In February 2021, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey that would stun the world. By then, the couple had already announced their intention to quit their jobs as senior royals.
When the interview aired the following month, the reasons they did so were revealed, including allegations of racism from British tabloids as well as the monarchy. Meghan, whose mother is black and whose father is white, told Winfrey there were conversations at the palace about her son Archie’s skin color while she was pregnant with him.
At some point after her wedding, Meghan said in the interview, “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.” And in response to her pleas for help, royal human resources told her there was nothing they could do as she was not a “paid employee of the institution”, Meghan said.
Many have noted the parallels between the couple’s account and the 1995 BBC interview with Harry’s mother, Diana, when she spoke about Prince Charles’ affair, his bulimia issues and lack of support from the Royal family.
The 2021 interview was a first look at the treatment Harry and Meghan received from the media and the monarchy which later led to them stepping back from their royal responsibilities.
Two days after the interview aired, Buckingham Palace said in a statement that the royal family was “saddened” to learn of Harry and Meghan’s experience.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning,” said the statement said. “While some memories may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family in private.”
Asked for the ‘simplest answer’ to why they left, Harry replied: ‘Lack of support and lack of understanding.’