Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Controversy, Explained
Following months of speculation and controversy surrounding their exit from the Royal Family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed numerous bombshell details about the Royal Family during their first sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired Sunday night (March 7).
Over the past year, Markle has faced extreme scrutiny from the British tabloids, including racism, rumors and reports regarding her relationship with the Royal Family. The rags even claimed that Markle was the reason that she and Prince Harry were leaving royal life. They dubbed their royal withdrawal "megxit."
And so, Prince Harry and Markle decided to set the record straight and address the speculation surrounding their current standing with Harry's family in a tell-all interview. The couple revealed which family members they are on speaking terms with, the problems they encountered and the unkind conversations they've had with "the institution."
What Did Prince Harry Say About the Royal Family?
During his interview with Oprah, Harry made numerous startling claims about the Royal Family. He revealed that his family cut him off financially in 2020 following his and Meghan's exit from their official royal duties, and that his father, Prince Charles, stopped taking his calls for a time. "There's a lot to work through there," he shared.
"Without question" the couple would still have kept their royal duties if they had more support from the Royal Family, Harry shared. He also revealed that if his mother, Princess Diana, were alive, she would "feel very angry and sad at how this all panned out."
Amid the drama, Harry has gotten closer to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, however. They have even caught up over Zoom during the pandemic.
What Did Meghan Markle Say About the Royal Family?
Meghan revealed that the first time she met Queen Elizabeth II, she did not know much about the Royal Family. Their first meeting was extremely casual, but she did have to learn to curtsy just moments prior.
Meghan also set the record straight about a tabloid story that claimed she made her sister-in-law Kate Middleton cry a few days prior to her wedding to Harry. According to Meghan, the exact opposite happened, and Kate was the one who made Meghan cry over an issue pertaining to flower girl dresses for the wedding. Meghan shared that Kate took "accountability" by sending her a thoughtful note and flowers after the event.
Meghan said that her greatest regret was believing that the Royal Family would defend her in the tabloids. She also revealed that she reached out to palace HR for help when she was feeling suicidal, but that she was denied assistance or support.
How Did the Royal Family React to Harry and Meghan's Exit?
In February 2020, the Royal Family also released a statement regarding Harry and Meghan's official royal exit. “Following conversations with the Duke, the Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the royal family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family," the statement concluded.
What Did Palace Aids Accuse Meghan Markle Of?
Palace staff reportedly accused Meghan of bullying them while she was living at the palace.
On March 2, after it was announced that Harry and Meghan would be sitting down for a tell-all interview, The Times published an alleged email from a palace staffer that was dated October 2018. The email claimed that Meghan essentially drove two assistants to leave their jobs and "undermined" the confidence" of another staff member.
Did the Royal Family Say Anything About the Allegations?
In March, the palace released a statement regarding the allegations that Meghan bullied her staff.
"We are clearly very concerned about allegations in the Times following claims made by former staff of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex," the statement read. "Accordingly, our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article. Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned."
The statement sparked backlash from the public, however, after people pointed out the hypocrisy of the palace's swift response to these claims against Meghan vs. their silence regarding the allegations surrounding Prince Andrew, who was reportedly friends with convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
According to The Guardian, Andrew and Jeffrey met in 1999 through Epstein's girlfriend at the time, Ghislaine Maxwell. Photos of the pair from 2000 were recently published. They were photographed together again in 2010 while taking a stroll in Central Park.
In a statement, Andrew claimed that he stayed at Jeffrey's properties but "saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year."
What Was the Meghan Markle Controversy Involving Earrings?
In October 2018, Meghan wore earrings that were originally gifted to Queen Elizabeth II by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a royal tour and state dinner in Fiji.
People claimed that the earrings represented "blood money" as she wore them just weeks after Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Saudi Arabia. American officials accused Salman of calling for his execution.
Who Has Defended Meghan Markle?
Meghan's former Suits co-star, Patrick J. Adams, who played her love interest Mike Ross on the show, defended Meghan on Twitter. "Meghan Markle and I spent the better part of a decade working together on Suits," he tweeted. "From day one she was an enthusiastic, kind, cooperative, giving, joyful and supportive member of our television family. She remained that person and colleague as fame, prestige and power accrued."
Suits showrunner Aaron Korsh also spoke about Meghan's character. "Meghan Markle is not a monster," he wrote. "She's a strong woman with a kind heart who's trying to make her way in an unimaginable situation."
Meghan's other former co-star Abigail Spencer wrote at length about Meghan's character. "She’s what I’d call 'an on-call friend,'" she wrote. "At the ready. She’s modeled nothing but generous professionalism on sets and an even more generous friendship in private. And on that night, she took my friends as her own."