On May 19, 2018, 2 billion people tuned in to watch the extraordinary fairy tale wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The royal wedding has always been one of the grandest events in the United Kingdom, and all around the world. It is a whole day’s affair with the church ceremony, reception, photos, and horse and carriage rides throughout the streets of England. Meghan, raised in Los Angeles, had no idea what being a part of the royal family would be and had never experienced royalty and dedication on this level. Meghan looked her true love in the eyes and was certain of the words,” I do”. Little did she know, those small, simple words would change her life forever.
When people think of the royal family, they think of elegant dresses, proper posture, and even what a princess’s make-up routine is or what they eat on a daily basis. However, no one really thought about what it could do to someone’s mental health, or how much of a commitment it really is.
Thoughts like this really started to fill our minds when, on January 8, 2020, the Duke and Duchess publicly announced on Twitter that they will be stepping down as senior members of the royal family. Afterward, they moved to Canada to figure out what the next step of their plan was. Stepping down from the royal family means that they are stepping away from their pension, security, and ties to the family. If they were to ever join the family again, it would spark significant uproar. Once you leave the royal family, there is no getting back in.
All that was known to the public when they first made their announcement was that they had left, but many people still wanted answers. Oprah first had a sit-down interview with just Meghan (with Harry joining in later), and the admissions that the ex-royal couple made were simply heartbreaking.
To start on a happy note, they announced that they were having a baby girl. They said that their family is complete, and no other children are expected. They did not announce the name.
The first main thing that was brought up was something that made British headlines for months after the royal wedding: that Meghan made Kate Middleton cry.
Royal weddings are always perfectly planned down to every detail. From the dress to the flower arrangements, it is all spectacularly above and beyond. Months after the wedding, headlines started to come out that Meghan made Kate cry over her strict demands with flower girl dresses. Kate’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, was ordered to be the flower girl. However, Meghan claimed that this was entirely false.
Meghan said that a few days before the wedding, Kate was upset about the flower girl dresses, and that really hurt Meghan’s feelings. With that added stress on a bride days before her wedding, especially a royal wedding, it forced much anxiety on her causing her to cry. Kate ended up apologizing to Meghan and she has since forgiven her. Meghan stated that what was hard to get over was “being blamed for something that not only I didn’t do, but that happened to me, and the people who were part of our wedding, going to our coms team and saying ‘ I know this didn’t happen, I don’t have to tell you what actually happened, but I can go on the record saying she did not make her cry.” Everyone in the institution knew that these headlines were not true to begin with, but the question still remains, if everyone knew this story was false, why was it published to begin with? No one, not even Meghan knows the answer.
“I thought about it because they made me think about it.”
Meghan came to the royal family as an outsider and stranger in many ways. She came in as an American, actress, divorcee, an independent woman, and the first mixed-race person to marry into the family. She is the type of person to take nothing for granted. She values all that she is given and she grew up working for everything she had while getting nothing handed to her. When Meghan asked if she ever thought about being the first mixed-race person to marry into the family, she at first thought nothing of it. But, the family gave her a reason to think about it because it is something that has never occurred before.
The Oprah interview exposed the racism that the family has been accused of after Meghan relayed that there were multiple concerning conversations that took place with Harry and other members of the royal family, that remain unnamed, of how dark the color of Archie’s skin might be. It might have grown to be an issue if he was too “brown”, thinking that it would look bad for the family. Harry expressed that he was truly shocked to be partaking in a conversation on this topic.
This turned out to be a turning point for Harry in his decision to leave the family. Meghan also stated that certain people of color in the family would not be entitled to the same things that everyone else was. When she was pregnant with Archie, they did not announce the gender of the child at first. With this information they did not have, the institution told Meghan and Harry that Archie would not be receiving security and would not have a prince title (the Institution is a series of people that are in charge of the everyday lives of the family). Without knowing the gender, the idea also came to Meghan that Archie would be the first grandchild of color in the family, and he would not be entitled to the same things. Meghan felt that not knowing the gender was not a valid reason to cut him off from safety– she knew that there needed to be another piece to the puzzle. Many paparazzi, American and English, have asked the royal family if they are racist given this information, but they denied it.
