Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s openness about their personal and professional lives has dominated headlines in recent months, and their words have been met with an immense amount of pushback from those once nearest and dearest to the duchess.
The 39-year old former “Suits” star and Prince Harry stunned viewers around the world who tuned into their two-hour televised sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. The couple’s descriptions of painful palace discussions about the color of their son’s skin, losing royal protection and the intense pressures that led the Duchess of Sussex to contemplate suicide stood out as some of the biggest revelations the pair made about their lives as senior working members of the royal family.
Still, the couple has persevered and settled down in Santa Barbara, Calif., away from the spotlight, with their son, Archie, and almost 2-month-old daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana.
As Meghan and Harry were met with backlash for their revelation of royal family tension with Winfrey, a number of the duchess’s estranged relatives have spoken out. Here’s a look back at what Meghan’s family members have said about the couple’s milestones in recent months.
The interview with Winfrey was the couple’s first since they stepped down from royal duties, and the two-hour special included numerous revelations likely to reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic.
When Winfrey asked Meghan if the media frenzy had any impact on her mental health, Meghan replied that she experienced suicidal thoughts and that she tried to seek help through the palace’s human resources department, but was allegedly told by a “senior” member of the institution that her receiving mental health care would reflect poorly on the family.
“I was really ashamed to say it at the time and a shame to have to admit it to Harry, especially because I know how much loss he suffered,” she said. “But I knew that if I didn’t say it that I would do it. And I just didn’t, I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
“Had I known she was having psychological problems, I would have been there for her,” he said. “Biggest problem here is she’s pretty much ghosted all of her family on her mother’s side and my side.”
“It would have been easy for her to reach out to me and any of the rest of her family — who she claims she doesn’t know,” Thomas Markle said. “But the other thing is that I would think that she could turn to her husband.”
Speaking to Inside Edition, Meghan’s half-sister outright denied some of her claims that it’s been almost two decades since they last saw one another.
“I don’t know how she can say I don’t know her and she was an only child. We’ve got photographs over a lifespan of us together, so how can she not know me?” she said.
Samantha Markle showed photos of the two of them together at various stages of their respective upbringing, including one from Samantha’s college graduation in 2008.
Samantha Markle later said on the “Newstalk ZB Radio Show” that she believes the couple could benefit from counseling.
“I would suggest for the benefit of all them, especially the children, that they get counseling. Harry is in no position to work for a company that deals with misinformation or mental health issues until he himself is made whole, and until they get a grip on what the truth is,” she said.
Birth of daughter Lili
Meghan and Harry welcomed their first daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, in early June. The name pays tribute to Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, whose family nickname is Lilibet, and his late mother, Princess Diana.
Shortly after, Thomas Markle reacted with glee.
“I am very pleased with the announcement of the safe and healthy delivery of my new granddaughter, and I wish her and her mother all my love and best wishes,” said the 76-year-old in a statement obtained by U.K.’s DailyMail.
According to the outlet, the patriarch lives 70 miles away from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
In June, a relative of Markle’s who wished to remain anonymous, balked at the idea of a potential play date amongst kids in the family upon the arrival of the Sussexes’ second child.
“Yeah, right after I set up a play date with Oprah Winfrey‘s family, too?” the family source joked. “We’re clearly in different social classes and we won’t ever talk again.”
Then in July, the duchess’s father claimed he was willing to take the Sussexes to court in order to meet his grandchildren.
“We shouldn’t be punishing [Lili] for Meghan and Harry’s bad behavior,” Thomas Markle said in a video exclusively obtained by Fox News. “Archie and Lili are small children. They’re not politics. They’re not pawns. They’re not part of the game. And they’re also royal and entitled to the same rights as any other royal.”
“… I will be petitioning the California courts for the rights to see my grandchildren in the very near future,” he added.
Meghan marked an achievement in her career earlier this year when she topped the New York Times Bestsellers List after her first children’s book, “The Bench,” was released on June 8. Harry shocked many months later when he confirmed that he will be publishing a memoir in 2022.
Meghan and Harry also made strides through Archewell Productions, having teamed up with streamers like Netflix and Apple TV+. The couple’s other passion projects include a Spotify podcast named Archewell Audio. They released their first episode shortly before New Year’s Day.
A Markle family source who wished to remain anonymous told Fox News in July that the couple likely concocted a “bigger plan” to return to Meghan’s native state of California early on in their relationship.
“Meghan should have known what it was like marrying into the royal family. I don’t know if this was all part of the bigger plan of things they talked about between them, but for Meghan to cause all the big waves in the royal family just to go back to a Hollywood career and break hundreds of years of traditions is unprecedented,” said the family insider.
The source said Meghan and Harry’s achievements in the entertainment industry contradict their previous statements about wanting privacy.
“To want privacy and to demand this and say how deep of a depression Meghan fell in because of all of this and how she wanted to end her life, it sure doesn’t seem like it now,” the source claimed.
“How do you break all these royal traditions, claim that you want privacy, you want to go back to a normal life and then just do the same s–t that you were doing before? It’s just all for show. It’s unfortunate for the people she left in her wake – her own family,” the source added.