Oprah Winfrey's highly anticipated interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was full of candid, honest, and emotional moments. During the broadcast, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made several shocking comments about what ultimately led them to leave their senior roles in the royal family and how they were feeling behind the scenes through it all.
Winfrey and the Sussexes managed to cover a lot of ground during their two hour interview on CBS. Perhaps more than many expected, particularly since the couple have historically been pretty reticent about opening up to the media. But things have clearly changed since they stepped away from their senior royal roles. As Markle said in a bittersweet Little Mermaid analogy during the interview, "she gets her voice back in the end." And she was ready to use it. They both were. Here are 20 of the most shocking and revealing moments from their interview.
1. They Were Already Married At Their Wedding
One of the first bombshells Markle dropped was when she told Winfrey that she and Prince Harry had been married three days before their famous royal wedding in May 2018. She told Winfrey they called the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welsby and asked to be married privately "just the three of us."
"We called the archbishop, and we just said, 'Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us,'" Markle said.
2. Meghan Markle Says She Was "Silenced"
Markle, who was an actress and social activist before she married Prince Harry in 2018, told Winfrey that she felt she had been "silenced' by the royal family. When Winfrey asked her, "Were you silent, or were you silenced," Markle responded, "The latter."
"I've always valued independence," Markle said. "I've always been outspoken, especially about women's rights, and that's the sad irony of the last four years, I've advocated for so long for women to use their voice. And then I was silent."
3. There Were Conversations About Archie's Skin Color
Unlike his Cambridge cousins, Archie was not given the title of prince. (Great-grandchildren of the monarch typically are not given the title.) And Markle told Winfrey that was not her or Prince Harry's decision, and that were apparently conversations and concerns "about how dark his skin might be" as the child of a biracial woman.
Markle told Winfrey she was concerned that without the title, Archie would not receive protection and security, even when his grandfather, Prince Charles, became the monarch. "The first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be...it's not their right to take it away," Markle said. "They didn't want him to be a prince... which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn't going to receive security."
According to Markle, Prince Harry had told her about these conversations about his son's skin color with members of the royal family. And when Winfrey asked Prince Harry about those conversations, he said, "That conversation, I'm never going to share."
4. Meghan Markle Was Struggling With Her Mental Health
As the British tabloids continued to attack Markle, who received little protection from inside the royal family, the Duchess told Winfrey that she struggled with her mental health and had suicidal thoughts when she was expecting Archie in 2019.
"I just didn’t see a solution. I would sit up at night, and I was just, like, I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out. I realized that it was all happening just because I was breathing," she told Winfrey. "I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry, especially, because I know how much loss he’s suffered. But I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it."
"I just didn’t want to be alive anymore," Markle shared. "And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought."
5. "The Institution" Wouldn't Give Her Help
When Markle bravely decided to ask for help within the royal network and even asked to be allowed to go seek treatment, she was told that would not be possible. "I said that I’ve never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution," Markle shared. "They said, ‘My heart goes out to you, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution.”
6. Meghan Markle Addressed The Rumor About Making Kate Middleton Cry
Winfrey noted that there had been several rumors about Markle spread in the tabloids, one of those rumors becoming a bit of a tipping point for her. After she married Prince Harry, there were reports that she had made Kate Middleton cry over flower girl dresses when, in fact, the opposite was apparently true. And no one within the firm put an end to that report. (Markle added that Kate had sent her flowers and apologized and Meghan had accepted her apology.)
"I don't know how they can 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," Markle told Winfrey.
7. Archie Is Going To Have A Baby Sister
In happier news, Prince Harry and Markle revealed they're expecting a daughter. "It's a girl," Prince Harry, who was positively beaming, told Winfrey. What's more, the little one is due this summer.
8. Prince Harry Would Not Have Stepped Back If He Got Support
When asked by Winfrey why he decided he had to step back from his senior royal role, Prince Harry said quite simply that there was a "lack of support and a lack of understanding" within the royal family. And had he been offered the support he needed, Prince Harry said "without question" that he would've stayed.
9. Prince Charles Stopped Taking Prince Harry's Calls
Sadly, Prince Harry told Winfrey that his father stopped taking his calls in the wake of his decision to step away from his senior royal role.