“I just didn’t want to be alive anymore”
According to her statements in the interview, she explained that the media was not protecting Meghan under any circumstances. She felt like they were trapping her into a world where she could not get out, and the damage they were doing to her was causing her to feel suicidal. She thought that it was never going to end and that this was the only solution to the issue. She was very ashamed to admit that she had come to this breaking point, and one of the hardest things was telling Harry. She knew that if she did not say anything, she “would do it”.
She needed help and support to overcome this mental state. She decided to seek professional help, but when she confided in the Institution that she had reached this breaking point and needed to pursue this aid, they simply told her “no.” One of her main goals with telling this part of her story was that she knows that it can be very hard to express emotions, especially in a place of power like that. However, when she knew she needed help and went to seek it only to be told no, it crushed her.
The Institution realized the pain that she was going through, but they still refused to help since she was not a paid employee at the Institution. She even went to the extent of needing to go to a mental hospital, but she continued to be denied. When she was finally able to tell Harry what was going on, she really needed to emphasize that these weren’t just spontaneous thoughts, they were very clear thoughts that were very real. They were terrifying her and she was in desperate need of help. One night, they had an event to go to. Meghan was not up for going out that night, so Harry considered going by himself and leave Meghan back. She told Harry that she could not be left alone because she was scared of what she might do to herself.
What will they do now?
Now that they have left, security has been completely cut off for them. They went to Canada, but the media hunted them down again and leaked where they were. Before, they were not vocal on where they were going because they wanted privacy. Their very good friend, Tyler Perry, offered to let them stay at his California house because they had nowhere else to go. Now, they are happily settled in the Santa Barbara area of California.
Results of the Media
Though they have escaped, the media is still bashing them. The departure of the two from the royal family has been renamed “Megxit” by the media, blaming her for their departure.
What does Harry think?
When the Queen talked about their departure from the royal family, she had some kind remarks to say: “although we would have preferred them to remain full- time working members of the royal family, respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.” Harry was asked the simple question on why he left, he responded that they “lacked understanding and support.” What was happening to Meghan was not only happening to her, it was happening to the people around her that loved her.
In the end, the royals never acknowledge the racism they were clearly portraying with Meghan as the first mixed-race person in the family, what she and her son were entitled to, and the shocking conversation about the concerns of his skin color. Harry got his security taken away, even after facing a number of death threats. Meghan was fed up with this behavior and wrote a letter. The letter stated that the safety of her or her son was not a priority, “but with what my husband is experiencing, he must be safe.”
They would not allow the world to announce when they were the most vulnerable because it would never be possible for them to live their lives, with how bad it already was. Oprah asked Harry if he would have left if Meghan never came into his life. His answer was simply “no.” He was trapped under so much power he would have never been able to get out. He then got asked what his mother, Princess Diana, would have thought about his actions, he replied that she would have,” been very sad and angry about how this whole thing panned out,” however, all she ever would have wanted for her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild to be happy.
They have officially been cut off from their 2020 pension. Harry continues to have a good relationship with his grandmother, but a terrible one with his father. He does not take his calls; they barely even speak. If Meghan and Harry ever wanted back into the family, it would be a huge issue therefore, they will never return as senior members of the family.
Harry was asked if there were any regrets. He confidently responded with no, and he is very happy with what they have come to as a family. He is beyond proud of Meghan for delivering Archie. There were times where he would come home as Meghan was crying, breastfeeding Archie. This was something they needed to do, Harry had no regrets however, Meghan had one, very important regret that will live on with her forever. She regrets believing them when they said she would be protected because this lifestyle almost cost her, her life. In March 2021, it is official that they will no longer have any ties to the family.