Meghan Markle opened up about royal life's impact on her mental health. On March 7, the Duchess of Sussex sat down with Oprah Winfrey to tell her side of the story for the first time since she and Prince Harry stepped back from their senior royal duties in early 2021. It's clear that her experiences with the palace caused her deep pain, as evidenced by Meghan Markle's quote about suicidal ideation as a royal. (CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses self-harm and suicidal ideation.)
After Meghan and Harry were married in 2018, she became the target of intense British press scrutiny and racist online bullying. Meghan told Oprah that in the midst of this, she began to have "real and frightening" thoughts. When Oprah asked if she dealt with suicidal ideation during that time, Meghan said yes, adding that she "didn't want to be alive anymore" at one point.
"There was [a breaking point]," she said. "I just didn't see a solution. I would sit up at night, and I was just like, 'I don't understand how all of this is being churned out' — and again I wasn't seeing it — but it's almost worse when you feel it through the expression of my mom or my friends or them calling me crying like, 'Meg, they're not protecting you.' And I realized it was all happening just because I was breathing."
Meghan said she eventually asked senior royals if she could go somewhere to seek mental health treatment, but was told she couldn't. "It was very scary, and I didn't know who to turn to," Meghan said, adding she confided in Harry and eventually turned to the late Princess Diana's best friends, "because who else could understand what it's actually like on the inside?"
Thankfully, Meghan's mental health is in a much better place now, and she noted that she wanted to be honest about her experiences in hopes of reaching anyone who may be in a similar place. "I share this because there's so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help," she explained. "And I know personally how hard it is to — not just hard it is but when your voice is silenced, to be told no. This was emails, begging for help, saying very specifically, 'I am concerned for my mental welfare.' Nothing was ever done. So we had to find a solution."
On Wednesday, March 3, Meghan's communications team called out royal aides for perpetrating a "calculated smear campaign" in the days leading up to the couple's Oprah interview. That same day, The Times of London published rumors that Meghan bullied royal staffers during her time in the UK. Meghan's spokesperson noted that the timing of these accusations were suspiciously well-aligned with the timing of the new interview, but the Duchess herself was prepared to speak out nonetheless.
“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Meghan said during the interview. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, There’s a lot that’s been lost already.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.