The 10 biggest bombshells Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dropped in their Oprah interview

Monday - 08/03/2021 09:30
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a tell-all interview. Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a tell-all interview. Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spoke with Oprah Winfrey for a tell-all interview.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared intimate details about their personal lives and their struggles as working members of the royal family in a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Sunday night.

The couple, who announced their intention to step back from the royal family in January 2020, spoke with Winfrey about their time at Kensington Palace and the family rift that has made headlines over the past few years.

Representatives for Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace didn't immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment for previous stories on the details of the interview listed below.

Here are the 10 biggest bombshell revelations made during the CBS prime-time special "Oprah with Meghan and Harry."

Meghan Markle says that she entered her royal marriage with Prince Harry "naively" — and that they secretly married three days before their televised wedding.

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Meghan Markle spoke with Oprah Winfrey during the bombshell interview. 

Markle told Winfrey that she didn't know much about the royal family before marrying Harry.

"I didn't grow up knowing much about the royal family," the 39-year-old American former actor said. "It wasn't something that was part of the conversation at home. It wasn't something we followed."

The "Suits" actor added that she never romanticized the royal lifestyle but imagined it as many Americans might have.

"It's what you read in fairy tales," she said of her misconceptions about royal life, adding that she "didn't do any research" about what being a royal would mean.

"I never looked up my husband online," she added. "I just didn't feel the need to because everything that I needed to know, he was sharing with me — or everything we thought I needed to know, he was telling me."

Markle also revealed that she and Prince Harry secretly got married in their backyard three days before their televised royal wedding in 2018. According to the duchess, they did so because they wanted to get "back down to basics" and have a moment just for the two of them, since the televised wedding was, as Markle put it, more for everybody else.

"No one knows that, but we called the archbishop and we just said, 'This thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us.' So the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury," she told Winfrey.

Markle didn't know how to curtsy the first time she met the Queen or even that she had to do it.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth II photographed in 2016. 
Samir Hussein /Getty Images

According to Markle, she first met Queen Elizabeth II for lunch at the Royal Lodge, where Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew live.

"It turned out, the Queen was finishing a church service in Windsor, and so she was going to be at the house," Markle said.

When Harry learned his then-girlfriend would be meeting his grandmother, he asked Markle: "Right, do you know how to curtsy?"

Markle said she didn't realize she would need to curtsy when meeting the Queen. 

"I genuinely thought that was what happens outside," she told Winfrey. "I thought that was part of the fanfare. I didn't think that was what happens inside. And I said, 'But it's your grandmother,' and he said, 'It's the Queen.'"

Kate Middleton made Markle cry the week of her wedding to Prince Harry.

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Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle at Christmas church services in 2018. 
Joe Giddens/PA Images/Getty Images

Several reports initially said Markle was the one who made Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, cry over Princess Charlotte's flower-girl dress — but according to Markle, it was the other way around.

"I don't say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding, and she was upset about something," Markle told Winfrey. "But she owned it, and she apologized, and she brought me flowers and a note apologizing."

While Markle did not disclose many details about the rift with her sister-in-law, she confirmed that the disagreement was over the flower-girl dress, as had been reported.

Markle said the incident "made me cry" and "really hurt my feelings."

Many publications reported several months after the incident that Middleton was the victim in the situation, however, a narrative that Markle said she found "shocking" and described as the "beginning of a character assassination."

Markle says she was "silenced" by the royal family and directed to never comment on false reports.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Markle said she was "silenced" during her time with the royal family. 

Ahead of the interview, a clip released by CBS showed Winfrey asking Markle whether she was "silent or silenced" during her time as a working royal.

"The latter," Markle responded. She added that she's "always valued independence" and that being quiet about her life was difficult.

"I've always been outspoken, especially about women's rights, and that's the sad irony of the last four years — I've advocated for so long for women to use their voice," Markle said.

After Harry and Markle took their relationship public, she said, she was "given a very clear directive from the moment the world knew Harry and I were dating to always say, 'No comment.'" Her own family members and friends were also told to do the same.

The idea that she was "protected" by the royal family crumbled soon after the marriage, she said.

"That was hard to reconcile because it was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family," Markle said. "They weren't willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband."

Markle and Harry said there were "concerns and conversations" about how dark Archie's skin would be before he was born.

