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CNN Special Reports
CNN Special Report: Royal Revolution: Harry and Meghan. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired December 18, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More empathetic and less prejudiced. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This idea that we out of this marriage we can raise children who see the world differently, who treat people differently. Just the very fact that we are united in this way can teach us so much about what it means to love people who are different.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two, three.
ANNOUNCER: The following is a CNN Special Report.
ALIYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST (voice-over): He was the party prince.
PENNY JUNOR, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: For many years it was a real worry about what would happen to Harry.
CAMEROTA: Who rebelled against royalty.
ANGELA LEVIN, AUTHOR, "HARRY: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRINCE": He decided he might leave the royal family.
CAMEROTA: Haunted by his mother's death.
ROYA NIKKHAH, ROYAL EDITOR, THE SUNDAY TIMES: It destabilized him and caused chaos for years.
CAMEROTA: He struggled to find his way.
PAUL BURRELL, PRINCESS DIANA'S BUTLER: Being royal for Harry was a burden and a curse.
CAMEROTA: She's a former American actress.
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I was like, I said why do we have to elope? (INAUDIBLE).
CAMEROTA: Unlike any royal bride before.
KATE COYNE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: If you go back a few generations, everything about Meghan Markle disqualifies her for marrying Harry.
CAMEROTA: A modern royal couple changing history.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Duke and Duchess say they will step back as senior members of the royal family.
JUNOR: Harry decided I'm going to look after my wife in a way that I wasn't able to look after my mother.
CAMEROTA: And redefining royalty.
(On-camera): What do you think the future looks like for Harry and Meghan.
CAROLYN DURAND, CO-AUTHOR, "FINDING FREEDOM": The sky's the limit. They're going to harness the power that they have as public individuals to change the world.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): Tonight a CNN Special Report, "ROYAL REVELATION: HARRY AND MEGHAN.
September 15th, 1984. Prince Henry Charles Albert David was born.
BURRELL: Harry came into the world very different to his brother who is heralded as the next in line to the throne of England. That Harry was the spare.
CAMEROTA: Paul Burrel was Princess Diana's butler.
BURRELL: So all through Harry's formative years he always knew that he was second.
JUNOR: He was always referred to as the spare, just always second best. And I think that had a profound effect on Harry.
CAMEROTA: His childhood was also impacted by his parents' marital troubles.
JUNOR: Harry grew up in a very tricky, very household. The prince and princess were never happy together in a marriage that had failed before it even began.
CAMEROTA: When Charles and Diana divorced, it hit Harry hard, then one year later his mother was killed. Harry was just 12 years old.
NIKKHAH: This incredibly loving figure who had given him so much warmth and comfort in what was a very difficult childhood and extraordinarily upbringing was suddenly gone.
CAMEROTA: Harry later admitted to iTV he struggled to process her death.
PRINCE HARRY: It was a classic case of don't let yourself think about your mom and the grief and the hurt that comes with it because it's never going to bring her back and it's only going to make you more sad. People deal with grief in different ways, and my way of dealing with it was by just basically shutting it out, locking it out.
CAMEROTA: Prince Harry arrived at Eaton, a prestigious boys boarding school the year after his mother's death. Even though he moved into the same house as his older brother Willam, Harry reportedly struggled academically and was miserably.
BURRELL: Diana always said that she never wanted Harry to go to Eaton because he would be compared to his brother's success. And she thought this would be the undoing of Harry's confidence.
LEVIN: Prince Harry said that he decided that he was going to be a bad boy so that the reason he didn't do well there was partly his fault. It's deliberate.
CAMEROTA: In 2002 headlines emerged of Harry's drinking and marijuana use.
(On-camera): Did it seem to Brits that it was more than just typical teenage antics?
JUNOR: It's all part of the growing up process but I personally was worried that there was something deeper. There was a touch of self- medication going on.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): After graduating from Eaton, Harry escaped to Africa during his gap year for humanitarian work.
BURRELL: It was an escape from this heavy-duty world of royalty, always being watched, always being photographed. He could be very ordinary.
CAMEROTA: He spent two months in Lesotho with children in need and others whose parents had died from AIDS.
NIKKHAH: He could see that there were holes there in their lives, and I think absolutely he saw in them something that he felt was missing in his life -- care, love, and attention, the loss of his mother.
CAMEROTA: Harry not only fell in love with the children in the country he began a serious romance with a wealthy girl from Southern Africa, Chelsy Davy.
