Fans weren’t sure what to expect from the Sussexes’ highly-anticipated tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, but I had a strong feeling Harry’s late mother would be mentioned at some point. Unsurprisingly, Oprah’s conversation with the duke and duchess, which aired on March 7, did broach the subject. Prince Harry’s quotes about Princess Diana to Oprah are tough to swallow; they highlight how little has changed about the monarchy’s relationship with the press since the 1990s. (CW: This article discusses self harm and suicidal ideation.)
"What I was seeing was history repeating itself, but perhaps for more dangerous, because you add race in and you add social media in," Harry explained to Oprah, describing Buckingham Palace’s lack of support for Meghan. "And when I talk about history repeating itself, I’m talking about my mother."
Harry’s mother Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. The accident occured in a tunnel as her driver escaped paparazzi who were attempting to photograph her. Her death occurred shortly after her divorce from Prince Charles was finalized in 1996. During the final years of her life, she — like Meghan — was a perennial fixture in the British tabloids.
When Oprah asked Harry how he thinks his mother would feel about him stepping back from the royal family, he said, "I think she would feel very angry with how this has panned out and very sad, but ultimately, all she’d ever want is for us to be happy." Later, he added, "I think she saw this coming," and noted he’s grateful to have Meghan by his side during this experience. He pointed out that Diana was alone, divorced from Charles, at the time of her death.
During the interview with Oprah, Meghan revealed she experienced suicidal ideation while serving as a senior royal. "I knew if I didn’t say it, I would do it, but I just didn’t want to be alive anymore," she said. "That was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought … I share this because there are so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help, and I know how personally how hard it is to voice it and to voice it and be told no."
The Sussexes claimed that the Palace did not provide adequate support for Meghan’s mental health. As a result, they ultimately chose to step back from working as senior royals.
"I just wish that we would all learn from the past," Harry told Oprah, comparing Meghan’s prowess as a duchess to his mother’s. He implied both were beloved members of the British Commonwealth.
Meghan gave a subtle nod to Diana during the Oprah interview with her accessories. Though Meghan wore several pieces of jewelry during the interview, one of those pieces included a diamond tennis bracelet from Diana’s collection, which seems to be one of Meghan’s faves. She first wore the statement piece in October 2018 while attending a dinner with Harry during royal tour of Oceania, and the bracelet was also part of her ensemble for Commonwealth Day 2019. Harry also used the bracelet to make Meghan’s three-stone engagement ring in 2017.
Hopefully, Diana’s legacy will live on through Harry and Meghan’s growing family, and the world will continue to draw important lessons from Diana’s untimely death.
If you or someone you know is considering self-harm or 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.
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