Duchess Meghan revealed in a new documentary that her friends warned her about dating Prince Harry, admitting she was naïve about the British press and the intense scrutiny she would be under.
The former Suits star, 38, opened up about her struggles as a new royal and new mom in a candid interview with ITV News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby for the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which aired in the U.K. on Sunday, October 20.
“It’s hard,” she conceded. “I don’t think anybody could understand that.”
The British prince, 35, issued a statement earlier this month slamming the tabloids for “bullying” his wife of 18 months as she filed a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle.
“In all fairness, I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand and hear,” Meghan said of when she began dating Harry in 2016. “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 — I’m American. We don’t have that there — [I said,] ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m not in any tabloids,” she told her friends. “I didn’t get it. So it’s been, yeah, it’s been complicated.”
Meghan, Harry and their 5-month-old son, Archie, were shadowed by a film crew from ITV during their royal tour of Africa at the end of September. Host Bradby admitted in an essay for the Sunday Times that the pair are “struggling to adapt to life in the spotlight.”
The duchess — who got emotional and appeared close to tears at one point in the documentary — has been accused of not getting along with her sister-in-law, Duchess Kate, was criticized for keeping their newborn son out of the spotlight, and the pair were slammed for taking a private jet to Elton John’s home in the south of France. The Grammy winner, who was a close friend of Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, defended the pair and said that he’d paid for the carbon offsets to make up for what critics claimed was an unnecessary extravagance in light of the couple’s outspokenness about environmental issues.
“The biggest thing that I know is that I never thought that this would be easy but I thought it would be fair,” she said of her treatment by the press. “And that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile but, I don’t know, just take each day as it comes.”
She acknowledged that she lives a life of privilege and that being in the public eye is part of that, but the untrue stories being printed about her are not OK.
“If things are fair, that completely tracks for me if things are fair,” Meghan said. “If I do something wrong I’d be the first one to go, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. I would never do that,’ but 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 who would feel that that’s OK. And that’s different than just scrutiny. That’s, what would you call that? That’s a different beast. It’s really a different beast.”
“And I think the grass is always greener,” she continued. “You have no idea. It’s really hard to understand what it’s like. I know what it seems like it should be. It’s a very different thing. That’s okay. The good thing is I’ve got my baby and I’ve got my husband and they’re the best.”
Harry & Meghan: An African Journey will air on ABC on Wednesday, October 23, at 10 p.m. ET.
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