Prince Harry candidly addressed Meghan Markle‘s depression — and revealed why he blamed himself in the aftermath.
During the second part of the couple’s Netflix docuseries, which started streaming on Thursday, December 15, Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, detailed how the public scrutiny in the U.K. took a toll on her.
“I was devastated. I knew that she was struggling. We were both struggling. But I never thought that it would get to that stage,” the Duke of Sussex admitted. “And the fact that it got to that stage, I felt angry and ashamed.”
Harry said he regretted the way he initially reacted to his wife’s revelation. “I didn’t deal with it particularly well. I dealt with it as institutional Harry, as opposed to husband Harry,” he continued. “I had been trained to worry more about, ‘What are people gonna think if we don’t go to this event? We’re gonna be late.’ I hate myself for it. What she needed from me was so much more than I was able to give.”
Meghan, for her part, broke down the thought process that she was going through at the time, adding, “I was like, ‘All of this will stop if I’m not here.’ And that was the scariest thing about it. It was such clear thinking.”
The Duchess of Sussex “wanted to go somewhere to get help” but claimed she “wasn’t allowed” to seek treatment for her mental health, per the palace. According to her husband, the royal family didn’t want Meghan’s personal issues to be a public topic of discussion.
“They thought, ‘Why couldn’t she deal with it?’ As if to say, ‘Well, you know, everybody else has dealt with it, why can’t she deal with it?’ But this was different. It was really different,” he explained. “But actually, if you strip all that away and say, ‘OK fine, it was exactly the same,’ so do we still believe that she should have just sucked it up like other members of the family? Or does one think that maybe it’s about time that we stopped?’”
During the fourth episode of Harry & Meghan, the U.K. native recalled his family allegedly waving away his concerns about Meghan and the media.
“I have 30 years’ experience of looking behind the curtain and seeing how this system works and how it runs,” he detailed. “I mean, just constant briefings about other members of the family, about favors, inviting the press in. It’s a dirty game. You know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories.”
After stepping down from their working roles with the royal family in 2020, the pair and the Firm decided to make the decision permanent one year later. At the time, Meghan broke her silence about her suicidal ideation in a CBS tell-all interview.
Earlier this month, the Suits alum discussed why she chose to publicly discuss her mental health struggles. “It wasn’t an easy decision to make, as you can imagine,” she said during a speech at the 2022 Ripple of Hope Awards in New York City on December 6. “I don’t want anyone to feel alone.”
Meghan continued: “We all need to — when we can, if we feel brave enough — to just speak honestly about your own experience. It gives other people space and the courage to do the same, but more than that to really feel like you’re not alone, because I think that is often what can be the largest hindrance when you feel that way — you don’t see a way out.”
Harry, who shares 3-year-old son Archie and 18-month-old daughter Lili with Meghan, was also at the event to receive a trophy from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization. The BetterUp CIO praised the California native for her honesty in his own speech.
“Ultimately, we live in this world now where sharing experiences and sharing stories has an enormous impact,” he said. “But you’ve got to lead from the front. Society as we know is not made up to encourage vulnerability. We collectively can heal together if we share our stories.”
The palace has not yet publicly addressed Harry and Meghan’s claims featured in Harry & Meghan.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.