Royal ‘revelations’ put to the test

Meghan and Harry unleashed bombshell after bombshell in their Oprah interview that was sure to send shockwaves pulsing through the heart of the monarchy.

They made jaw-dropping claims of brazen racism and delved into difficult conversations of family rifts. 

Although much of the interview was an outpouring of emotion, many of the claims can be stood up – or knocked down – with facts.

Here, MailOnline drills down into some of the central claims of the interview. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have insisted their interview with Oprah Winfrey would be the 'last word' on them quitting as senior royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have insisted their interview with Oprah Winfrey would be the 'last word' on them quitting as senior royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have insisted their interview with Oprah Winfrey would be the ‘last word’ on them quitting as senior royals 

Meghan never researched the Royal Family prior to joining

Meghan said: ‘I didn’t do any research about what that would mean,’ she said. ‘I never looked up my husband online.’

Fact check: Unlikely

Meghan’s claim that she never researched Harry, nor the Royal Family, before entering into the relationship is at odds with claims made in the couple’s biography.

Although the Sussexes maintain they did not contribute to Finding Freedom, it was written by friendly journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, who say the book was impeccably well-sourced by those closest to the couple.

Prior to their first date at Dean Street Townhouse in 2016, the authors write: ‘Naturally both participants in this blind date did their homework with a thorough Google search. Harry, who scoped out Meghan on social media, was interested.’

A friend is also claimed to have impressed on Meghan the attention she would command for dating Harry, saying: ‘This could be crazy…you will be the most wanted woman’.

The duchess said she ‘didn’t do any research’ into the monarchy, ‘didn’t fully understand what the job was’, and did not grow up ‘knowing much about the Royal Family’. 

Friends of the duchess have painted a different picture, revealing that she was fascinated by the royals in her youth. Ninaki Priddy, who was Meghan’s maid of honour at her first wedding to Trevor Engelson, said her friend was ‘always fascinated by the Royal Family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0’.

She added: ‘She had one of Princess Diana’s books [Diana: Her True Story] on her bookshelf, and even when she was with Trevor she told me she wanted to go and stay in London for at least a month. I know she used to love The Princess Diaries films.’

The mother of Suzy Ardakani, one of the duchess’s high school friends, has described how she taped Diana’s wedding and would watch it with her daughter and Meghan years later.

Meghan Markle is seen heading to a hotel to meet up with some friends in Toronto, Canada, in November 2016

Meghan Markle is seen heading to a hotel to meet up with some friends in Toronto, Canada, in November 2016

Meghan Markle is seen heading to a hotel to meet up with some friends in Toronto, Canada, in November 2016

Harry and Meghan were actually secretly wed three days before the Windsor ceremony by the Archbishop of Canterbury 

Meghan said: ‘You know, three days before our wedding, we got married. No one knows that… We called the Archbishop and we just said, ‘Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world but we want our union between us.’ 

Fact check: Unlikely

Church of England marriages require at least two witnesses and the public must also have unrestricted access to the building during any marriage ceremony to allow for valid objections against the marriage. 

At the time the couple were living in the grounds of Kensington Palace, and their residence is off limits to the public.

A couple who are already lawfully married cannot choose to re-marry each other, unless there is some doubt as to the validity of the earlier marriage.

Reverend David Green, Vicar of St Mary’s, West Malling and the Rector of St Michael’s, Offham, said it was impossible to have had two weddings, adding: ‘I think the Archbishop needs to clarify what did or did not happen three days before.’ 

This means that one of the two ceremonies was more likely just an exchange of vows rather than a legally recognised wedding. 

‘I was silenced’

Meghan said she was ‘silenced’ by the institution. ‘Everyone in my world was given very clear directive, from the moment the world knew Harry and I were dating, to say ‘No comment’.

Fact check: Contested 

On the day they announced their engagement, Meghan and Harry gave a lengthy interview to the BBC’s Mishal Husain, although the duchess reportedly complained afterwards that the journalist had not been ‘warm enough’. 

On their tour of South Africa, they granted interviews to ITN’s Tom Bradby, when Meghan memorably told him: ‘Not many people have asked if I’m OK.’ 