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Neither Harry nor Markle revealed which royal family members were involved in the conversations. 
Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images

Harry and Meghan welcomed Archie into the world in May 2019, but the months before were filled with conversations about his skin color.

"In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, we have in tandem the conversation of he won't be given security, he's not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born," Markle told Winfrey. 

Markle then said that some had specifically expressed concerns to Prince Harry about "what that would mean or look like" if their son had dark skin.

The couple refused to name anyone involved in the discussions.

"I think that would be very damaging to them," Markle said.

"That conversation I'm never going to share," Harry later said when he joined the interview. "At the time, it was awkward. I was a bit shocked."

Markle had suicidal thoughts after she joined the royal family.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in January 2020. 

Markle said she contemplated suicide after marrying Prince Harry and settling into royal life. 

"I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn't say it, then I would do it," the Duchess of Sussex told Winfrey.

Markle was the subject of harsh media scrutiny from the British press, which she said affected her mental health.

"I just didn't want to be alive anymore," she added. "That was a clear and real and frightening and constant thought."

Markle also said that at the time she was struggling, she'd spoken with a senior member of the royal institution who told her she couldn't seek help for her mental health because doing so would reflect badly on the royal family.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

Harry and Markle are having a baby girl.

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The baby girl will arrive in the summer. 

After announcing in February that they were expecting a second child, the couple told Winfrey the child would be a baby girl.

"To have any child, any one or any two would've been amazing, but to have a boy and then a girl — what more could you ask for?" Harry said. "Now we've got our family. We've got the four of us, our two dogs."

The couple welcomed their son, Archie, in May 2019. 

An official due date has not been announced, but Markle said their daughter would arrive in the "summertime." The couple also said they did not intend to have any more children, saying "two is it."

Prince Charles stopped taking Harry's phone calls before Harry and Markle announced they were stepping back from the royal family.

Prince Charles and Prince Harry
Prince Charles and Prince Harry in 2019. 
SOPA Images/Getty Images

After Winfrey questioned whether the couple's highly publicized exit "blindsided" the Queen, as had been reported elsewhere, Harry denied it. "No," he said. "I've never blindsided my grandmother. I have too much respect for her."

The couple said they spoke with Queen Elizabeth II about their intent to step back from royal duties several times during a two-year period.

"When we were in Canada, I had three conversations with my grandmother and two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls," Harry said.

Prince Charles then asked Harry to write down his departure plans, he said.

Harry said he believed Prince Charles stopped communication with him because Harry "took matters into my own hands."

"I needed to do this for my family," he continued, walking viewers through his thought process at the time. "This is not a surprise to anybody. It's really sad that it's gotten to this point, but I've got to do something for my own mental health, for my wife's, and for Archie's as well, because I could see where this was headed."

Harry says Markle helped him realize he was "trapped" as a member of the royal family.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in March 2020. 
Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Harry said that marrying Markle gave him a new realization that he was "trapped" in the royal family.

When Winfrey asked Harry whether he would have stepped down from royal duties if he had not met Markle, he said he would not have.

"I wouldn't have been able to, because I myself was trapped as well," he said. "I didn't see a way out."

When Winfrey seemed surprised by his acknowledgment and brought up that he hadn't seemed to be trapped throughout his years in front of the cameras, Harry clarified that smiling for the cameras was part of the job.

"No matter who you are in the family, no matter what's going on in your personal life, no matter what's just happened, if the bikes roll up and the car rolls up, you've got to get dressed, you've got to get in there, wipe the tears away, shake off whatever you're thinking about, and you've got to be on your A game," Harry said.

Harry also told Winfrey that, in his view, Prince William and Prince Charles were also trapped. "They don't get to leave," he said. "And I have huge compassion for that."

Harry was financially cut off by his family in the first quarter of 2020.

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Prince William and Prince Harry arriving for the wedding of Pippa Middleton. 
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool/Getty Images

Harry said that the royal family cut him and Markle off financially after they stepped back from their royal duties and that he'd been living off his inheritance from his mother, the late Princess Diana.

"I've got all my mum left me," he said. "And without that, we would not have been able to do this. She saw it coming, and I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process."

During the interview, the couple mentioned Princess Diana several times, drawing parallels between their experience and hers. Markle even wore Diana's tennis bracelet.

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