Harry and Meghan (Picture: CBS)
t's difficult not to be glued to the screen as Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have spoken openly and honestly about the difficulties they've faced leading up to their official exit from the British royal family.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, told Oprah her husband "saved her life" when they decided to resign as senior working royals. While Meghan claims she regretted believing officials at the palace for reassuring her that she, Harry and their son Archie would be protected when they left.
"Had I really seen that wasn't happening, I would've been able to do more. But I think I wasn't supposed to see it, I wasn't supposed to know," she told Oprah.
She also said that her "royal fairytale" had come to a happy ending through their decision to step back and focus on themselves.
Harry spoke of his pride in his wife, particularly for welcoming the couple's first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, at a time of "cruel and mean" scrutiny. He recalled coming home from days at work to find her crying while breastfeeding.
Earlier in the interview, Harry said he felt trapped within the royal institution and his public role, telling Oprah his family members are in the same situation.
"My father and my brother are trapped. They don't get to leave, and I have huge compassion for that," he said.
The duke also said he feels "let down" by father Prince Charles, and that "a lot of hurt" has occurred within their relationship.
Meghan said she had "left everything" in her life to be with Harry — "because I love him" — and denied widespread claims she had been the driver behind their royal exit.
"Can you imagine how little sense that makes? Our plan was to do this forever," she said.
Prince Harry (Picture: CBS)
"I wrote letters to his family saying, 'I am here for you, use me as you like'. There was no guidance ... there's no class on how to speak, how to cross your legs, how to be royal. That was not something that was offered to me."
The duchess said she felt suicidal during her time in the palace saying, "I didn't want to be alive any more, and that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought."
The former Suits star said she informed "one of the most senior people" in the royal institution about her distress, and was told it "wouldn't be good" for them if she sought professional help.
"I had no idea what to do, I wasn't prepared for that, I went to a very dark place as well ... I guess I was ashamed of admitting it to them," Harry added.
"For the family, they very much have this mentality of 'this is just how it is. This is how it's meant to be, you can't change it, we've all been through it'.
"But what was different, for me, was the race element because it wasn't just about her, it was about what she represents."
The duke also said he was "hurt" that his family didn't publicly show any support for his wife amid the scrutiny and racism she faced from the media and public.
He spoke of an "invisible contract" between the palace and royal reporters, in which the palace offers access to the royals in order to gain favourable coverage.
"There is a level of control by fear that has existed for generations," Harry said.
He also denied claims he "blindsided" the Queen regarding the couple's decision to step down as senior royals.
The duke told Oprah he attempted to speak to his family about the issue, and said his father Prince Charles "stopped returning" his calls and asked him to put the request in writing.
The couple also confirmed they are expecting a daughter.
Reflecting on her first pregnancy with son Archie, she said there were upsetting conversations with some of the royals about how "dark" her child's skin might be when he was born.
Meghan, who is biracial, said the topic arose during discussions, relayed to her by Harry, about whether the newborn would have a title — but declined to name the person involved as it would be "damaging".
Harry confirmed the conversation took place but told Oprah he would "never" share what was said. He did indicate the gist of the discussion was "what will the kids look like?", and said it was "awkward" and he was shocked to hear it.
Meghan confirmed the decision not to give Archie a royal title was not one made by her and Harry, as was reported at the time.
Meghan also told Oprah she had been "silenced" by the royal institution, although the family was welcoming to her, and detailed the loneliness she felt.
The duchess denied reports that she ever made Kate Middleton cry before her 2018 wedding were untrue, and said they marked the start of her "character assassination" in the press.
Meghan declined to reveal details of the interaction but said the Duchess of Cambridge had apologized to her.
"It was a really hard week of the wedding, she was upset about it but she owned it and she apologized ... she's a good person," she recalled.
"I would never have wanted that to come out about her. She was upset about something, about the flower girl dresses, and it made me cry and it really hurt my feelings.
"I'm not sharing that to be disparaging to her. I would hope she wanted that to be corrected."
Meghan said it was "really difficult" to see the reports she had upset her sister-in-law and that it marked a turning point in her coverage in the media.
Meghan also recalled her first meeting with the Queen and said she didn't know how to curtsy beforehand.
She recalled travelling to Royal Lodge, the home of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, for her first meeting with the monarch, when Prince Harry asked whether she knew how to curtsy. Not having time to Google it beforehand, Meghan said she did "a very deep curtsy" but called the meeting "lovely and easy".
"Thank god I hadn't known a lot about the [royal] family, it would have been in my head," she said.
The duchess also said she enjoyed the Queen's company and said the monarch had been warm and welcoming to her during their first royal engagement together.
Meghan admitted she entered royal life "naively" and "didn't fully understand" what the role of senior working royal was - or the level of scrutiny that would come with the role.
"I grew up in LA – you see celebrities all the time. The royals, it's not the same. It's a totally different ballgame," she said.
Meghan didn't "know much" about the British monarchy before she met Harry in 2016, saying, "My mom even said to me a couple of months ago, 'Did Diana ever do an interview?' Now I can say, yes, a very famous one. My mum didn't even know that."
She admitted her royal wedding day felt like "an out of body experience", recalling: "We were aware this wasn't our day, this was the day that was planned for the world."
She also revealed she and Harry were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their televised wedding.