Harry and Meghan interview fallout

By Jessie Yeung, Aditi Sangal, Tara John, Zamira Rahim and Christopher Johnson, CNN

Updated 12:11 p.m. ET, March 8, 2021
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8:49 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Royal institution had concerns about "how dark" Archie's skin might be, Meghan said

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photo call in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photo call in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England. Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images

When Winfrey asked why Meghan thought the royal family didn't want to give Archie a title or security, she revealed that race had been a concern within the institution.

There were several "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born," she said.

The family had had those conversations with Harry, which were then related back to her, Meghan said. She declined to reveal who was involved with those conversations.

"That would be very damaging to them," she said.

During her tours and visits to the Commonwealth, she saw "how much it meant to them to be able to see someone who looked like them in this position. And I could never understand how it couldn't be seen as an added benefit, and a reflection of the world today."

8:49 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Harry and Meghan's baby, Archie, won't receive security from royal institution

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holds her son Archie in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 25, 2019.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holds her son Archie in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 25, 2019. Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage/Getty Images

When Meghan was pregnant with her son Archie, she was shocked to be told by the royal institution that he wouldn't be made a prince and thus wouldn't receive security.

"This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy, where I'm going, hold on a second ... he needs to be safe," she said. "We have created this monster machine (of clickbait and tabloids), you've allowed this to happen, which means we need to be safe."

She didn't have much of an attachment to titles -- but it's different if those titles might affect Archie's safety, she said.

"While I was pregnant, they wanted to change the convention, for Archie. Why?" she said. "There's no explanation."

8:40 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

"That's a loaded piece of toast" says Meghan of media's scrutiny of her diet

Britain's Prince Harry's fiancée Meghan Markle gestures during a visit to Reprezent 107.3FM community radio station in Brixton, south west London on January 9, 2018.
Britain's Prince Harry's fiancée Meghan Markle gestures during a visit to Reprezent 107.3FM community radio station in Brixton, south west London on January 9, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/AFP/Getty Images

During her interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan discussed the different standards applied to her and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge -- and how glaringly obvious it becomes when you examine media headlines.

When Kate was photographed cradling her baby bump, she was praised as a doting expectant mother -- but when Meghan was photographed doing the same, British media accused her of "pride or vanity."

Winfrey contrasted media coverage of Meghan and Kate eating avocados during their pregnancies. For Kate, it was said to be helping with morning sickness. However, for Meghan, avocados became a fruit linked to water shortages and "environmental devastation."

"You have to laugh at a certain point because it's just ridiculous," Meghan said. "That's a loaded piece of toast," she added.

She said she didn't know why there was a difference in standards for her and Kate.

"I can see now what layers were at play there. And again, they really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain."
8:38 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Life in royal family was deeply lonely, Meghan says

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equitation Sports on February 25, 2019 in Rabat, Morocco.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visits the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equitation Sports on February 25, 2019 in Rabat, Morocco. Hannah McKay/Pool/Getty Images

Life in the royal family was deeply lonely and isolating, and she had little freedom, said Meghan.

She wasn't even allowed to go out for lunch with friends sometimes because she was too heavily covered in the media, she said.

She was told to lay low -- but she hadn't even left the house in months, she said.

"I am everywhere but I am nowhere," she added. Everyone was concerned with optics, how her actions might look -- but "has anyone talked about how it feels? Because right now I could not feel lonelier."
11:29 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Meghan says she was silenced and wasn't protected by the royal institution

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as they arrive by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in the town of Runcorn, Cheshire, England.
Queen Elizabeth II is greeted with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as they arrive by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in the town of Runcorn, Cheshire, England. Peter Byrne/WPA Pool/Getty Images

In her interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said that she had been silenced after she got married and joined the royal family.

It was only when she joined the institution that she understood she "wasn't being protected," she said.

"They were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren't willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband," she said.

She added that she had been welcomed into the family, and that the family members are different from "the people running the institution."