NIKKHAH: She's very free spirited, not someone who felt bound by world protocol or tradition, and also shared his love of Africa and, you know, the two traveled extensively through Africa together.
CAMEROTA: Chelsy remained a constant in Harry's life for years to come.
NIKKHAH: She also came into his life at a time when he was missing that female figure to support him, and I think Chelsy did that and understood him. And she could understand that he'd been through a very difficult time and was still going through a very hard time.
CAMEROTA: A very hard time that Harry struggled to overcome.
When we come back --
JUNOR: For many years it was a real worry about what would happen to Harry because he didn't seem to want to be a royal. He wanted to be a normal human being.
CAMEROTA: As Harry navigated the highs and lows of growing up a prince, Meghan Markle was raised a world away from the pomp and circumstance of royal life.
COYNE: You hear that someone grew up in Los Angeles, and you think about swimming pools and palm trees and Beverly Hills. And Meghan Markle's childhood in L.A. was not that.
CAMEROTA: Born in 1981, she's the only child of Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle. While she had two loving parents, Meghan struggled with her biracial identity.
JOSH DUBOFF, FORMER SENIOR WRITER, VANITY FAIR: Her father was white. Her mother was black. She said when she would fill out forms, there wasn't always a bubble that fit her to fill in.
CAMEROTA: While her parents made sure Meghan felt comfortable in her own skin, years of built-up racial tensions in the country exploded right in her own backyard.
DUBOFF: She was driving, I think, with her mom. And I think there was, like, debris and she thought it was snowing. And then she realized it was actually the L.A. riots.
CAMEROTA: Riots that erupted when four white police officers were acquitted in the beating of a black man, Rodney King.
COYNE: It definitely opened Meghan's eyes to the fact that this was a world that was not always going to treat her fairly, and was not always going to be kind to her or to her family.
CAMEROTA: Meghan's early experiences with discrimination were not isolated to race. While watching TV advertisements for a class project, one commercial stood out to her.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Women are fighting greasy pots and pans.
DUBOFF: They implied that the product was just for women, who were going to be at home doing the cleaning.
MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I don't think it's right for kids to grow up thinking these things. That just mom does everything.
COYNE: And she wrote a letter.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: So I was wondering if you would be able to change your commercial to people all over America.
COYNE: And wouldn't you know it? It worked.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: People are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory cleaner.
COYNE: It had to have been such wonderful reinforcement for her at such a young age that she could take a stand and have her voice heard, and not be dismissed.
CAMEROTA: Meghan went on to graduate from Northwestern University but returned to Los Angeles to pursue her acting dreams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Action.
CAMEROTA (on-camera): She has said that her 20s were brutal.
COYNE: Meghan struggled a lot. To become a successful actress, to be able to make a living, that's like winning a lottery ticket. I mean, the number of forces that have to combine to get you even the smallest scrap of success are so astronomical.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): Meghan auditioned throughout her 20s. Then, in 2011, she landed a significant role. The female lead on USA network's legal drama "Suits."
DUCHESS MEGHAN: Is this all a joke to you? Because I take my job seriously.
COYNE: She got lucky. She undoubtedly handed in a great audition, a great screen test. She had excellent chemistry with her co-stars. And she hit the jackpot.
CAMEROTA: "Suits" was an instant hit.
COYNE: "Suits" radically changed Meghan's life. First and foremost, she was now making more money than she had ever made before, ever.
CAMEROTA: As the show achieved success, Meghan made changes in her life, including ending her two-year marriage to Hollywood producer Trevor Engelson.
COYNE: When they met, she was still largely an aspiring actress. He was an aspiring producer. They were essentially at the same place in their careers. And then "Suits" really took off. And they weren't going in the same direction anymore. She was filming in Toronto. He was in Los Angeles. There were thousands and thousands of miles between them.
CAMEROTA: Determined to use her position for good, Meghan advocated for women's equality across the world. Meghan traveled to Rwanda in 2016 as an ambassador for the nonprofit World Vision to highlight the importance of clean drinking water.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: These girls are able to stay in school because they aren't walking hours a day to go and get water, and this clean water source has changed the entire community.
LARA DEWAR, FORMER GLOBAL HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT, WORLD VISION: This is not a celebrity who floats in, who needs a platform issue to associate with their, quote-unquote, "brand." This is a woman who's had a desire to help in some way, for a very long time. Promote the faces and stories of women, and to begin to elevate them.
