Prince Harry Is “Ashamed” of How He Responded to Meghan Markle’s Depression
Warning: This article deals with the topic of mental health and may be distressing for some readers.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are getting vulnerable once more in their new Netflix docuseries, “Harry & Meghan.” In a recent episode, the couple opened up about the scary reality of global media’s insidious impact, particularly how it impacted Markle. Many have drawn comparisons between her experience and that of Princess Diana – from being under constant spotlight and scrutiny to struggling with mental health because of it.
When Prince Harry thinks back on how he supported Markle during her growing depression, he admits that he didn’t handle it “particularly well” and felt “angry and ashamed.” Falling back on his upbringing, he said, “I dealt with it as ‘institutional Harry’ as opposed to ‘husband Harry.’ And what took over my feelings was my royal role.” He added, “I’d been trained to worry more about what are people gonna think if we don’t go to this event, we’re gonna be late. Looking back on it now, I hate myself for it. What she needed from me was so much more than I was able to give.”
In episode four of the series, Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, remembers a solemn moment between her and her daughter. “I remember her telling me that, that she had wanted to take her own life. That really broke my heart,” she said. “I knew that it was bad, to just constantly be picked at by these vultures, just picking away at her spirit that she would actually think of not wanting to be here.”
Of course, while that’s not easy for any mom to hear, Prince Harry took it particularly hard. “I was devastated,” he said. “I knew that she was struggling. We were both struggling, but I never thought that it would get to that stage.”
Markle admitted to thoughts of self-harm in the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. “I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn’t say it – then I would do it,” she said about her suicidal thoughts. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
According to Markle, the palace didn’t respond when she asked for help, instead focusing on “how it would look for the institution.” The Duke of Sussex confirmed that they royal family knew how bad it was. “They thought, ‘Why couldn’t she just deal with it,’ as if to say, ‘Well, you know, everybody else has dealt with it. Why can’t she deal with it?’ But this was different. It was really different,” he said.
Prince Harry went on to further express his frustration. “But actually if you strip all that away and say, ‘OK fine, it was exactly the same.’ So do we still believe that she should have just sucked it up like other members of the family? Or does one think that maybe it’s about time that we stop?”
If this article brings up any issues for you or anyone you know, or you think you may be experiencing depression or need support with your mental health, please contact your GP or in Australia, contact Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), all of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7.