Royal insiders have stressed that it was very much the case that Harry and Meghan themselves ‘called the shots’ when it came to publicity, deciding which charities to support, which engagements to go on, and which media to grant interviews to.

Secret: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have revealed that they were married in secret three days before their royal wedding on May 19, 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shared candid footage of Archie playing on a beach during their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shared candid footage of Archie playing on a beach during their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shared candid footage of Archie playing on a beach during their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey 

Archie has a birthright to be a prince

Meghan said: ‘Idea of the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be… It’s not their right to take it away’ 

Fact check: False

Archie did not have a birthright to be a prince, but could potentially become one when Charles accedes to the throne. 

That William and Kate’s children have the HRH title and are styled as prince and princesses – and Archie is not – stems from a ruling more than 100 years ago.

In 1917, King George V issued a written order that only royal offspring who are in the direct line of succession could be made a prince and receive HRH titles.

The Letters Patent read: ‘…the grandchildren of the sons of any such sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of dukes of these our realms.’

Under the rules, only Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s eldest son Prince George – as a great-grandson of the monarch down the direct line of succession to the throne – was originally entitled to be a prince.

The Queen stepped in ahead of George’s birth in 2013 to issue a Letters Patent to ensure all George’s siblings – as the children of future monarch William – would have fitting titles, meaning they were extended to Charles and Louis.

Under the George V rules, Archie would be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when his grandfather Charles, the Prince of Wales, accedes to the throne.  

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex introduce their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photocall in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle in May 2019

Archie wouldn’t get 24/7 security because he wasn’t a prince

Meghan said: ‘In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we (had) the conversation of he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title.’

Fact check: False

Being a prince or princess does not automatically mean royals have police protection.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie’s security is no longer paid for by the taxpayer.

Harry and Meghan no longer receive British police protection, and are understood to be paying for private security. 

Help for mental anguish   

Meghan says she begged in vain for the Palace to help her mental state 

Feeling that she ‘just didn’t want to be alive any more’ in January 2019, Meghan said she ‘went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help’, but was refused because it ‘wouldn’t be good for the institution’. 

The duchess claimed: ‘I went to human resources, and I said, ‘I just really – I need help’,’ but HR could not do anything because she was not a paid member of staff. She longed to check herself into a hospital or similar clinic but ‘you can’t just do that… I couldn’t, you know, call an Uber to the Palace’.

Fact check: Difficult to verify    

Meghan was not asked by Miss Winfrey why she went to HR rather than simply ask her GP to make a referral or seek advice from a mental health clinician herself, in the same way she might have done for any other ailment.

One insider pointed out that HR exists for Palace employees while the royals themselves have a private office to help arrange everything from booking a holiday to fixing a medical appointment. 

Harry, meanwhile, said he was ashamed of admitting to his family that Meghan needed help, and so he did not talk to them. 

The duke, who is passionate about the mental health campaign he launched, called Heads Together, and has himself sought therapy in the past, said that with his wife he ‘had no idea what to do’.

The Duchess of Cambridge with Princess Charlotte and other bridesmaids arriving at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan in May 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge with Princess Charlotte and other bridesmaids arriving at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan in May 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge with Princess Charlotte and other bridesmaids arriving at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan in May 2018 

Kate made Meghan cry before her wedding to Harry  

Responding to claims that she reduced Kate to tears, Meghan said: ‘No, no. The reverse happened’.

Fact check: Contested  

Reports of a pre-wedding clash between the duchesses first emerged in November 2018, when sources claimed Meghan had been left displeased with a ‘stressful’ dress fitting for the flower girls. 

Accounts differed as to the source of the row. Some said it was a disagreement on whether the bridesmaids should wear tights – Meghan reportedly believed they should not.

Other reports said it stemmed from Princess Charlotte’s dress not fitting, meaning another had to be scheduled.

A source said at the time: ‘Kate had only just given birth to her third child, Prince Louis, and was feeling quite ­emotional.’ 

But during the Oprah interview Meghan flatly denied the reports and claimed it was Kate that left her upset.  

