Meghan and Harry laid bare their brief lives as a working royal couple, alleging that a member of the family - not the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh - made a racist comment about their unborn son.
Palace officials reportedly had a prepared statement highlighting the family's love and concern for the couple, but it was not signed off by the Queen.
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The Times newspaper reported that the monarch wanted more time to consider her response to the lengthy interview.
Winfrey was left open-mouthed when the duchess - the first mixed-race member of the modern monarchy - said a fellow royal was worried about how dark their son Archie's skin tone might be before he was born.
The interview was aired on Sunday night to US audiences, before being shown in the UK on Monday evening.
The key revelations from the interview:
– Meghan’s mental health
The Duchess of Sussex shockingly revealed she had suicidal thoughts as she struggled with life inside the royal family, saying: “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
She said she begged for help, and asked to go somewhere to get help, and approached one of the most senior people in the institution, but was told it would not look good.
She told how Harry cradled her when she was in the depths of despair and how she sought help from one of Diana, Princess of Wales’s best friends – which may have been Julia Samuel, who is a psychotherapist.
– Royal family accused of racism
Meghan said, when she was pregnant with Archie, an unnamed member of the royal family raised “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born”.
Asked whether there were concerns that her child would be “too brown” and that would be a problem, Meghan said: “If that is the assumption you are making, that is a pretty safe one.”
Pushed by Winfrey on who had those conversations, Meghan refused to say, adding: “I think that would be very damaging to them.”
Harry refused to give details, adding: “That conversation, I am never going to share. At the time it was awkward, I was a bit shocked.”
It is not known who the royal was but Winfrey said on CBS This Morning that Harry told her it was not the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh.
Meghan also suggested Archie was not made a prince because of his race.
The duke said that none of his relatives spoke out in support of Meghan following the racism he said she faced in the media.
“No-one from my family ever said anything over those three years. That hurts,” Harry said.
Asked by Winfrey if the couple left the UK because of racism, Harry replied: “It was a large part of it.”
– Harry felt let down by the Prince of Wales
Harry said he felt let down by Charles and that “there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened”.
Speaking about his father, the duke said: “I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like, (and) Archie’s his grandson.
“But at the same time – I will always love him – but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened and I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.
“But they only know what they know, or what they’re told.”
Harry said his father stopped taking his calls while he and Meghan were in Canada “because I took matters into my own hands. I needed to do this for my family”.
– Baby Sussex is a girl
Harry and Meghan revealed they are expecting a baby girl.
The duke joined his wife in the second half of the interview, and told the chat show host: “It’s a girl” and said it is “amazing” to be having a daughter.
Asked if they were “done” with two children, Harry said “done” and Meghan said: “Two is it.”
She also confirmed the baby is due in the “summertime”.
– Rift with the Duke of Cambridge
The rift between Harry and William continues.
Harry revealed: “The relationship is ‘space’ at the moment. And time heals all things, hopefully.”
He did not criticise his brother, and echoed past comments, saying: “I love William to bits, he’s my brother, we’ve been through hell together, we have a shared experience, but we were on different paths.”
– The Queen
Harry denied he had “blindsided” his grandmother the Queen with the bombshell statement about stepping down as a senior royal.
The duke said he believes the report probably could have come from “within the institution”.
Meghan lavished praised on the monarch and said the Queen gave her “some beautiful pearl earrings and a matching necklace” for the pair’s first joint engagement.
She added that she had not realised she would have to curtsey to the Queen in private.
– Queen was ‘advised to not see Harry’
Harry spoke of his close relationship with his grandmother, but he also revealed in an additional clip he was told he could no longer visit her in Sandringham in January 2020 as he tried to work out his future, after she had invited him.
He received a message via the monarch’s private secretary and rang the Queen who said she had something in her diary she did not know she had and was too busy.
Harry blamed courtiers, saying: “When you’re head of The Firm there is people around you that give you advice. And what has also made me really sad is some of that advice has been really bad.”
– The Duchess of Cambridge
Meghan said Kate made her cry ahead of her wedding at a bridesmaid dress fitting – not the other way round.
The duchess said Kate was “upset about some things and she owned it and apologised” and sent flowers.
But Meghan added that the false reports were a turning point.
She said “everyone in the institution knew that wasn’t true” and she hoped Kate “would have wanted that to be corrected”, adding: “She is a good person.”
Meghan also said, in extra clips, her experience dealing with the press was different to Kate’s who was dubbed “Waity Katie”, adding “rude and racist are not the same”.
– Lack of support
Asked by Winfrey why they left, Harry blamed a “lack of support and lack of understanding”.
He said members of his family suggested Meghan should carry on acting “because there was not enough money to pay for her”.
He added: “There were some real obvious signs, before we even got married, that this was going to be really hard.”
Meghan said her one regret is “believing them when they said I would be protected”.
– Trapped royals
Harry said he had been “trapped within the system, like the rest of my family are”.
“My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave,” he added.
– Shock at loss of security protection
Meghan revealed that she wrote letters pleading with Harry’s family not to take away his personal protection officers, warning he was facing death threats.
Harry said he “never thought” he would have his security detail removed upon deciding to step back from royal duties.
He said: “I was born into this position. I inherited the risk. So that was a shock to me.”
– Royal family cut Harry off financially
Harry said his family “literally cut me off financially” in the first quarter of 2020 and he went for the Netflix and Spotify deals to pay for his security.
He said he had what Diana left him and “without that we would not have been able to do this”.
– Archie’s title
Meghan suggested she and Harry wanted Archie to be a prince so he would have security and be protected.
The duchess expressed her shock at “the idea of our son not being safe”, and the idea of the first member of colour in the family not being titled in the same way as other grandchildren.
“It’s not their right to take it away,” she said of the royal family, and suggested it had happened because of Archie’s race.
But Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, is not entitled to be an HRH or a prince due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by King George V.
– Jealousy of Meghan
Harry said the royal family welcomed Meghan but things changed after their tour to Australia and New Zealand.
He suggested they were jealous of her because of the ease with which she carried out royal duties on the trip.
“That brought back memories,” he said, in an apparent reference to Diana.
– The other wedding
Meghan said she and Harry had a secret marriage ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury in their “backyard” three days before their grand royal wedding.
The duchess said “no-one knew” and the couple shared personal vows for “just the two of us”.
All Church of England weddings legally require two witnesses so the “marriage” could have been a blessing.
– Meghan should be “50% less”
Winfrey later recalled a conversation she had with Meghan in 2018.
“She said she had been told, been given advice, that it would be best if she could be 50% less than she was. That was the quote, if she could be 50% less,” Winfrey said.
– Meghan’s family
Meghan said she did everything she could to protect both her mother Doria Ragland and her father Thomas Markle from the media.
Now estranged from Mr Markle after he was caught staging paparazzi photographs, Meghan said in extra clips: “I genuinely can’t imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child.”
She said her mother has never said a word to the tabloids, and she did not know her half-sister Samantha Markle, last seeing her 18 or 19 years ago.