate thrown at a young woman whose biggest crime is falling in love. It’s disgusting to me that racism in the united kingdom and around the world is this prevalent and accepted.
On coming forward with admitting that she was struggling, Meghan said “I was really ashamed to say it at the time, I was really ashamed to admit it, especially to Harry […] I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.” As someone who has struggled with depression for most of my life, I can totally understand where she’s coming from, and for someone so well known and well put together to admit that mental health can be an embarrassing thing to talk about is greatly valuable to normalizing the mental health discussion. Meghan knew that she was being inspirational and hopefully raising others’ voices, because she then said “I say this because there are so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help […] It takes so much courage to admit that you need help.”
When asked how she feels about the Palace hearing this interview, Meghan says “I think I’m not going to live my life in fear. […] I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time that we would still be silent if there’s an active role that the firm is playing in spreading falsehoods about us.” This question and its proceeding answer kind of gave me chills. Again, I feel like this has some mafia energy to it. I definitely think that throughout this interview they kind of dance around the possibility that Princess Diana was murdered because she defected from the family, but I don’t think either Meghan or Harry are willing to outwardly speak about the way Diana was treated, or her end. I definitely felt like questions like this that Oprah asked hint at Diana, how she spoke out, and how things ended badly for her, and I think Meghan’s answer about not living her life in fear confirms it.
Harry Joins the Interview
Harry announces the baby’s gender. When Harry enters the conversation, there’s a bit of a collective breather. Niceties and congratulations on the pregnancy are exchanged, and Meghan asks Harry to reveal the gender of their new baby. They’re having a baby girl and intend to stop after that one. Harry smiles as he talks about how blessed he is to have one of each, a boy and a girl, and how his family is complete.
Harry and Meghan decided to step down as senior members and moved briefly to Canada, when they moved to Canada their security and titles were stripped away. Harry and Meghan claim that they never intended to completely extradite themselves from the royal family, but instead intended to step down from their senior roles, meaning they would aid the family when necessary, and continue working for them, but have hopefully their freedom and sanity back. Instead, they were stripped of their titles completely, and the security that came with it. This was particularly dangerous because at this point, the tabloids were reporting that they had left completely, blindsided the queen, and expected money from the monarchy. The death threats towards both Meghan and Harry were very high, and everyone knew where they were in Canada with no security. The royal family left them very, very vulnerable to attack. Meghan later says in the interview that she begged the royal family to just keep Harry’s security, not hers or Archie’s, as that is Harry’s birthright. She said “Please keep my husband safe. […] Please don’t pull his security and then announce it to the world when we are most vulnerable.”
Tyler Perry offered Harry, Meghan, and Archie his home for refuge and provided the family with security. Friend of the couple, famous comedian, and evidently confirmed angel Tyler Perry stepped up for Meghan and Harry where Harry’s own family would not, and invited them to stay in one of his homes in LA, and provided discretion and security for them as well. Eventually, Meghan and Harry were able to purchase their own home in LA and currently live there now.
When asked about what the tipping point for Harry was, he says “I was desperate. I asked for help and couldn’t get it.” He then said, “To receive no help at all and to be told continuously that this is just how it is” It seems like when it came to Meghan’s mental health, Harry and Meghan were told by the institution that there was nothing that could be done for her, that this is just the way it was, and essentially that Meghan just needed to suck it up. When asked to simplify why he was leaving Harry said “a lack of support and lack of understanding.”
Harry then said “What I was seeing was history repeating itself, but more dangers when you add race in.” Like I said earlier, I think they danced around Princess Diana’s death and its insidious undertones a lot in this interview, but this was pretty outward. I definitely felt like Harry was much more reserved than Meghan was in this interview, but he did drop a few bombshells like this one. I think Harry is pretty outwardly comparing Meghan to his mother, but calling the situation “more dangerous” alludes to Meghan having a similar fate.
