Meghan Markle has been the image of modern royalty ever since she married Prince Harry in May 2017, but after two years of being constantly bullied and scrutinized by the public, the American-actress-turned-Duchess-of-Sussex is standing up for herself and speaking out.
In an interview for Tom Bradby's documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Meghan, 38, opened up about how different and challenging life as a member of the royal family has been.
“I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair and that's the part that's really hard to reconcile,” she said.
The new mom added that when her romance with Harry, 35, began, some of her pals warned her about how her world would change once she became a royal.
“It's hard. I don't think anybody can understand that. In all fairness, I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand, but when I first met Harry, my friends were so excited, my US friends were happy because I was happy,” Meghan said. “But my British friends, they were sure he was lovely, but they said I shouldn't do it because ‘the British tabloids will destroy your life.’ Because I'm American I very naively didn't get it. It's complicated.”
Meghan admitted that while she’s done her best to mold herself into the family and turn a blind eye to the negative media attention she’s received, it all has proven too difficult.
“I've said for a long time to H — that's what I call him — it is not enough to just survive something. That's not the point of life. You've got to thrive and feel happy,” she said. “I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried. But I think what that does internally is probably really damaging.”
Though she and Harry have taken the high road against bullying, Meghan said the are both greatly affected by the animosity.
“When people are saying things that are just untrue, and they are being told they are untrue but they are allowed to still say them, I don't know anybody in the world who would feel that's OK and that is different from just scrutiny,” she said. “I think the grass is always greener. You have no idea. It is really hard to understand what it's like. The good thing is that I have got my baby and I have got my husband and they are the best.”
Harry agreed, saying that he feels more of a responsibility to stand up for his family now that he’s seen what online bullying can do to someone.
“My mum taught me a certain set of values that I will always try to uphold, despite the role and the job that sometimes that entails. I will always protect my family and now I have a family to protect,” he said. “So everything that she went through, and what happened to her, is incredibly important every single day, and that is not me being paranoid, that is just me not wanting a repeat of the past.”
He added that part of his job includes “putting on a brave face and turning a cheek to a lot of the stuff,” but sometimes it becomes too heavy, and “hurts, especially when the majority of it is untrue.”
“But all we need to do is focus on being real, and focus on being the people that we are, and standing up for what we believe in. I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum,” Harry added.
RadarOnline.com readers know Meghan and Harry — now parents to baby Archie Harrison — are now suing the Mail on Sunday after the newspaper published Meghan’s letters to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. The two are also planning a six-week break from their royal duties for their mental health.
Harry & Meghan: An African Journey airs on Wednesday, October 23 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.