The Duke and Duchess of Sussex opened up about their struggles with the media scrutiny in some of the most candid interviews ever given by members of the Royal Family. In a documentary filmed throughout their 10-day tour of Africa last month and aired on ITV last night, Meghan and Harry revealed they are both “existing”, not “living”. ‘Harry & Meghan: An Africa Journey’ was presented by Tom Bradby and while the tone of some of the earlier interviews was upbeat, by the end of the tour, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex both spoke emotionally about their personal struggles.
The former Suits actress told Mr Bradby that it was essential for her to “thrive” and “feel happy”, warning that simply enduring unwanted scrutiny was “not the point of life”.
She said: “It’s hard. I don’t think anybody can understand that.
“In all fairness, I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand, but when I first met Harry, my friends were so excited, my US friends were happy because I was happy.
“But my British friends, they were sure he was lovely, but they said I shouldn’t do it because ‘the British tabloids will destroy your life’.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s revealing interview dubbed ‘problematic’ for Queen Elizabeth II
Prince Harry during the documentary
“Because I’m American I very naively didn’t get it.”
Commenting on the candid interviews in a column for the Daily Telegraph, royal correspondent Camilla Tominey claimed the Sussexes’ revelations felt “on a par with Princess Diana’s explosive sit-down with Panorama”.
In 1995, the late Princess opened up with BBC Panorama’s Martin Bashir about her life in the Royal Family and marriage to Prince Charles.
In the interview, Diana not only spoke about her husband’s infidelity but also shed some light on how she felt isolated and misunderstood within the Palace.
Similarly, Meghan told the broadcaster: “Not many people have asked if I’m okay.”
Princess Diana during her Panorama interview
Meghan Markle during the documentary
Ms Tominey argued that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interviews might not be welcomed within the royal household, and the Queen.
She wrote: “In insisting he will protect his family at all costs, backed up by Meghan saying she will not adopt the ‘British stiff upper lip’, the Sussexes appear to be saying something deeper about their ongoing role in the Royal Family.
“They are no longer willing to put up and shut up – which could prove problematic for a family that has traditionally kept calm and carried on.”
The 93-year-old monarch’s mantra has always famously been “never explain, never complain”.
Diana’s emotional outpouring on TV was, according to multiple reports, one of the reasons the Queen severed her ties with the Princess.
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Queen Elizabeth II
In her 2017 book ‘The Duchess: The Untold Story’, biographer Penny Junor said that was the last straw for Her Majesty.
Ms Junor wrote: “The Queen finally lost her patience.
“This public mud-slinging wasn’t just harming the monarchy, it was damaging for the young princes [William and Harry].”
The Queen reportedly could not allow the public drama to go on any longer.
Her Majesty decided it was best for her son and the princess to end their marriage so she sent them separate letters urging them to get a divorce.
Charles and Diana agreed, and their divorce was finalised in 1996.