Everything Meghan Markle said about her bombshell Oprah interview (2024)

In February 2021, news broke that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had agreed to take part in a televised interview special with Oprah Winfrey, sparking speculation that the couple were planning to use the opportunity to settle scores with the royal family and re-launch themselves as public figures in California.

Just over a year since their split from the monarchy, tabloid rumors and speculation about exactly why the couple left Britain continued to circulate, unconfirmed by either side, leading Meghan to later reveal that she thought that in order to move on, they had to clarify their positions on what had passed.

The interview was filmed in Montecito at the home of a mutual friend of Winfrey and the Sussexes in March 2021, the final broadcast being made in the U.S. on March 7, and a day later on March 8 in the U.K.

Everything Meghan Markle said about her bombshell Oprah interview (1)

The fallout from the interview was swift, with the revelations made by the couple about their treatment at the hands of the palace machine, as well as the impact it had on their mental health, and their battles with the tabloid press coming second in public reaction to the claim that "concerns and conversations" had taken place within the royal family about the skin color of the couple's future child.

This bombshell sent a wave of anti-racist backlash against the monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II issuing a rare statement saying that while the revelations were "concerning" and would be dealt with, "some recollections may vary."

Though the after-effects of this conversation around race are still being discussed in relation to the monarchy today, Meghan has since said she was surprised that it was the main takeaway from the all-important interview.

Here, Newsweek looks at what Meghan has said about her interview with Oprah Winfrey in the years since it hit screens around the world.

Meghan, Harry and Oprah

Since the interview with Oprah aired in March 2021, Meghan and Harry have only discussed it in-depth once, during their eponymous Netflix docuseries which was released in December 2022.

In the show, Meghan revealed that discussions with the TV veteran had pre-dated the couple's split from the monarchy. Oprah had been a guest at their wedding in May 2018.

"Oprah had originally reached out to us through the communications director at Kensington Palace. There was excitement. I remember that and then I think we talked," she said.

The couple had moved their offices from Kensington Palace to Buckingham Palace in March 2019, suggesting that the earliest conversations with Oprah about an interview pre-dated that development in their royal journey.

Meghan explained to the Netflix audience that "the timing of when we would talk to her just kept changing," with the interview finally taking place after their split from the monarchy which was made in January 2020.

Filling in the Blanks

In the show, Meghan said that after she and Harry had split from the monarchy and moved to the U.S. that a "vacuum" was formed, and it was being filled with tabloid gossip and speculation.

"The more distance that came between us having a smaller role with the institution and coming over here, the more of a vacuum was being built. And people just genuinely didn't understand why we left," she said.

"That interview, it was less about setting the record straight than at least filling in the blanks that other people were filling in for us."

The duch*ess added: "Whatever we were creating and whatever new path we were trying to forge, you couldn't really do that without some clarity."

Everything Meghan Markle said about her bombshell Oprah interview (2)

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'Entirely Eclipsed'

After they recorded their interview with Oprah, Harry and Meghan revealed that they didn't see an edit of the special until it aired for the public on March 7, 2021.

In Harry & Meghan, home-shot footage of the couple watching the show in a screening room showed their reactions to what was being said. At one point, Harry was shown covering his wife's eyes with his hand.

"We didn't see it until the world saw it," Meghan told the audience, while going on to add that the biggest takeaway she thought would be the harrowing revelation that she struggled with her mental health so much prior to the birth of Prince Archie in 2019 that she considered ending her own life.

"It's interesting," she said. "I thought that me being very open about the depression that I experienced and just how extreme that became...I thought that would be the biggest takeaway. But it was entirely eclipsed by the conversation surrounding race."

'Important to be Thoughtful'

Prior to the Harry & Meghan Netflix show airing, Meghan made one public reference to the Oprah interview, in an article written about her for The Cut magazine.

Speaking to journalist Allison P Davis, the duch*ess said she was "thoughtful" of the fact that when little girls look at her they often see her as a "real-life princess" and that it carries a responsibility.

"It's important to be thoughtful about it because—even with the Oprah interview, I was conscious of the fact that there are little girls that I meet and they're just like, 'Oh my God, it's a real-life princess,'" she said.

"I just look at all of them and think, You have the power within you to create a life greater than any fairy tale you've ever read. I don't mean that in terms of 'You could marry a prince one day.' I mean you can find love. You can find happiness. You can be up against what could feel like the greatest obstacle and then you can find happiness again."

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek's royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We'd love to hear from you.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Everything Meghan Markle said about her bombshell Oprah interview (2024)

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