CAMEROTA: Coming up.
JUNOR: He was very angry.
CAMEROTA: Harry struggles with his royal role.
JUNOR: He started drinking very heavily. He was fed up with who he was.
CAMEROTA: While Meghan was trying to make it in Hollywood, Harry earned a reputation as reckless and self-destructive.
JUNOR: For many years, it was a real worry about what would happen to Harry because he didn't seem to want to be a royal. He really kicked against it. He wanted to be a normal human being.
CAMEROTA: In 2005, Harry joined the British Army where he was one of the guys.
PRINCE HARRY: As far as I am concerned, I'm out here as a normal J- tech on the ground and not Prince Harry. It's nice to be sort of a normal person. And for once I think this is about as normal as I'm ever going to get.
CAMEROTA: Yet there were painful reminders he was still a royal. After 10 weeks in Afghanistan, his mission was leaked and Harry was evacuated.
GEN. LORD RICHARD DANNATT, FORMER CHIEF, BRITISH ARMY: It wouldn't have taken Taliban or others long to have searched around and perhaps found where he was. So there was a risk to him. But I think, also, if there was increased risk to him, there was an increased risk to the other soldiers who were around him. And the only sensible and safe thing to do was to bring him back.
JUNOR: He was very angry.
To use the words of his private secretary, he was boiling mad, and he sort of headed for the gutter. He started drinking very heavily. He was fed up with who he was.
DANNATT: When he came to see me, he sort of sat over slumped in the chair and said the trouble is I can't be like a normal young man. But that time in Afghanistan had given him 10 weeks to be a normal young man, and he desperately wanted to replicate that again. And he accepted and his private secretary accepted that probably the only way he could go back was within the anonymity of being inside a helicopter, and he'd therefore need to learn to fly a helicopter.
CAMEROTA: After 18 months of training, Harry not only became an Apache pilot, he was the best co-pilot gunner on his weapons course.
JUNOR: I actually believe that his success on that Apache, on those Apache aircraft was the making of Harry. I think Harry, who had spent all his life being second best to his brother, being the spare, suddenly found something that he could do and could do better than anybody else. And that gave him confidence that he had never, ever had before. It changed him, I think.
CAMEROTA: When Harry left the army after nearly 10 years of service, his future was uncertain.
BURRELL: I don't think there are any career options for a royal prince. It's easy for William. He is heading towards the throne. I think being royal for Harry was a burden and a curse because he was only the spare. What was his job? What was his way forward?
CAMEROTA: Harry struggled to find his way and to find someone to share his life with. His family and fame had brought an end to his relationship with Chelsy Davy and another serious girlfriend, Cressida Bonas.
JUNOR: Chelsy had experienced the most horrible treatment. Photographers would be waiting for her. They would call out names. Slag, bitch, whore, trying to get a reaction from her. And I guess that she looked at all of this and thought, do I want this for my life?
I think Cressida took one look at what life with Harry would have involved and just turned her back on it. You know?
CAMEROTA (on-camera): She didn't want to be a princess.
JUNOR: I don't think any sane person wants to be a princess.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): In 2017, Harry opened up for the first time publicly about his feelings on being a royal in a documentary for the BBC.
PRINCE HARRY: I spent a long time in my life, my head buried in the sand. You know, thinking I don't want to be Prince Harry. I don't want this responsibility. I don't want this role. You know, look what's happened to my mother. You know, why does this have to happen to me?
CAMEROTA: Harry even considered a drastic move.
LEVIN: Prince Harry got so low that he decided at one point that he might leave the royal family.
NIKKHAH: He is living this life that he's been born into. It's not his choice. And I think he felt at times very cross about that.
CAMEROTA: In 2017, Harry shared his struggle as part of his Heads Together campaign with Prince William and Kate to end the stigma around mental health.
PRINCE HARRY: Never really talked about losing my mom at such a young age. I always thought to myself, what's the point of bringing up the past? It ain't going to change it. It ain't going to bring her back. And when you start thinking like that, it can be really damaging.
CAMEROTA: And Harry told the BBC he wanted to follow in his mother's footsteps.
PRINCE HARRY: Now all I want to do is try and, you know, fill the holes that my mother has left. And that's what it's about for us, is trying to make a difference and in making a difference, making her proud.
CAMEROTA: He started a charity for the children he met in Lesotho, Africa.
