10 Takeaways from the Meghan Markle and Oprah Interview

  1. Anyone can be struggling with mental health, even the Duchess of Sussex.

In the interview, Markle opened up about times in which she would put on a smile for the cameras, but felt deeply depressed and even suicidal. At her worst, she even attended an event because she was scared about what might happen if she were left alone.

2. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for you, even if it disappoints others.

Prince Harry shared that though his family has expressed some displeasure at his choices, he is incredibly happy and lucky to be with his family. He spoke of his place in the royal family as somewhere he was trapped, but did not know it.

3. The media doesn’t always tell the whole truth, or even the truth at all.

Many dynamics that the press reported regarding Meghan’s relationship with the Queen and her relationship with Princess Kate were entirely falsified. Megan spoke of her relationship with the Queen very fondly and shared that the story of her making Kate cry was inaccurate.

4. History really does repeat itself.

Princess Diana was historically very unhappy both with her lack of freedom in the royal family, even to a point where it was detrimental to her mental health. Harry, having seen the same pattern in his wife, made a change to prevent further loss in his family.

5. Racism isn’t just a problem in the U.S.

Throughout the interview, the blatant racism Markle faced in the press was discussed, however, perhaps even more shockingly, it was an issue within the family. Harry noted that a conversation took place in which a family member expressed concern about how dark their child might be. (Harry makes it clear that the comment did not come from Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip).

6. It’s easier to fake a smile when it’s your job.

In a major moment in the conversation, Winfrey commented on when a reporter asked Meghan how she was doing during their South Africa tour, to which Markle responded, “it has been hard.” Given the tradition within the royal family to maintain a “stiff upper lip,” the comment was notable. Harry elaborated on this while noting that it is within the culture of their family to say “no comment” and hide how you’re feeling.

7. In order to be saved, you have to want to be saved.

Meghan could not get help until she was brave enough to reach out. Once she found the strength to do so, her and her husband were able to make a choice that was best for their whole family. They couldn’t have done that if she hadn’t wanted to get better first.

8. Just because the female-feud narrative is popular doesn’t mean it’s accurate; Meghan and Kate are not enemies.

In another powerful moment in the interview, Markle said “just because you love her it doesn’t mean you have to hate me and if you love me it doesn’t mean you have to hate her.” The narrative of fights between the two of them has become incredibly prevalent in the years since Meghan and Harry’s wedding. Megan assured viewers that sides don’t need to be chosen.

9. The monarchy is a business as much as it is a family—and sometimes business comes first.

Throughout the interview, Markle repeatedly referenced “the institution,” referring to those who manage the business that is the monarchy. While most of the time we attribute the decision making to the Queen, there is a lot more to it than that, especially when it comes to their relationship with the press.

10. Royal life is not The Princess Diaries.

While discussing her difficulties with mental health and the fact that she couldn’t leave to get help on her own, Markle noted that she forfeited her driver’s license, passport, and keys when she moved into their cottage after their wedding and didn’t see them until they left. With security concerns and royal protocol, Markle noted “I couldn’t just call an uber from the palace.” Perhaps real-life royalty isn’t what it looks like in fairytales.

As Megan and Harry noted in their interview, their fairytale was not the stereotypical royal one. Their fairytale is getting to live with their family, speak their minds, and look out for one another. We wish them all the best in their new chapter and thank them for their vulnerability.

Gillian Bressie

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