After the trial separation, here comes the messy divorce. And a vital question: Who gets custody of the narrative?
It has been less than a month since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finalized their split from the British Royal Family, renouncing their patronages and honorary appointments as well as their income. The fallout between the couple and Buckingham Palace has been painful and public. “There is a lot that has been lost already,” Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in a two-hour interview broadcast last night on CBS—her relationship with her father, the baby she miscarried last year, even her surname. Halfway through, she compared herself to the Little Mermaid, who falls in love with a prince and loses her voice.
But who is to blame? Meghan’s version goes like this: The Queen was lovely, but the wider institution of the monarchy—known colloquially as “The Firm” or “The Palace”—failed to help her as she was ripped apart by the British press. Worse, she sometimes felt that courtiers were actively working against her. An incident in which Meghan was accused of making her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, cry over a bridesmaid’s dress was, she said, reported in the press the wrong way around. Kate made her cry, but then apologized, and all was forgiven. But the Palace wouldn’t go on the record with a correction. “They were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” Meghan said, “but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.” The Palace refused to give her son, Archie, a title and a security detail—and there were some “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be.” The mix of racism, isolation, and intrusion she endured drove Meghan to suicidal thoughts.