As far as nicknames go, this one's pretty weird: Prince Charles reportedly nicknamed Meghan Markle "Tungsten," a nod to her resilience. If you're getting flashbacks to science class, there's a reason for that: Tungsten is on the periodic table, a metal known for its high melting point and core strength. Charles reportedly picked the nickname because Meghan is resilient and "unbending"—something that's become even more clear since she and Meghan and Harry left the senior royal family in January of 2020 to start a new life in California—and although it sounds weird, it's meant to be respectful.
After Meghan and Harry's royal wedding—during which Charles walked Meghan down the aisle because her dad wasn't in attendance—we learned from royal correspondent Russell Myers that Charles had nicknamed his daughter-in-law "Tungsten." Myers noted: "He’s been calling her tungsten, the metal, because she is tough and unbending. It’s a bit of a weird one but I think he really respects her. He thinks she has managed to deal with it well. He has had his fair share of bad press in the past, a lot of crisis in his life, so I think he’s trying to get her to navigate the choppy waters of joining the Royal Family."
Tungsten, if you wondered, is one of the most resilient metals on the planet. (A deep dive into its Wikipedia page reveals it's also toxic to most humans and animals, so it may not be the best nickname, but I digress.)
Though the "tungsten" nickname was intended to ease Meghan's transition into the royal family—which, sure, Charles—it's proven more accurate than ever in the past year and a half. During her tell-all Oprah interview with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle shared that she'd suffered with thoughts of suicide during her time as a royal. She'd suffered nonstop racist bullying from the press over her relationship with Harry, and she and Harry told Oprah that they felt unsupported by the royal family.
She said: "I just didn't see a solution. I would sit up at night ... It was all happening just because I was breathing. I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry, especially, because I know how much loss he's suffered. But I knew if I didn't say it, I'd do it. And I just didn't want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought... I thought it would've solved everything for everyone."
Meghan also told Oprah that she went to "one of the most senior people" in "the institution" to ask for help, but was told that she couldn't go away to seek treatment; it "wouldn't be good for the institution." She also went to the palace's HR, to "begging" for help, and was told that, despite their sympathy for the then-pregnant Meghan, they couldn't help because she "was not a paid employee of the institution." The palace said that "some recollections may vary," but declined to offer further comment following the Oprah interview.
The relationship between Prince Charles and the Sussexes remains fraught in the aftermath of the Oprah interview. Harry told Oprah: "I will always love him. There’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. I will continue to make it one of my priorities to heal that relationship."