The most explosive claims from Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview
Allegations of racism within Royal Family dominate headlines following the Sussexes’ televised tell-all
Relations between the Royal Family and the Sussexes have hit an all-time low after the couple’s long-awaited interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in the US last night.
Harry and Meghan dropped “bombshell line after line”, delivering a series of “genuinely extraordinary allegations” that will have “devastating consequences” for The Firm, says Politico’s London Playbook.
Here are the key takeaways, which is being screened in the UK today at 9pm on ITV.
Baby No. 2
The interview began on a light-hearted note, with chat show veteran Winfrey Winfrey looking at the Duchess’s stomach and exclaiming: “You really are having a baby!”
In what The Telegraph says is “thought to be the first-ever royal baby gender reveal”, the couple later announced that their baby will be a girl - and that she will be their last child.
Asked if they were “done” with two children, Harry replied “done”, before his wife added: “Two is it.”
Markle claimed that during the final months of her first pregnancy, she was informed that members of the family didn’t want her unborn child to be a prince or princess, The Independent reports. As the paper notes, “at the time, it was reported that the duke and duchess had decided for Archie not to have a royal title, which is bestowed by the Queen, because they wanted him to have a ‘normal’ life”.
But Markle told Winfrey that “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”.
According to the duchess, the decision was made in tandem with “concerns and conversations about how dark [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born”.
In the “most incendiary claim” of the interview, the couple alleged that a “member of the Royal Family made racist comments about Archie’s skin colour”, Politico’s London Playbook says.
Markle said that during conversations with her husband, the unnamed Royal expressed concern about “how dark the baby’s going to be potentially and what that would mean or look like”. But the duchess would not name names as it “would be very damaging to them”, she said.
Harry confirmed the conversation, adding: “At the time it was awkward, I was a bit shocked.”
The couple also spoke of their pain over the Royals’ failure to speak out against the racism to which Markle was repeatedly subjected. Harry said: “No one from my family ever said anything over those three years. That hurts.”
Markle revealed that she had contemplated suicide while living as a working member of the Royal Family. “I just didn’t see a solution. I was really ashamed to say it at the time and to have to admit it to Harry, especially because I know how much loss he has suffered,” she said.
“But I knew that if I didn’t say it, I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. That was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”
If someone you are worried about expresses suicidal feelings, you or they should contact a GP or NHS 111. You can also call the Samaritans free on 116 123 for confidential, 24-hour support, or call Mind, the mental health charity, on 0300 123 3393.
Veto on seeking help
She also claimed that “one of the most senior people” in the royal “institution” told her she could not get help. London Playbook reports that the message to Markle was that it “wouldn’t look good for the family”.
Living in ‘lockdown’
Markle described feeling like she was living in “lockdown” after being told to hand her passport, driver’s licence and keys over to royal officials. And this feeling of isolation intensified after she was “silenced” by courtiers who told her that she could not comment on negative stories, she said.
In a direct accusation that the Royals perpetuated mistruths, she added that officials “were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband”.
Father vs. son
Harry revealed that he was “cut off” financially by the Royal Family “in the first quarter of 2020” and has since been living on his inheritance from his mother, Princess Diana. He also said that his father, Prince Charles, refused his phone calls after he announced that he was leaving the Royal Family.
However, Harry denied that he had kept the Queen in the dark about the decision, adding: “I’ve never blindsided my grandmother, I’ve too much respect for her. I had three conversations with my grandmother and two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls.”
In another surprising disclosure, Markle said that she and Harry had been married by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a private ceremony “in our backyard” three days before their televised wedding at Windsor Castle.
Despite his strained relations with his father and brother William, Harry said that sympathises with the pressures they face as a result of the constraints of royal life.
“I was trapped, but I had no idea I was trapped,” he said. “Trapped within the system. My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave, and I have huge compassion for that.”