Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, the most talked-about news story of 2020 was that Prince Harry and his American-born wife, Meghan Markle, were surrendering their royal duties to start a new, quieter life in North America. While it was a popular topic for news outlets, especially when the former Royals originally began their North American life in Canada, the world quickly faced greater concerns.
The former Royals, including young son Archie and now a second baby on the way, recently re-entered the spotlight when they began to do something relatively unprecedented for royalty – grant interviews. Some were lighthearted, such as the Prince’s recent bus tour through Los Angeles with late night host James Corden. Others though, such as Oprah Winfrey’s recent two hour prime-time sit down with the royal couple, were anything but.
Known for her unparalleled interview skills, Oprah sat down both with Ms. Markle, and then later the royal couple, for a 2 hour conversation in which no questions were off limits. Ms. Markle spoke with astonishing candor about a number of controversial topics, from discussions within the royal family about her unborn baby’s skin tone (Ms. Markle herself is biracial), to their desire to leave to ‘avoid having history repeat itself’ – an obvious nod to the tragedy surrounding Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana.
Yet perhaps the most shocking revelation to come out of the Oprah interview was Ms. Markle’s admission that her mental health had deteriorated so severely in the UK that she was expressing suicidal ideations. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore,” she candidly told Winfrey during the interview, adding “and that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.” Markle went so far as to admit she attended Royal functions, all while masking her distress, because she was afraid of what she might do to herself if left alone.
Worse still, Ms. Markle claimed that when she alerted a senior member of the Royal Family (she was careful during the interview to denote the biological ‘family’ from the firm, or the ‘family business’) about her mental illness, she was told that she was unable to receive help because it would not reflect well on the institution. Instead, she was left to essentially fend for herself, while the notoriously vicious British tabloids attacked her every move, and fabricated countless stories about her conduct. The couple explained that their decision to escape the family business and move overseas was just that – an escape for the sake of their collective mental health and well-being.
While the Oprah interview has been the subject of controversy, with critics deriding the couple’s pleas for privacy while appearing on national television, the candid discussion about mental health is a game changer. Ms. Markle is one of the most famous women in the world, who from outside appearances was living in a royal fairy tale. To learn of her anguish and suffering through an invisible illness at the time sheds light on a dark side of fame not often seen by those who subscribe to the ideas of a storybook romance.
More importantly, despite her lingering critics, Ms. Markle has shown that it is in fact okay to come forward when struggling with mental health. While she was in an impossible position, there are resources available to most individuals, even some at no or low cost. Speak with your physician candidly about your mental health so that they can advise you of medical options to improve your condition, and apply for your short term or long term disability options should you need workplace relief.
Should you need to apply for disability, LTD lawyers are always available to help. LTD lawyers are highly skilled at navigating the disability application process to maximize the chance of a successful outcome. Should your application be denied, Long Term Disability lawyers (LTD lawyers) will advocate for you through the appeal process, and any legal action that they need to take, in order to get you the compensation that you need in order to get well.