Harry Talks About his Family
When asked if he had talked about leaving with his family, he said that he talked about it with the queen for two years and then said “I had two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls.” In this moment, Harry is pretty outward about the strain that this stepping down has put on his relationship with his family, even later saying that his relationship with William was distanced. When Oprah asks why his father wasn’t taking his calls, Harry says “Because I took matters into my own hands, I was like ‘I need to do this for my family.’” About his relationship with Charles, Harry later says “There’s a lot to work through there I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like, and Archie is his grandson”
Harry says of his family “I’m acutely aware of how my family stands, and how scared they are of the tabloids turning on them.” This part of the interview with Oprah is one of my favorites, because although it’s obvious that Oprah is on their side, and that she is giving them a positive platform to share their truth, she also asks hardball questions and really presses Harry for the answers that the press will want to know. This is where Oprah asks some hard-hitters, and I think Meghan and Harry keep up pretty well. In this part, Harry admits that the crown and the press have a symbiotic relationship where they feed off of each other for money and notoriety. The monarchy holds parties for the press to keep them on their good side. However, Meghan says about the publicity surrounding herself: “It wasn’t just catty gossip, it was bringing out a part of people that was racist.” And that’s where the royal family should’ve intervened.
Oprah then addressed one of the biggest rumours about Meghan. She asked her if she married and then pulled Harry away from the royal family to further her brand. Meghan said: “I left my career, my life, I left everything because I love him.” I think this is one of the more farfetched critiques of Meghan, but it seems to be the most popular, and it was nice to see her be able to address it firsthand. Meghan gave up most of her life, her career, and her home country to be with Harry, and to suggest that in any way she benefitted from this situation beyond finding her husband is foolish. She became suicidal, was horribly harassed, and her son was put in danger. She compares her story to the little mermaid and says “because she [Ariel] fell in love with a prince, she lost her voice.”
Oprah asks “Would you leave if not for Meghan?” Harry responds “No, I wouldn’t be able to. I was trapped.” Oprah pushes back on this question, asking how someone so powerful could be trapped. Harry explains that he was trapped in a very foreboding and stiff lifestyle, but it was all he’d ever known. “I was trapped and didn’t know I was trapped” he said, and continued about his family, “My father and my brother, they are trapped. And they don’t get to leave.” (Presumably talking about how they’re in line for the crown).
When Oprah asks what would Diana think about this whole situation, Harry says “I think she would feel furious about how this had panned out, and very sad, but ultimately, all she wanted was for us to be happy.” I think this is how we all feel like Diana would react. Diana had a reputation of being a kindhearted person who was a mother first and a princess second. As the people’s princess, I can’t imagine Diana condoning the horrific racism that has been thrown at Meghan and Archie from the press and the royal family.
Harry says later: “I’ve got what my mom left me, and without that we wouldn’t have been able to do that [move away from the royal family]. Touching back on what my mom would think of this, I think she saw it coming. And I certainly felt her presence through this whole process.” Diana was smart, and she knew her kids were growing up in a pretty culty institution. Harry feels as though Diana could see this coming and made it so her kids would have independence from the family. Harry later says that he’s not one to believe in outside forces, but he believes that what had transpired was divine intervention.
Oprah Asks about Harry and Meghan’s leave from the royal family: “So in conclusion if you had the support you’d still be there?” This was met by a resounding “Yes, without question.” The summary of this interview seems to be that Harry and Meghan were met with horrific racist backlash from both the tabloids and the royal family, and when they asked for support from the surrounding people, they were met with obstacles and silence. They seemed to just want protection from their family, and that was not given to them, they didn’t have a choice but to leave to protect themselves.
Oprah asks the couple if they have any regrets. Harry says of his exit from the royal family “This was never the intention,” […] “all I needed was to make enough money to keep. My family safe.” Meghan says that she does have one regret, “My regret is believing them when they said I would be protected,” she explains that she feels like she had been naïve, and a lot could have been prevented if she had known to be more protective of herself. Then Meghan concludes by saying that although she has regrets, looking back she feels she’s thrived.
“Now that we’re on the other side, we not only survived but we’re thriving. In some ways this is just the beginning for us,” she calls her love story “Greater than any fairytale you’ve ever read.”
Oprah asks Harry, “Do you think in some way she saved you?” Harry answers “Yeah, without question, there was a bigger purpose, there was other forces at play, I think throughout this whole process. […] without question she saved me.” Meghan says afterward, “I would disagree, I would say he saved all of us. He ultimately called it and was like we’ve got to find a way for us, for Archie, and you made a decision that saved well certainly saved my life, and saved all of us, but you know, you need to want to be saved.”
There you go! That’s what you missed if you didn’t get a chance to watch the interview. It was a spectacular interview. Both Meghan and Harry came off as kind, soft-spoken, and articulate people who genuinely love each other. Opening up about what has happened to them was absolutely eye-opening and very brave. I hope this starts a conversation about the royal family and their part in a toxic environment for the women who marry into it.