Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s ITV documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, on their royal tour of southern Africa aired tonight in the UK—and in the special, the Duchess of Sussex gave some of the most candid remarks of any royal family member about the UK tabloids and their treatment of her.
Meghan announced her lawsuit against the Daily Mail during the couple’s tour, and Harry released a statement condemning the UK tabloid for constantly attacking his wife.
In the documentary, Meghan told reporter Tom Bradby that her British friends warned her not to marry Prince Harry because of the tabloid culture in the UK. Bradby asked how Meghan was coping with pressure from the outlets’ and their constant scrutinization of her.
“It’s hard,” Meghan said, via Entertainment Tonight. “I don’t think anybody could understand that, but in all fairness, I had no idea—which probably sounds difficult to understand here—but when I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy, 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.’ And I very naively…we’re American, we don’t have that there, ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense. I don’t need tabloids!’ I didn’t get it. So yeah, it’s been complicated. ”
Bradby asked if Meghan thinks she’ll survive the pressure she’s facing. Meghan replied that surviving isn’t enough and that she really did try at first to do what the other members of the royal family do: don’t acknowledge the reports and appear unbothered. But that was hurting her more than helping her.
“I have said for a long time…it’s not enough to just survive something, right?” Meghan told Bradby. “That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive. You’ve got to feel happy, and I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging, and the biggest thing I know is that I never thought this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair, and that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile. I don’t know—just take each day as it comes.”
Meghan explained that what made what the UK tabloids’ treatment of her unfair was their running false stories about her. “When people are saying things that are just untrue, and they’re being told they’re untrue but they’re allowed to still say them, I don’t know anybody in the world that would feel like that’s okay, and that’s different than just scrutiny,” Meghan said. “That’s—what would you call that? That’s a different beast. That’s really just a different beast.”
“I think the grass is always greener,” she continued. “You have no idea. It’s really hard to understand what it’s like, but I know what it seems like it should be. It’s a very different thing.” Entertainment Tonight noted at that point, Meghan was keeping herself from getting too emotional in the interview. “That’s okay,” she said. “The good thing is I’ve got my baby and I’ve got my husband, and they’re the best.”