"Because by that point, I took matters into my own hands," Prince Harry told Winfrey when she asked why. "I needed to do this for my family. This is not a surprise to anybody, it's really sad that it's gotten to this point, but I've got to do something, for my own mental health and my wife's. And for Archie's as well, because I could see where this is headed."
10. Prince Harry Says The Royal Family Is Scared Of The Press
One of the more shocking revelations from Prince Harry was that the royal family is apparently frightened of "having the tabloids turn on them." When Winfrey expressed incredulity that the monarchy would be worried about the press, he explained, "There is this invisible… the invisible contract between the institution and the U.K. tabloids. To simplify, if you as a family member are willing to wine, dine, and give full access to these reporters, then you are able to get better press. Everyone needs to have some compassion for them [the royals] in that situation."
11. Things Changed After Their Australia Tour
Prince Harry claimed that the royal family, including his brother Prince William and sister-in-law Kate Middleton, welcomed Markle into the family initially. But he believed "it changed after the Australia tour" in 2018, where the couple announced they were expecting.
Oprah pointed out that a similar thing had happened to Harry's mother, Princess Diana, after the tour she and Prince Charles took of Australia when Prince William was a baby. Diana's popularity and ability to draw crowds had changed the dynamic of power within the family. Harry agreed there were similarities.
12. Meghan Markle Was Never Prepared
Markle wanted to set the record straight on how she prepared to become a member of the royal family; apparently no classes or any preparation were offered to her. Instead she told Winfrey she stayed up late at night Googling the British national anthem and royal protocol on her own, trying to find a way to assimilate and "not embarrass" the royal family.
13. Prince Harry Felt "Trapped"
Prince Harry told Winfrey that he was "trapped" as a member of the royal family, and he was not the only one. "I didn't see a way out. I was trapped but I didn't know I was trapped," he told Winfrey. "Trapped within the system like the rest of the family. My father and my brother are trapped. They don't get to leave and I have huge compassion for that."
14. They Weren't "Asked" To Take A Birth Photo
Despite reports to the contrary, Markle told Winfrey that she and Prince Harry "weren't asked" to take the traditional photo with their baby boy on the steps of the hospital after his birth in 2019 as Kate Middleton and Princess Diana had done because Archie wouldn't be named a prince. "That's also part of the spin that was really damaging. I thought, 'Can you just tell them the truth?"
15. Prince Harry Feels Princess Diana Saw Their Situation "Coming"
Prince Harry's mother Princess Diana also stepped away from the royal family after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1995. When asked by Winfrey how his mother might feel about what's happened over the past year, he said, "I think she saw it coming."
16. The Royal Family Cut Off Prince Harry Financially
To that end, Prince Harry told Winfrey that he had been financially cut off from his family but was able to support his family from the money Princess Diana left him. "I have what my mum left me," he said.
The couple have also made deals with Netflix and Spotify via their organization Archewell in an effort to be financially independent.
17. Prince Harry Speaks With The Queen Often
Prince Harry told Winfrey that he did not "blindside" his grandmother Queen Elizabeth with the news of his departure from his senior royal role. In fact, he told Winfrey that he has spoken to his grandmother "more often" since his move to California. And Markle noted that they were able to simply call Queen Elizabeth when Prince Philip was hospitalized rather than going through "appropriate" channels.
18. Prince Harry Feels "Let Down" By Prince Charles
While Prince Harry and his grandmother appear to be close (he did tell James Corden in an interview that she bought Archie a waffle iron, after all), it seems he and his father are not faring as well. "I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar. He knows what the pain feels like," he said during the interview. "I will always love him but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened."
19. Details Of Their Royal Exit Were Finalized Before Their Interview
Reports that Markle and Prince Harry were officially stripped of their royal patronages as a punishment for their interview with Winfrey were apparently also false. The couple told Winfrey that the exit report had been filed before their interview was announced, despite the fact that it was announced later. She also noted that "our plan was to do this forever," indicating they both wanted to keep a less senior role in the royal family, but that was not to be.
20. Archie Loves Saying "Drive Safe"
So what are little Archie's favorite words these days? According to his parents, he loves to say "hydrate" all the time. And also tells people who are leaving their home, "drive safe."
As gut-wrenching as that interview might have been, it's all about that little family at the end of the day. As Markle said herself, her most important title is "mom."