In her bombshell interview, Meghan Markle revealed her sense of isolation and suicidal thoughts while living in the UK. What will it take for people to believe that she struggled?
Warning: this post discusses mental health problems and may not be suitable for some readers.
Millions of us have seen the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. If you haven’t watched it, you’ve probably read about it online and on social media.
The simple fact is this, you can’t escape the story and the vitriol that has followed in its wake.
Before I get into my defence of the Duchess’s mental health, let me make a couple of things clear. I’m not #TeamSussex or #TeamQueen. I’m not taking any particular side in this drama. Mistakes have been made all round and nobody is perfect or innocent.
Obviously, the couple have willingly sat down to discuss the reasons for ‘stepping back’ from their roles as senior members of the British royal family and yes, they live lives of great privilege. That being said, we shouldn’t belittle their experience and undermine the effect that a life in the spotlight can have on someone’s mental health.
A royal life comes at the cost of freedom
Imagine this. You’re an independent woman in her 30s, with a lucrative career and earnings under your belt. You have a comfortable life filled with social events, friends, travel, fashion and food. You live life on your terms.
Then, you meet a man. You marry him and join a family with a history and structure that stretches back over 1000 years. Suddenly, you can’t just go out with friends, take a trip, or use your voice to speak up for causes you believe in. Especially if they are in any way political.
The independent life that you have enjoyed is gone, and you now live in a bubble. In fact, it’s a gilded cage.
Meghan has revealed that she had to hand over her passport, driving licence and keys when she joined the family. Can you imagine what that’s like? It’s going to be a shock to the system of anyone.
An acting career does not make you a liar
Yesterday’s interview has garnered a lot of negative press in the UK. Meghan has been branded as a liar, and her previous career as an actor has been used as a reason to never believe a word that she says.
Her interview has been described as ‘the role of a lifetime’, and framed as a coordinated and completely fabricated attack on the royal family.
Her previous employment should have nothing to do with her feelings and emotions. This is a weak excuse.
COVID-19 has revealed the effects of isolation
At the height of the maelstrom when Meghan was pregnant, advisors told her to lay low. At this point, she was barely leaving her house (Frogmore cottage, which itself was a target of attacks by the press).
We know that not being able to leave our homes has disastrous affects on mental health. We’ve all had to live this reality for the past 12 months.
And yet when it’s at the expense of the tax payer (but now fully paid back), there is no sympathy for a woman who had to go through her first pregnancy alone.
Now, I haven’t forgotten about her star studded baby shower in New York. This came across as bad taste, but was it thrown in an effort to make up for the isolation that she endured prior to that? We may never know.
Wealth and privilege doesn’t solve everything
Another frequent argument against the Sussexes is that they are multi millionaires, living in a mansion in California. Therefore, they should shut their mouths and never complain about anything.
In response to this, let’s remember an old saying. Money doesn’t buy you happiness.
Mental health problems can affect anyone. In fact, 2 in 3 people have experienced some sort of mental health problem in their life. The fact that the royal family has previously advocated for open conversations and mental heath care makes Meghan’s proclamation even more staggering.
Personally, I have the suspicion that the firm will only acknowledge mental health problems after the fact, when they have been privately dealt with. Harry himself has been open about attending counselling decades after his mother’s death, and Kate only revealed her sense of loneliness as a new mother when her first child was about 4 or 5.
My final thoughts
Unfortunately for Meghan and Harry, their positions in life as royalty/celebrity will always be used against them. The damage has been done as far as the media and public are concerned.
In my mind, there’s no doubt that they’ve both suffered from mental strain in their lives. Have we forgotten the 12 year old boy who walked behind his mum’s coffin in front of millions? Have we not seen the opposite headlines that Meghan has been subjected to, in opposition to the ‘perfect’ Kate?
We will never know the truth of what goes on behind closed royal doors. There are several sides to any story and in this instance, we have The Sussexes, the royal family, the media and the truth.
Ultimately, there are those (who I will refrain from naming as attention is what they want) who will continue to target this couple. They will continue to ignore the sad lessens learned from the tragic deaths of Caroline Flack and Diana, Princess of Wales, whose lives were lost thanks to media intrusion and harassment.
It’s a sad situation, as I think Meghan and Harry showed promise in the early days of their life together. She had good, and frankly original ideas (her charity cookbook, capsule wardrobe collection and Vogue editorial are all great examples) and he was a champion for veterans. Now that they’ve spoken up and said their piece, I think they need to move forward and bring about the change that they say they want to make.
I hope they find peace and happiness with their growing family.
I found the interview a very difficult watch for so many reasons. I honestly don’t know what to believe BUT that said it is clear that she has been treated terribly by the press and they should be made accountable for that.
Pointing the blame at the royal family and the aids etc while overlooking the terrible way the press treat them all is very damaging (not you, just generally). They again get away with it. To look from another angle, she was being protected by being told to stay in. But they needed to do more than that without a doubt, but this is an establishment that has been around for a very long time and knows how to ‘play the game’.
Harry has done the right thing by taking his family away from this situation but they now need to decide if they want a private life or a celebrity life. I think that is why people struggle to ‘like them’ I do think regardless of their status, Harry as her husband should have taken matters in to his own hands. I don’t buy it that he wasn’t allowed that. Even getting her virtual support would have been hugely beneficial. Let the establishment clear up the mess afterwards, he has to protect his wife.
The press will always continue to behave in the most disgusting manner, I just can’t get my head around the way the public are so lead by the press and accept that they can behave in this way.
Highlighting the MH need here though is hugely important, regardless of who Meghan is, she deserves the support, we need to stand behind anyone who is struggling and build them up not knock them down.
Brilliant post, sorry I rambled, hope it makes a little bit of sense… I think it just shows how confused I am by the whole thing!
I completely agree, the media need to be held accountable and the fact that many editors swear blind that race had nothing to do with it (despite articles about Meghan’s ‘exotic’ blood and being ‘almost straight outta Compton’ is mind boggling.
Personally, I’ve blocked the Daily Mail on my phone and internet browsers as I was sickened to see how many articles they’ve recently published and the comments that people leave behind.
No worries about rambling, I worried that this post itself might come across as a bit of a ramble. Thanks for stopping by!
Such an important post! The media need to be held accountable for the absolute HELL they have put this woman and her family through.
Harry did what ANY good husband and father would do, and removed his family from a very toxic environment. He should be praised, not ridiculed! xx
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yep! Sadly, they can’t/won’t hold a mirror up to themselves and will always use the excuse of ‘public interest’ to push a harmful narrative. I think the best thing we can do is to not click, comment or share these sorts of publications.
This is such an important post! ❤
It’s horrible how she’s been treated by UK media. You’re so right when you say having money doesn’t mean they should be happy. I think everyone would have poor mental health if they were subjected to the type of harassment Meghan has been!