Couple witnessed racism inside the monarchy 

Meghan said: [There were] concerns and conversations about how dark his [Archie’s] skin might be when he’s born’ 

Fact check: Almost impossible to verify 

Harry and Meghan said they will never reveal the person who made these comments.

However Oprah revealed that Harry confirmed it was not the Queen nor Prince Philip. 

While currently not commenting on the contents interview, Buckingham Palace are almost certain to push back on suggestions of institutional racism.

They could launch an investigation – as they have done with claims of bullying. 

Harry was financially cut off from the royals 

Harry said: ‘My family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford security for us’

Fact check: They wanted to be financially independent

 When Harry and Meghan announced their intention to step back from being senior royals, they said they wanted to be ‘financially independent’.

Before cutting ties, 95 per cent of their money came from Prince Charles’s income from the Duchy of Cornwall, and 5 per cent from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant.

Princes William and Harry received most of a £13million fortune left by their mother Princess Diana. Harry is also thought to have had millions left to him by the Queen mother.  

Meghan has not seen Samantha Markle in almost 20 years

Meghan said: ‘The last time I saw her must have been at least 18, 19 years.’ 

Fact check: False

During the interview Meghan distanced herself from her half-sister Samantha, who she said she hardly knows and she grew up ‘an only child’.

A photograph from 2008 – 13 years ago – shows Meghan with Samantha at her graduation. 

Samantha last night slammed the royal’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, saying ‘the truth was totally ignored and omitted’ while providing photos and documents to disprove each of the Duchess of Sussex’s claims about her.

The pregnant Duchess of Sussex told Oprah, 67, that Samantha ‘doesn’t know’ her, claiming she was raised as ‘an only child’ – but her half-sister has now insisted that couldn’t be further from the truth.  

‘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 told Inside Edition, while sharing images of the two women together at different stages throughout their lives – most recently in 2008, just 13 years ago.

The Duchess also claimed that Samantha only changed her surname back to Markle after Meghan struck up a romance with Harry – but Samantha insisted that this claim was wholly inaccurate, and shared further evidence to refute it. 

‘Lost’ father who staged photos  

Meghan said the Press ‘created’ news about Meghan’s father ‘to create drama’

Fact check: False 

Meghan Markle’s estranged father Thomas today denied his daughter’s claims he had ‘betrayed’ her before branding his son-in-law ‘snotty’ and declaring: ‘We all make mistakes – but I’ve never played naked pool or dressed like Hitler like Harry did’.

Mr Markle says that he’s apologised ‘100 times’ for doing a deal with a paparazzi photographer before the royal wedding in 2018 and urged the couple to see him now they only live ’70 miles away’ from his Mexico home in Los Angeles.

He also denied the Royal Family – or Britain – is racist, calling Meghan and Harry’s claims ‘bulls**t’ and saying if it is true a royal asked about how ‘dark’ Archie’s skin would be, it was probably just a ‘dumb question’.

Mr Markle spoke to Good Morning Britain in the UK after watching the Oprah interview with his daughter and her husband.

In it Meghan said she cannot fathom hurting her son Archie in the way her own father ‘betrayed’ her, admitting she ‘found it hard to reconcile’ with Thomas after he insisted that he had not been speaking to the media. She said: ‘I look at Archie, I think about this child, and I genuinely can’t imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child’.

Mr Markle said that while he did let her down, she had ‘let me down too’ by cutting him off after heart surgery almost three years ago. He said: ‘The bottom line is she didn’t lose me, she made a statement saying she lost me, she didn’t lose me, I would’ve always been there for her, I’m there for her now if she wants me’. He added: ‘We all make mistakes – but I’ve never played naked pool or dressed like Hitler like Harry did’.

Mr Markle was referencing Harry’s trip to Las Vegas where he stripped off in a hotel to play pool and once wearing a Nazi uniform to a party when he was 20.

Describing his last phone call with Harry he said: ‘Harry had said to me if you had listened to me, this wouldn’t have happened to you. Me, laying in a hospital bed after a having procedure, I had a stint put here and put here and that was kind of snotty so I hung up on him.’

