Giving some context. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared the reason that they didn’t follow royal family tradition by taking a photo on the hospital steps after the birth of their son, Archie.
“There was already the pressure of the picture with Archie on the steps, and ‘Are they gonna do that, are they not?’ … But I had been really worried going into that labor because I’m older and I didn’t know if I’d have to have a C-section. And I had a very long-standing relationship with my doctor and that’s who I trusted with my pregnancy,” Meghan, 41, said in episode 4 of the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan, which aired along with the rest of volume 2 on Thursday, December 15.
“And [the palace] said, ‘Right, but she’s at Portland Hospital and the steps are at this hospital.’ I said, ‘OK, we could do a photo call in front of Portland Hospital.’ And they said, ‘It’s impossible. We couldn’t barricade these streets off, and it would create a threat for the emergency room entrance, because that’s where you would have to do this picture,’” the Suits alum recalled. “We said, ‘OK, what’s the hybrid? Can we give them more time at the castle?’ And everything in turn was like, ‘Yes. Yes, great. Oh, yes.’ At no point did someone go, ‘Absolutely not.’”
The Duchess of Sussex and Harry, 38, thought the palace was on board with their plan for Archie’s introduction to the world after his birth in May 2019. However, they still received criticism for not going the traditional route.
“The amount of abuse that we got, especially [Meghan], but both of us, for not wanting to serve our child up on a silver platter, was incredible,” said Harry.
The couple — who relocated to the United States in March 2020 after stepping down from their roles as senior royals — opened up about another moment that garnered backlash from the firm.
In the October 2019 ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Meghan told a journalist that “not many people have asked if I’m OK” as she navigated royal life after welcoming her first child — and the seemingly innocuous comment went viral.
“This was a royal documentary that the palace was green lighting. I guess I just assumed this was just gonna be a glossy version of a happy tour. … I didn’t know what he was gonna ask me. I hadn’t touched up my makeup. … I was just fried,” Meghan said. “And I guess because I was so exhausted, I was just really grateful that someone seemed to ask me something like I was a human being. I just never thought they’d even use it in the documentary.”
Harry, for his part, called the response to his wife’s statement “bonkers.”
The England native continued: “Every single front page in the U.K. was very different to what the general public’s reaction was. When you would expect support from the people closest, we got the opposite.”
Meghan called the incident “a huge turning point” in how she and Harry viewed their position in the royal family. “It’s when we started having harder conversations about what needs to happen for us to be able to continue to make this work,” she said.