Ever since the duke and duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, announced in early 2020 that they would be stepping away from the royal family, even the most irregular of royal observers have wondered what pushed the couple over the edge. It took a little more than a year and no less than Oprah Winfrey herself, but now we’ve finally got some answers in the form of a much-anticipated interview that somehow managed to be even more sensational than the prerelease hype suggested. Here’s an overview of some of the biggest revelations that came out of CBS Presents Oprah With Meghan & Harry.
At her lowest point, Meghan was having suicidal thoughts.
In the darkest and most intense moment of the interview, Meghan told Oprah that during her royal life, she “just didn’t want to be alive anymore.” She recounted how she finally told Harry about her feelings: “That was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. And I remember, I remember how he just cradled me.”
Meghan said that when she sought out medical help for her mental health struggles, she was denied by a senior person in “the institution,” who worried how it would look. She added that the palace’s HR team—the one currently investigating her for “bullying”—also denied her request for help because she was not an employee.
One of the first tabloid stories that dubbed Meghan a palace mean girl was, according to her, exactly backward—and a preview of the palace’s unwillingness to defend her.
Early on in the wave of negative tabloid stories about Meghan, one claimed that she made Kate, the duchess of Cambridge, cry in the lead-up to her wedding to Harry. According to Meghan, it was actually the other way around—Kate had made Meghan cry over flower girl dresses. “I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding,” she told Oprah. She said her sister-in-law later made amends: “She brought me flowers and a note, apologizing. And she did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone, right, to just take accountability for it.”
Meghan also said the palace treated her differently than other royals, refusing to correct press narratives (like the aforementioned one) that cast Meghan in a negative light even as officials were willing to lie on behalf of other family members. “Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true,” Meghan told Oprah. “So why didn’t somebody just say that?” Oprah asked. “That’s a good question,” Meghan replied.
Archie’s skin color inspired “concerns” for at least one royal.
In one of the most-quoted exchanges of the night, Meghan said someone in the family had “concerns” about her son, Archie’s, skin tone—specifically about “how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
“That was relayed to me from Harry from conversations that family had with him,” Meghan said.
Asked later about this, Harry sharply declined to reveal who was part of these discussions. “It is a conversation I’m never going to share,” he said. Speculation immediately began about the culprit on social media.
The royals didn’t want Archie to take a royal title, also denying him the security detail that comes along with it.
Meghan said that the palace decided, without the couple’s input, that their son, Archie, would not be a prince, nor would he be given the same security protections other royals received. The palace also told the couple that it would be taking away Harry’s security once he left full-time royal living. This was one of the more confusing exchanges of the interview for non-royals-heads, but you can read more on the royal title issue here, and more on the security situation here.
Harry and Meghan didn’t “blindside” the queen.
Meghan and Harry said they planned their move to be less involved in the royal family far in advance and had substantive discussions about it with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, despite press coverage that claimed the queen was taken aback. Harry said he believed this spin “came from within the institution.”
After Harry and Meghan announced their decision to “step back,” Prince Charles stopped taking Harry’s calls.
Charles did not fare well in the interview. “There’s a lot to work through there,” Harry said. “I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar, he knows what pain feels like, and Archie is his grandson.” It did not sound like the situation has improved: “I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened,” he said.
Harry’s current relationship with his brother, Prince William, is strained.
Harry was slightly more diplomatic about William, saying that he loved his brother but “we went down different paths.”
Despite the serious nature of much of what Meghan and Harry shared, there were some entertaining and sweet moments as well. The best of the good, the neutral, and the just plain random:
They’re having a girl!
Meghan is currently pregnant with the couple’s second child, and the two said they planned to stop there: no more kids after Archie and his future baby sister.
Three days before their widely televised wedding, the two were married in secret by the archbishop of Canterbury.
A bit of a flex.
Meghan never Googled Prince Harry before getting involved with him.
Nor did she know much about what the job of royal entailed: It was a moment from the night that raised some eyebrows of disbelief, but Meghan explained by saying she’d been around celebrities all her life in Los Angeles.
One of Meghan’s first jobs was at a yogurt shop called “Humphrey Yogart.”
Angelenos were inspired by this news:
When the couple first moved to California, they said they stayed in uber-producer Tyler Perry’s house, and he also provided them with security.
Tyler Perry, American hero.
Oprah has watched The Crown. Harry and Meghan have watched “some” of The Crown.
To be fair, does anyone really want to slog through the second and third seasons?
At the height of Meghan’s struggles, she watched The Little Mermaid and identified deeply with Ariel’s story.
She did not reveal who from the palace fulfilled the other roles in the story.
Meghan and Harry have a chicken coop at their home—the chickens are rescues—and a little house with a sign on it that says “Archie’s Chick Inn.”
Archie, almost 2, also currently enjoys saying the word hydrate and the phrase “Drive safe!” Both good pieces of advice.