Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey produced a number of shocking, mic-drop moments – but how many are accurate?
Between the stolen passports, and racism in the palace, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex came out, guns blazing, against the monarchy they believe have done them dirty.
And while some statements seem legitimate, other claims, including Markle’s claim she never researched the royal family, seem unlikely.
Archie was refused a royal title
Markle implied that baby Archie was entitled to a royal title but was refused one on the basis of his skin colour.
“The 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,” the 39-year-old told Winfrey.
“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or a princess – not knowing what the gender would be – which would be different from protocol.”
But this claim is a little more complicated than it seems.
Under the current protocol, children and male-line grandchildren of the king or queen are able to receive the title of prince or princess.
Therefore, as discussed by Markle in the interview, Archie could still become a prince if his grandfather, Prince Charles, becomes king.
This ruling was made by King George V in 1917 in an effort to curb the ever-expanding monarchy.
However, Queen Elizabeth has already broken this protocol for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children.
Ahead of Prince George’s birth in 2013, the Queen issued a letters patent that would make an exception for all of Prince William’s younger two children, and ensure they would all receive their titles.
(Prince George would have still received his title under the protocol but Charlotte and Louis would not.)
The same exception was not made upon Archie’s birth in 2019, but whether or not it has to do with his skin colour or his position in line to the throne is unclear.
#MeghanMarkle‘s conversation with #OprahWinfrey was nothing short of shocking — especially when she revealed that along with her son #Archie being denied a royal title and security, there were concerns and conversations about the colour of his skin before he was born pic.twitter.com/jyRvazfPDW
– ET Canada (@ETCanada) March 8, 2021
Markle was stripped of her passport
Markle explained her entry into the royal family came at a cost: Her freedom of movement.
“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,” she said.
Royal sources told The Sun that Markle’s passport was likely taken from her to be kept safe and ensure it wasn’t lost or stolen.
The couple’s travel plans were also likely organised by palace officials who may have needed them close by.
However, Markle and Prince Harry visited a number of countries during their courtship and later, as part of their royal duties as a couple.
The couple jetted to a number of romantic and exciting destinations, including New York, Ibiza, Botswana, Italy and Amsterdam while they were dating.
Later, they visited Morocco, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga as part of three official royal tours after their nuptials.
If Markle’s passport was indeed taken, it may have been for safekeeping since the Queen is the only royal who can travel without a passport.
– Good Morning America (@GMA) October 16, 2018
Kate Middleton made Markle cry
When Winfrey quizzed Markle about a highly publicised story claiming she had made her sister-in-law cry, the Duchess revealed it was the other way around.
‘No, no,” Markle said.
“The reverse happened.”
Reports of a flower girl’s dress fitting gone wrong dominated headlines in November 2018, and were early indicators that the tide was about to turn on the Duchess.
Markle claimed that “everyone in the institution” knew the accusations weren’t true, but that the media had “fed into it” as part of a desire to construct a “narrative of a hero and a villain”.
Of course, unless Middleton speaks on the matter, there is no way of knowing the validity of the claim.
But given the UK tabloids’ propensity to villainise Markle, it’s possible the truth got in the way of a good story on this occasion.
Meghan Markle debunks the reports that she made Kate Middleton cry, saying that it was the other way around:
“The reverse happened. She was upset about something. She owned it and bought me flowers.” pic.twitter.com/Saof51RZHS
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 8, 2021
Markle did not research the family
With access to the internet and in a world where we are all secretly keeping tabs on one another, what is the likelihood Markle didn’t sneak a cheeky Google of her future husband?
“I didn’t do any research about what that would mean,” Markle said of the prospect of entering the royal family.
“I never looked up my husband online.”
In the royal biography, Finding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand (a tell-all that the couple later admitted to indirectly contributing to), the Duke and Duchess both spent some time cyber stalking each other before their first date.
“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.”
Ninaki Priddy, who was Markle’s maid of honour at her first wedding to Trevor Engelson, said Markle was “always fascinated by the royal family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0”.
Markle is also pictured on a trip outside Buckingham Palace as a teenager, years before she would meet the prince.
– Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 29, 2017
Samantha Markle has not seen the Duchess for 20 years
Markle’s non-existent relationship with her half-sister, Samantha Markle, was also called into question.
“The last time I saw her must have been at least 18, 19 years,” the Duchess told Winfrey, claiming the two barely knew one another.
But a photo of the siblings at Samantha’s graduation in 2008 tells a different story.
“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.
‘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?’
most recently in 2008, just 13 years ago.-Samantha Markle #MeghanTheLiar https://t.co/YbUnCnqHQN pic.twitter.com/tBghP3fmk4
— MeghansMole©️ (@MeghansMole) March 9, 2021
Concerns over Archie’s skin colour
Since neither Markle nor Prince Harry, whom the comments were made to, refuse to name the perpetrator, it’s impossible to ascertain whether the accusations have any truth to them.
However, is this the first time the monarchy has been accused of racism? No.
Is this the first time Markle’s skin colour has been at the centre of a royal firestorm? Also no.
According to Oprah Winfrey this morning, Harry confirmed off-air that it wasn’t either the Queen or Prince Philip who made the skin colour comment about Archie.
So… who are we thinking – Charles? William?
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) March 8, 2021