Meghan Markle Has Confessed How She’s Really Coping With The Pressures Of Royal Life

Meghan Markle became a member of the British royal family when she married Prince Harry in 2018. But even though she was previously an actor, nothing could have prepared her for the sudden, intense spotlight that comes with being royal. The woman who became the Duchess of Sussex didn’t, however, talk about her new life for a while. But when she did, it was with a sudden outpouring of emotion.

Right from the beginning people were curious about Meghan. When it became clear Harry was dating her, the media attempted to dig up as much as possible about her background. In late 2016 the Daily Mail ended up publishing a piece titled “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton.” Her mother’s home was referred to as “gang-scarred.”

Meghan is biracial, with a white father and African-American mother. Some of the reports about her definitely had undertones of racism, while others were designed to mislead. This led Harry to take an absolutely unprecedented step. Via his communications secretary, the prince released a message condemning the press.

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Released in November 2016, the official statement said that Harry believed the media had crossed a line. Within it were some serious claims against the press establishment. The prince alleged that Meghan been subjected to “the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker and loved one in her life,” among other things.

At one point, journalists had even tried to break into Meghan’s home, the statement claimed. And it continued, “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”

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The statement ended with a note that Harry, “has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done. He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly.”

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The shadow of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, hung over that statement. The prince was a mere 12 years old when she was killed in a car accident – and the paparazzi had been chasing her vehicle at the time. Reportedly, photographers even took photos of the royal as she lay dying from her injuries.

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When Diana first married into the royal family, she almost immediately started to do things differently. On the day of her wedding to Prince Charles, she left the word “obey” out of her vows. And when Princes William and Harry were born, she decided that they should lead lives as normal as possible for royals.

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Diana was determined to be a hands-on parent, even though she always had royal duties to fulfill. Sometimes the busy princess had to leave the boys with nannies, but she tried her hardest to be there for them as often as she could. And, notably, she also taught them to behave humbly. Whenever they went to theme parks, they had to wait in line with other children instead of going straight to the front.

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But, it seems, Diana found life as a royal very difficult. The pressures were overwhelming at times. In 1995, three years after her separation from Charles, the Princess gave an interview to the BBC’s Panorama. During the show, she told journalist Martin Bashir, “I seemed to be on the front of a newspaper every single day, which is an isolating experience, and the higher the media put you […] The bigger the drop.”

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Harry has never made any secret of his dislike for the media, and his feeling that the paparazzi actively contributed to the death of his mother. In the 2017 documentary Diana, 7 Days he said, “Those people that caused the accident, instead of helping, were taking photographs of her dying on the back seat.”

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In that 2016 statement against the media, Harry’s press secretary pointedly mentioned that, despite his best intentions, the prince felt unable to keep Meghan safe. That spoke volumes, as did the words, “[Harry] knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay,’ and that ‘This is all part of the game.’ He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his.”

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Meghan became engaged to Harry in 2017, and then there came a lot of whispers about her status as a divorcee. Before ever meeting the prince, she had married and then split from Trevor Engelson, a producer and actor. The Queen, however, is also the Church of England’s figurehead, a religion which preaches against divorce. As a result, some people outright said the couple shouldn’t wed.

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Then, in November 2017, The Spectator added its opinion to the fray. The magazine published an article which denounced the former actor as “unsuitable” for Harry. Why? Because “she’s divorced and Harry’s grandmother is supreme governor of the [Church of England].” The article’s author, Melanie McDonagh, also added, “Seventy years ago, Meghan Markle would have been the kind of woman the prince would have had for a mistress, not a wife.”

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The article met with a lot of backlash, as people pointed out that many members of the royal family were also divorced. In fact Charles, the person next in line to the throne, is among them. One comment read, “Meghan Markle is a suitable wife for Prince Harry because they appear to be in love and they want to be married.”

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The wedding between Harry and Meghan took place on 19 May, 2018. Over 27 million people watched the service in the U.K .alone, so there’s no doubt the whole thing must have been nerve-racking for the couple. But it all went well. And the inclusion of black culture in the ceremony, a tribute to the bride’s heritage, drew praise.

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But as Meghan settled into life as a duchess, the media seemed to criticize her more and more. Rumors spread that she was feuding with her sister-in-law by marriage, Kate Middleton. The story went that during a bridesmaid dress fitting for little Princess Charlotte in the run-up to the wedding, the future queen was driven to tears by the bride.

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And in November 2018, an anonymous “royal insider” told The Sun that the couple had apparently argued with the Queen about which tiara the bride could wear for her wedding. They claimed, “Meghan can be difficult. She has very high standards and is used to working in a Hollywood environment.”

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Then, there was the problem of Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle. The tabloids, it seems, took an immense interest in him. Anything he or any other Markle did appeared to fan the flames of media interest. In 2018, following the wedding, which Thomas did not attend, his daughter sent him a letter which was then leaked to the tabloids.

