CONTENT WARNING: The below story contains a description of suicidal ideation. This content may be triggering for some readers.
Tonight, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey in their first primetime interview since their engagement in 2017. After watching the trailers, many royal fans expected it would be dramatic, but nobody could have predicted what Harry and Meghan would reveal about their time in the royal family before officially stepping down as senior royals in January 2020.
If you missed the special, we've rounded up the most shocking and genuinely interesting tidbits we learned from the Sussex's tell-all interview, below.
Meghan had to learn how to curtsy minutes before meeting the Queen for the first time.
Meghan and Harry went to lunch at Royal Lodge with other members of the royal family the first time she met Queen Elizabeth, where she learned how to curtsy outside of the house minutes before meeting the Queen. (Apparently she did a deep curtsy!) Meghan is relieved she didn't know a lot about the family beforehand, otherwise she would have been in her head about it.
Meghan and Harry rescued hens...
...From a factory farm! Harry says Meghan always wanted chickens.
Three days before their wedding, Harry and Meghan secretly got married.
Before the big wedding viewed by the world in May 2018, Harry and Meghan got married in their backyard with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Meghan said the wedding the world saw wasn't "our day," but rather planned for the world.
Meghan heard the story about "making Kate cry..." and it's not true.
Meghan said that was "a turning point" around six months after her wedding. She denies that it happened, and says that's when everything changed. In fact, she says the reverse happened. A few days before the wedding, Kate was upset about the flower girl dresses and it made Meghan cry. Kate later apologized and gave her flowers. Meghan says what was hard to get over was being blamed for something she didn't do. "I'm not sharing that piece about Kate in any way to be disparaging to her," Meghan said. "She's a good person."
Meghan says she was silenced.
When asked by Oprah whether she was silent or silenced, Meghan said "the latter." Everyone in her world (i.e. her friends and family) were always directed to give "no comment" to "protect her." Meghan realized she wasn't protected after they were married, and said the Palace was willing to lie to protect other members of the royal family.
She says the Palace "is a family and a family business."
Meghan says the Queen has always been wonderful to her and gave her pearl earrings and a matching necklace as a gift. Though Meghan says being a part of the royal family is "nothing what it looks like."
Meghan wanted protection from the institution.
She said they would go on the record and negate "the most ridiculous story," but the narrative about making Kate cry was "the beginning of a real character assassination."
The Palace didn't allow Archie to have a royal title...or security.
Meghan said the Palace didn't want Archie to be a prince and he wasn't going to receive security without a title. Until this day, there's no explanation for this. The first member of color in the family not being titled was something Meghan struggled with.
The Palace was apparently concerned about how dark Archie's skin would be when he was born.
In the months when she was pregnant, there were conversations between someone from the Palace and Harry about how dark Meghan and Harry's baby would be. Meghan wasn't able to say who the conversation was with because it "would be damaging to them." Harry says he will never share information about the conversation.
Trigger warning: suicide, below.
At one point, Meghan told Harry she didn't want to be alive anymore.
She said it was a real constant thought. Meghan told the institution (i.e. several people) that she needed to get help, and they wouldn't allow her to. They said there was nothing to do to protect her because she wasn't "a paid employee of the institution." One of the people Meghan reached out to for advice was one of Diana's best friends. Meghan was ashamed to admit she needed help, and now understands that admitting you need help is an act of courage.
Meghan says the Firm is perpetuating falsehoods about Meghan and Harry...
...And she's not worried about backlash from them. "There's a lot that's been lost already," she says. "I lost my father, I lost my baby, I nearly lost my name." Through all of this, Meghan wants people to know that life is worth living and you can come out on the other side.
Meghan and Harry are having a girl!
Archie will have a younger sister! Harry said he's grateful to have any child, but he's so thrilled to have a boy and a girl. "A boy and a girl? What more can you ask for?" Harry said. Meghan and Harry also said they won't have more than two children and the baby is due in the summer.
Meghan and Harry didn't intend to totally step away as royals.
Harry said he was desperate for an escape because they were asking for help, but never got it. They intended to step back as senior royals and take a breath from the "constant barrage." Harry said his biggest fear was history repeating itself, referring to his mother, with Meghan. Harry said they ultimately left the royal family because there was a lack of support and a lack of understanding.
Harry said he never "blindsided the Queen" when he stepped back as a royal.
He said he has too much respect for his grandmother, and has spoken to her more over the past year than he has throughout the years. When Meghan and Harry were in Canada, he had conversations with his father as well "before he stopped taking my calls." Harry then took matters into his own hands.
Harry says his family was welcoming to Meghan in the beginning…
…But it changed after the Australia tour when Meghan became pregnant.
He never thought he would have his own security removed.
Meghan said she wrote letters to the royal family asking to keep Harry safe and not to pull his security, but they said it wasn't possible. Meghan already knew that she and Archie weren't a priority.
Harry said he felt "trapped" in the royal family.
He said he was trapped within the system, but didn't know he was trapped at the time. Harry also said that his mother would be angered and upset by what's happening to him and Meghan right now.
Harry says "there's a lot to work through" with his father.
He feels really let down by him. He says he "will always love him," but there's a lot of hurt that's happened.
Harry and Will are taking "space" right now.
He hopes time will heal all.
Meghan's one regret is believing the Palace when they said she would be protected.
Now that she's on the other side, Meghan says she's "not only surviving, but thriving" and her life with Harry is "greater than any fairytale." Ultimately, Harry thinks that Meghan saved him, but Meghan thinks Harry "saved all of us."
If you or a loved one are struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to message with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free.