During the first blocks of the conversation, aired in primetime television in the United States and relentlessly promoted by CBS, Meghan said she felt she was victim of a “character assassination” in the British media and the machinations of a centuries-old institution that valued how it is perceived more than the well-being of the royal family.
“They were willing to lie to protect other members of the family, but they weren’t willing to lie to protect me and my husband,” she said.
Meghan specifically complained of how lonely and isolated life became after her marriage. She said she wasn’t even allowed to go out for lunch with friends at times because she was too heavily covered in the media.
“I am everywhere but I am nowhere,” Meghan added. “Everyone was concerned with optics.”
The Duchess of Sussex said had been welcomed into the family itself — but the family members were different from “the people running the institution.”
She said Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother, had always been wonderful, warm and welcoming.
The interview began with several stunning revelations about Meghan and Harry’s private life, including that the two were married three days before their official wedding. Meghan also discussed rumors of a dispute with Kate, the wife of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Meghan said reports she made Kate cry over the dresses of flower girl were untrue, and was in fact the Duchess of Sussex who cried.
“There was no confrontation,” Meghan said.
She declined to discuss the incident further because Kate apologized to her.
“I don’t think it’s fair to her to get into the details of that,” Meghan said.
The interview with Oprah was highly anticipated because Harry and Meghan are allowed to speak more freely about the royal family since their effective split from the palace.
Millions of television viewers around the world were in a state of frenzied anticipation ahead of the interview.
“It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes” to the interview, Meghan said in a preview, discussing the constraints on her talking to the media while a working royal. “I mean… I’m ready to talk.”
The agreement allows Harry, who is still sixth in line to the British throne, and Meghan to both keep their royal titles bestowed on them by the Queen. But Harry and Meghan will give up their royal patronages, which are to be redistributed among working members of the royal family.
The TV special falls at an already fraught time for the royals, with Prince Philip, the Queen’s 99-year-old husband, spending a third week in hospital, after undergoing a heart procedure Thursday.
The royals are likely aware of the probable impact the televised spectacle could have on the public. The palace encounters a bombshell TV tell-all roughly once a generation — a 1970 interview with the abdicated King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson posed problems for the Palace, 25 years before Princess Diana’s “Panorama” confessional was watched by tens of millions in Britain.
The sources said they approached The Times because they felt the version of Meghan that had publicly emerged was only partially true, and they were concerned about how matters of bullying had been dealt with. The report said the sources believed the public “should have insight into their side of the story” ahead of the couple’s interview with Winfrey.
Buckingham Palace said it was “very concerned” about the allegations outlined in the report and would investigate. A spokesperson for the Sussexes dismissed the Times report as “a calculated smear campaign” ahead of the interview.
CNN’s Rob Picheta, Lindsay Isaac, Max Foster and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report
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