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Reportedly, Thomas himself leaked the letter, which was published by British tabloid the Mail on Sunday. Much was made of the fact that Meghan and her father appeared to be estranged. Indeed, when the Duchess’ first child, Archie, was born in May 2019, her dad was not asked to attend the christening. The new mom only invited her own mother, Doria.

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Motherhood, though, seemed to bring a different set of press-related problems for Meghan. As soon as the proud parent began taking Archie out in public, more criticism rained down on her. Indeed, when she took him to watch his dad play in a polo match for charity, people instantly began mom-shaming her on Twitter.

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It seemed Meghan was holding Archie “wrong.” One person wrote, “She can’t have any maternal instincts at all. Archie’s neck and whole body not supported by her at all. No sun hat to protect him.” Plenty of people clapped back, though, expressing frustration about how the Duchess seemed to be vilified no matter what she did.

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And Meghan’s friend Priyanka Chopra was one of those supporters. In June 2019 she told The Sunday Times that the Duchess’s treatment “has to do with racism, it’s an obvious reason.” She also added, “But the beauty of Meg is that she’s been herself through all of this… I knew her before and she’s the same chick.”

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What about the royal herself? How did she feel about it? Well, answers to those questions started coming in October 2019. First, news came through that the Duke and Duchess were suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing Meghan’s private letter to her father. And Harry’s statement on the matter was absolutely damning.

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The prince said he felt the media had been “waging campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences.” He continued, “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behavior, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level.”

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Harry went on, “We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this. Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one.” And then he referenced what had happened to Diana, saying, “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

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Meghan got her say on this subject later that month. And it came in a documentary called Harry and Meghan: An African Journey. The film followed the couple as they toured Africa, and journalist Tom Bradby asked the Duchess some quite probing questions about her life and her relationship with her husband.

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The new mom said, “When I first met my now husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy.” But, it seems, they also had warnings. As she explained, “My British friends said to me: ‘I’m sure he’s great, but you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’ And I very naively – I’m American, we don’t have that there – thought, ‘What are you talking about?’”

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Meghan then explained to the journalist, “I’ve said for a long time to H – that’s what I call him – it’s not enough to just survive something, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy. I’ve really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I’ve tried, I’ve really tried.”

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Bradbury then told Meghan that Harry was “obviously very concerned about protecting you, and protecting you from what he felt his mother went through.” Then, after admitting that the issue was “an area one has to tiptoe into very gently,” the journalist asked the Duchess a very personal question. And it was about her mental health.

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Meghan answered, clearly emotional, “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging.” She went on, “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.”

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The royal said she didn’t mind media reports on her “when things are fair.” But she often felt that they weren’t. “If I do something wrong, I’m the first one to say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I would never do that,’” she said. But Meghan was concerned that the tabloids were apparently simply making things up about her.

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The Duchess went on, “When people are saying things that are just untrue – they’ve been told they’re untrue, but they’re still allowed to say them… I don’t know anyone in the world that would feel like that’s okay. And that’s different than just scrutiny. That’s… What would you call that? It’s a different beast, it’s a really different beast.”

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And then, quite tellingly, Meghan thanked the journalist for asking about her mental health in the first place. She told him, “Thank you for asking. Not many people have asked if I’m okay, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.” When Bradby questioned if she wasn’t okay but, rather, struggling, she answered with a simple, “Yes.”

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The release of the interview caused fans of the Duchess to spring into action. The hashtag #WeLoveYouMeghan began trending on social media. And journalist Katie Couric wrote, “I so admire #MeghanMarkle for being honest, open and vulnerable about the struggles she’s faced as a new mother and very public figure.”

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And at the end of October 2019, a significant thing happened. A group British female MPs – 72 of them to be exact – signed an open letter to Meghan. It spoke about the “distasteful and misleading nature” of press stories featuring her. It also stated that they would all support the Duchess and stand by her and Harry.

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The letter also mentioned the matter of race. The MPs declared,“Even more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories […] We expect the national media to have the integrity to know when a story is in the national interest, and when it is seeking to tear a woman down for no apparent reason. You have our assurances that we stand with [Meghan] in solidarity on this.”

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Hopefully, the tide is starting to turn for Meghan now. That November she gave another interview, this one to journalist Bryony Gordon. She followed the Duchess as she paid a visit to Luminary Bakery, which helps disadvantaged women. And while there, the royal offered a sympathetic ear to everybody.

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Meghan told the women there, “We all have a story to tell, and I feel honored that I am getting to hear yours.” And while speaking to Gordon she said, “I find that when you strip all the layers away, as people, and especially as women, we can find deep connection with each other, and a shared understanding.” Perhaps that was what she wanted most.

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Gordon seemed to agree with her. She wrote in her article, “If I have learned anything about Meghan in the time I have known her, it is that she is a doer, not a wallower. She lives in the solution, not the problem. She told me that she didn’t want people to love her – she just wanted them to be able to hear her.”

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