Before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat down to candidly speak with Oprah Winfrey about their experience within the royal family, the March 7 interview was already making headlines. As the world awaited the Sussexes' unfiltered take on the tumultuous past few years, the palace released statements regarding the tell-all, reports suggested Kate Middleton and Prince William were "utterly aghast," and a much-decried report accusing Meghan of bullying coincidentally appeared a few days before the CBS special. But after the tense lead-up to the interview, it's finally here, and Meghan and Harry didn't hold back during their intimate discussion with Oprah. If you don't have time to watch the entire two-hour interview or are still processing everything, here are some key quotes and moments from the special for you to pore over:
Meghan Feels "Liberated" After The Royal Exit
Days before the interview, CBS released clips that teased why Meghan was finally ready to speak out. Responding to Oprah's "what is right about this time?" question, Meghan explained, "Well, so many things. That we’re on the other side of a lot of, a lot of life experience that’s happened. And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then. That wasn’t my choice to make.” She continued, detailing the sense of freedom she now feels after taking some much-needed space from the royal institution. "It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say, 'Yes ... I'm ready to talk' ... to be able to just make a choice on your own and just to be able to speak for yourself."
Meghan Said "The Firm" Played An Active Royal In The Media's Portrayal Of The Sussexes
In another teaser, Meghan expressed that she decided to come forward because she's already lost so much as a result of her time within the royal family. "I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” she said. "And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean — there’s a lot that’s been lost already.”
Meghan Revealed Kate Middleton Made Her Cry Before Her Wedding
Discussing the much-reported claims that Meghan Markle made Kate Middleton cry ahead of Meghan and Harry's wedding, Meghan revealed that Kate was actually the one who made her cry. Explaining that the issue was over dresses, Meghan called this a "turning point" for her time within the royal family and the beginning of a "character assassination."
"The narrative with Kate, which didn’t happen, was really difficult," she began. "A few days before the wedding she was upset about something pertaining to the flower girl dresses, and it made me cry, and it really hurt my feelings."
Meghan then explained that Kate apologized to her and sent her flowers after the incident, but seeing the media blame her was incredibly difficult. "What was hard to get over was getting blamed for doing something I didn’t do but was actually done to me," she added.
Meghan Had A Close Relationship With The Queen
Though Meghan was initially surprised she had to curtsy to the queen the first time she met her, she shared that she and the monarch actually had a lovely relationship. Recalling a time she and Queen Elizabeth shared a blanket on a particularly chilly day, Meghan said, "The queen has always been wonderful to me." She then made a distinction between the royal family and the institution, which manages the family and their public-facing actions. While she said the family itself welcomed her, the institution did not and didn't take any of her feelings into account when managing her. "Everyone is obsessed with how it looks but not how it feels," she told Oprah.
The Royal Institution Wanted To Prevent Archie From Getting A Title
Speaking about how difficult things were during her pregnancy, Meghan revealed that the royal institution wanted to prevent Archie from getting a title and security protection, which she called his "birthright" as a descendant of the monarch. While Archie's title didn't matter to her as someone who has worked as a waitress and actor throughout her life, Meghan did have concerns about the institution wanting to remove Archie's security detail by way of not giving him a title. "If [the title] meant he was going to be safe, then of course [it mattered]," she said. On top of all of this, Meghan shared that the institution had concerns about how dark Archie's skin would be, which she learned about through Harry, who filled her in on these offensive conversations.
Meghan Didn't "Want To Be Alive Anymore"
Discussing the racist and relentless coverage of herself and her family, Meghan said she didn't "want to be alive anymore." Explicitly stating she considered dying by suicide, she added, "I went to the institution, and said I need help." She was then told no, so she went to human resources. However, human resources then said there was nothing they could do to help her because she wasn't a paid member of the institution. Agreeing with Oprah's interpretation that she felt "trapped" and on the verge of taking her own life, Meghan said she wasn't able to check into a facility and instead had to continue on with her royal duties. As Meghan was going through all of this, she leaned heavily on Harry, as she felt that she couldn't be alone out of fear she would harm herself.
(If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.)
She Didn't Join The Royal Family To Build Her Brand
When it came to the ridiculous reports that Meghan had attempted to use her newfound fame as a royal to build her lifestyle brand and become an A-list celebrity, Meghan shut down those rumors swiftly. "Could you imagine?" she asked, completely shocked. "Our plan was to do this [be working royals] forever." Obviously, the media and royal institution's actions made it impossible and unsafe for them to remain within the royal family.
Meghan Called The Queen When She Heard Prince Philip Was Sick
Though Meghan and Harry didn't discuss Prince Philip's health during the interview, there was a segment filmed at their home in which Meghan shared that she picked up the phone and immediately called the queen upon hearing the news. Now that she's not an official member of the royal family, Meghan said she felt a wave of relief because she was able to make that decision on her own and not have to worry about what's proper protocol for a situation like that.
She Wished She Had Never Believed The Royal Family Would Protect Her
Toward the end of the interview, Meghan said that in hindsight, she wished she would have never believed that the royal family and institution would protect her as she struggled with mental health issues and constant attacks from the media. "I regret believing that," she began. She continued and gave credit to Harry for saving their family and getting them out of that toxic and dangerous situation. "You made a decision that certainly saved my life and saved all of us," she told him.
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