But Mr Markle also used the rare interview to urge his daughter to reach out to him. He said: ‘I’d like to say again. I’m sorry for what I’ve done. This was two years ago. But I’ve tried to make it up to her. I’m now only 70 miles away. I’ve never stopped loving her. I don’t agree with all the things that my children they do. But I will always love them. And I certainly love Meghan’.

A photograph from 2008 - 13 years ago - shows Meghan with her half-sister Samantha Markle at her graduation

A photograph from 2008 - 13 years ago - shows Meghan with her half-sister Samantha Markle at her graduation

A photograph from 2008 – 13 years ago – shows Meghan with her half-sister Samantha Markle at her graduation

Meghan had to turn over her passport, keys and driving licence to royal aides

Meghan said: ‘When I joined that family, that was the last time I saw my passport, my driving licence, my keys – all of that gets turned over.’

Fact check: Difficult to verify   

Senior royals are often pictured driving themselves and it is believed there have never been prior claims of a royal having keys and passports held. 

Harry and Meghan received police protection, meaning their travel was meticulously planned by officers. 

Meghan’s press team didn’t defend her when ‘things weren’t true’

Oprah asked Meghan about stories that she made Kate cry, saying: ‘So, all the time the stories were out that you had made Kate cry, you knew all along, and people around you knew that that wasn’t true.’ Meghan replied: ‘Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true.’ And Oprah then said: ‘So, why didn’t somebody just say that?’ Meghan said: ‘That’s a good question.’

Fact check: Contested

Making a wider point, Mail on Sunday royal correspondent Emily Andrews has said that Meghan’s press team did in fact defend untrue stories, saying this was ‘just not right’.

Ms Andrews said that she interacted with a press team who defended the Sussexes ‘again and again and again, told me things were wrong – so didn’t publish – and indeed tried to stop me when true.’

Palace lied to protect other members of the Royal Family

Meghan said: ‘I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.’

Fact check: Contested 

There was clearly frustration felt by the couple, with some justification, towards the Palace PR machine, which was sometimes reluctant to ‘fight every little fire’, as one source put it. 

But the Palace did robustly stand ground on many other stories that the couple insisted were not true, resulting in the media not running them. 

The Palace pursued at least one national newspaper all the way to press regulator IPSO over a story about their Frogmore home, and won a decisive victory for Harry and Meghan.

The duchess complained that she was ‘not protected’, but Palace sources have hit back at the idea the duchess was left to fend for herself, suggesting it was her own aides who needed protection from her bullying ways – something she strenuously denies.

Meghan was banned from going out for lunch with her friends 

Meghan: ‘I remember so often people within The Firm would say, ‘Well, you can’t do this because it’ll look like that. You can’t’… so, even, ‘Can I go and have lunch with my friends?’ ‘No, no, no. You’re oversaturated. You’re everywhere. It would be best for you to not go out to lunch with your friends.’ I go, ‘Well, I haven’t left the house in months.’

Fact check: Contested   

Meghan appears to be talking about a four-year period, and it is likely the situation varied. 

She was spotted enjoying outings on numerous occasions, including a pub lunch with Harry, going for facials near their Kensington Palace home and shopping trips. 

Every British newspaper declined to buy photographs of these trips. No member of staff would dare tell Meghan where she could go. 

Newspaper held story about Thomas Markle until Sunday before Meghan’s wedding

Meghan: ‘If we were going to use the word betrayal, it’s because when I asked him, when we were told by the comms team, this is a story that was going to be coming out, which, by the way, the tabloids had apparently known for a month or so and decided to hold until the Sunday before our wedding because they wanted to create drama, which is also a really key point in all this.’

Fact check: False

Meghan claimed ‘the tabloids had apparently known for a month’ that Thomas Markle had staged paparazzi photos before the wedding but ‘decided to hold till the Sunday before our wedding… to create drama,’ adding: ‘They did not report the news, they created the news.’ She suggested she had ‘lost’ her father forever as a result. 

In truth, far from sitting on the paparazzi story, the Mail on Sunday, which broke it, published within 24 hours of getting the proof.

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