Meghan Markle has revealed that friends warned her not to date Prince Harry in a new documentary that aired in the U.K. Sunday night.
“When I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy,” the Duchess of Sussex told ITV journalist Tom Bradby in “Harry and Meghan: An African Journey.” “But 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.”
Markle added that she “very naively” told her friends, “What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m not in the tabloids.” She continued, “I didn’t get it. So, it’s been complicated.”
Markle, who gave the interview during her and Harry’s royal tour of southern Africa, was referring to the onslaught of negative publicity she’s been receiving ever since she and the Duke of Sussex started dating in 2016. The criticism only intensified after she gave birth to the couple’s first child, Archie, in May.
From headlines branding the eco-conscious couple hypocrites for flying on private planes, to being called out for her “lavish” New York City baby shower, to being blamed for making sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry, to being branded “Duchess Difficult,” Markle says the British tabloids have left her struggling to cope.
“Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot,” Markle told Bradby. She continued, “Not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
When asked by Bradby if it would be fair to say that she is “not really OK? As in, it’s really been a struggle?” Markle replied, “Yes.”
The duchess said she’s tried to cope with the media glare by adopting the British “stiff upper lip” but that ultimately, “what that does internally is probably really damaging.” “It’s not enough just to survive something, right? That’s not the point of life,” she said.
On the second-last day of the couple’s most recent royal tour, the Duke of Sussex released a statement saying that his wife was suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter — which they claim is illegal — that she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. He also berated the press for their “ruthless campaign” against Markle during her pregnancy and while “raising our newborn son.”
“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face — as so many of you can relate to — I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been,” the statement read.
The pain of the “untrue” headlines, as Markle calls them, is what’s making her new life as a working member of the Royal Family so hard to bear.
“When people are saying things that are just untrue, and are being told they are untrue but they’re still allowed to say them, I don’t know anybody in the world that would feel that’s OK,” she told Bradby.
“It’s really hard to understand what it’s like ... The good thing is I have my baby, and my husband, and they’re the best.”
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