The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed just how difficult life in the spotlight can be in an emotional documentary broadcast in the UK on Sunday.
Filmed during the pair’s recent tour of southern Africa, Harry and Meghan opened up in a way we rarely see from the British royal family, offering a unique glimpse into their lives and the institution itself.
The hour-long documentary for British channel ITV, called “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” made for gripping television with many taking to social media to express support and sympathy for the couple.
It is expected to be screened in the US this week but, for now, here’s a rundown of what we learned about Harry and Meghan from the program.
Harry confirmed a rift with William
In one candid interview, ITV’s Tom Bradby asked the Duke of Sussex about media reports of a split with his brother.
While he didn’t outright declare that he was on the outs with William, he also didn’t deny that there was a rift.
“Part of this role, part of this job, this family, being under the pressure which it’s under, inevitably stuff happens. But we are brothers. We will always be brothers,” Harry explained.
“We are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him, and as I know he will always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to as we are so busy. But I love him dearly and you know the majority of the stuff is probably – well, the majority of the stuff is created out of nothing. But as brothers, you have good days and you have bad days,” he said.
Meghan was warned not to marry Harry
Another moment came when Meghan spoke of first meeting Harry and her friends weighing in on the new relationship.
Meghan told Bradby that her friends were “so happy because I was so happy,” but added that her British friends warned her against marrying the prince.
The duchess recalled how they told her: “I’m sure he’s great but you shouldn’t do it – the British tabloids will destroy your life.”
Meghan said that she “very naively” underestimated the tabloids as she was unfamiliar with them being American, adding: “I didn’t get it.”
Scrutiny of the couple is taking a toll
One element to the documentary that had many on social media talking was the couple’s unfiltered admissions that they have been struggling.
Meghan fought back tears as she tried to explain the pressure she has encountered as a newlywed and new mom.
“Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging,” Meghan said. “And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot. So, you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed.”
Clearly trying to find the right words to convey herself, Meghan then thanked Bradby for asking if she was alright in the wake of the intense media scrutiny.
“Thank you for asking. Not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes,” she said.
Pressing on, Bradby asked Meghan whether that meant she wasn’t OK, and that it “really” had been a struggle, the former actress replied simply with one word: “Yes.”
Separately, when asked if he feels at peace over the death of his mother, Diana, 22 years ago, Harry described his grief as a “wound that festers.”
“I think being part of this family, in this role and this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” he told Bradby. “So in that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best.”
The duke also said that the pressures of his life and the toll it took on his mental health required “constant management.”
Harry ‘won’t be bullied’
Harry seemed to be standing firm in his condemnation of the tabloid press, telling Bradby: “I will not be bullied into playing the game that killed my mum.”
At the beginning of October, the Duke of Sussex published a deeply personal statement slamming the UK tabloids for conducting what he called a “ruthless campaign” against his wife, Meghan.
Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Duchess of Sussex was suing The Mail on Sunday for unlawfully publishing private correspondence with her father while editing it to change its meaning. The newspaper has denied the accusation, saying it was Meghan’s father who asked for the letter to be partially released.
Separately, Harry has joined a legal action against the publishers of the Sun and Mirror over alleged phone hacking.
Meghan’s nickname for Harry
While there were many moving moments, there were also some sweet ones too. Whether it was seeing more from behind the scenes of baby Archie’s introduction to Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Meghan revealing her nickname for her husband – H.
“In all honesty I have said for a long time to H – that is what I call him – it’s not enough to just survive something, that’s not the point of life. You have got to thrive,” she said, breaking into a smile as she said her husband’s moniker.
CNN’s Max Foster, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Melissa Gray, Leona Siaw, Lianne Kolirin, and Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.