"The Queen has always been wonderful to me," she said. On their first joint engagement, the Queen gave her a gift of pearl earrings and a matching necklace. In the car between engagements, the Queen had a blanket across her knees for warmth -- and "she said, 'Meghan, come on,' and put it across my knees as well," said Meghan. "It made me think of my grandma as well."

This post has been amended to clarify Meghan's statement on the protection offered by the royal family.

8:47 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Meghan had to quickly learn to curtsy before her first meeting with the Queen

Meghan Markle curtsies as she sees off Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaving after the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England, on December 25, 2017.
Meghan Markle curtsies as she sees off Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaving after the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England, on December 25, 2017.

Before she met the Queen for the first time, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said she was taught to curtsy.

"I thought genuinely that that was what happens outside, I thought that was part of the fanfare. I didn't think that's what happens inside. And I said, 'But it's your grandmother.' [Harry] goes, 'It's the Queen,'" she told Oprah Winfrey in the interview.

"That was really the first moment that the penny dropped," she added.

She said she practiced it quickly with Harry before the meeting and did a "very deep curtsy" in front of the Queen.

"We just sat there and we chatted. And it was lovely and easy," she said of their first meeting.

8:38 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Meghan addresses rumors of dispute with Kate

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend Wimbledon in London on July 13, 2019.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend Wimbledon in London on July 13, 2019. Karwai Tang/Getty Images

In her one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan addressed the rumors that she had made Prince William's partner, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cry during her wedding preparations.

The rumor had made headlines and sparked public hostility -- but it wasn't true, said Meghan. In fact, it was the other way around -- Meghan had been the one in tears.

"A few days before the wedding she was upset about something pertaining to flower girl dresses. It made me cry, it really hurt my feelings," she said.

She added that "There was no confrontation," and that she has forgiven the Duchess of Cambridge, who is known as Kate. She is "a good person," said Meghan.

"I don't think it's fair to her to get into the details of that, because she's apologized," she said -- but the hard part was being publicly and relentlessly "blamed for something I didn't do, but happened to me."

"Everyone in the institution knew it wasn't true," she said -- the institution being the royal family. When Winfrey asked why nobody had spoken up, Meghan replied, "That's a good question."

8:45 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Meghan and Harry got married three days before the royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand together during their wedding at St George's Chapel in Windsor, England, on May 19, 2018.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand together during their wedding at St George's Chapel in Windsor, England, on May 19, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Meghan and Harry got married three days before the royal wedding that captured the world's attention, Meghan revealed on her interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The vows framed in their home shows the two of them during their private wedding, Meghan said.

Life now in their new home has been "really fulfilling," she added -- the couple has been able to focus on "getting back down to basics."

8:10 p.m. ET, March 7, 2021

Life in the royal family: "You're being judged on the perception of it, but you're living with the reality"

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wave from the Ascot Landau Carriage during their carriage procession on the Long Walk as they head back towards Windsor Castle in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony.
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wave from the Ascot Landau Carriage during their carriage procession on the Long Walk as they head back towards Windsor Castle in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. Aaron Chown/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, started her interview with Oprah Winfrey by discussing her wedding day and what it was like to enter the royal family.

The wedding was an "out of body experience," she said. She had woken up that morning, listened to the "Going to the Chapel" song -- but all the while, she and Harry were aware that "this wasn't our day -- this was the day that was planned for the world."

"I went into it naively because I didn't grow up knowing much about the royal family," she said. "It wasn't part of conversation at home it wasn't something we followed ... I didn't do any research. I've never looked up my husband online," she said.

"I didn't fully understand what the job was, what does it mean to be a working royal?" she added. "But I think, there was no way to understand what the day to day was.

She didn't know much about the British royals beforehand, she said -- her mother didn't even know about Princess Diana's bombshell interview. "What do you know about the royals? It's what you read in fairy tales," Meghan said.

"The perception and the reality are very different things, and you're being judged on the perception of it, but you're living with the reality."