NIKKHAH: And you look at Harry's work with HIV and AIDS. That was something that his mother, as Harry said, you know, smashed through the stigma of that when she was alive.
CAMEROTA: And in 2014, he founded the Invictus Games, an Olympic-style competition that gives wounded veterans and service members a chance to be defined by more than their injuries.
PRINCE HARRY: It's life-changing. It really is life-changing for them.
LEVIN: I think he has used his own experience of loss and sadness and bereavement to help these soldiers. And the bereavement doesn't just mean losing someone, it means losing yourself I think, too.
CAMEROTA: When we come back, the struggles with being royal.
JUNOR: There was a photographer, who got inside Meghan's house in Toronto. The paparazzi were camping on her mother's front lawn and harassing anybody really who knew her.
PRINCE HARRY: I'd never, never even heard of her until this friend said Meghan Markle. I was like, right, OK. Give me -- give me a bit of background.
CAMEROTA: It was July, 2016, in London when Britain's most eligible bachelor, Prince Harry, was set up on a blind date.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: It was definitely a setup. It was a blind date.
PRINCE HARRY: I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her. And there she was sitting there. I was like, OK, I really have to up my game.
CAMEROTA: Harry upped his game and they began a long-distance romance. Meeting up in London and Toronto, where Meghan, then an actress, was filming the TV show "Suits."
PATRICK J. ADAMS, ACTOR: Wow, you're pretty.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: Good. You've hit on me, we can get it out of the way that I am not interested.
CAMEROTA: The whole time, they kept their relationship a secret.
JUNOR: When they first met, nobody knew about it.
CAMEROTA (on-camera): Which is itself impressive.
JUNOR: It is impressive. I mean, the great fear about Harry finding a wife was always going to be the intrusion of the press because that is what had killed two previous long-term relationships.
NIKKHAH: I interviewed Harry just before he met Meghan, the month before, and we talked about, you know, his private life at the time. And he described it as massive paranoia that sat inside him with regards to who he could possibly embark on a relationship with. So I think that made it very difficult to find someone who could cope with that kind of spotlight.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): And what happened to his mother was never far from his mind.
NIKKHAH: Harry and his brother still feel that, you know, the paparazzi and press intrusion were certainly partly responsible for his mother's death, and thought, why would anyone want to put up with this for me?
CAMEROTA: Harry wanted to keep his relationship with Meghan private as long as he could. But just four months after that first date, the news was out. And the paparazzi pounced once again.
JUNOR: I think there was a foot photographer who got inside Meghan's house in Toronto. The paparazzi were camping on her mother's front lawn and following, you know, and harassing all members of her family. Anybody really who knew her.
CAMEROTA: Despite starring in a TV show, Meghan was relatively unknown. Now the British press wanted to know who she was and if she was fit for the royal family.
NIKKHAH: She was a woman who has been married. People were fascinated by the fact that she was divorced. People were fascinated by her background, her acting, a career woman. How would that work being with someone in the royal family? You know, that's not what we've seen before.
CAMEROTA: They also had not seen someone biracial dating a member of the royal family. And some of the conversation was blatantly racist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was one newspaper headline saying "Straight Out of Compton," suggesting that she was from a gang-ridden neighborhood and would Harry be dropping around for tea in gangland, which was very clearly racially loaded.
COYNE: A whole another issue exploded which was the number of rather horrific social media racist comments began to flood in from the darkest, vilest corners of the internet.
CAMEROTA: The royal family responded in unprecedented fashion with Prince Harry's team at Kensington Palace releasing a statement confronting the, quote, "abuse and harassment Meghan was facing," saying, "This is not a game. It is her life and his."
(On-camera): Why is it that you think that Meghan's upbringing, her race, why did that garner so much attention?
JUNOR: In the past, members of the royal family, princes, would have married princesses, and when Harry's father, Prince Charles, was looking for a wife, it was also a requirement that a wife should be a virgin and a member of the Church of England.
COYNE: You just go back a few generations in the royal family. And everything that you can say about Meghan Markle disqualifies her from marrying Harry. This is precisely why you had Edward abdicating his throne so that he could marry an American divorcee. Elizabeth's sister Margaret was in love with a divorced man and was not allowed to marry him.
CAMEROTA (on-camera): And wasn't Charles and Diana's wedding and marriage a wake-up call in some ways for the marquee that you can try to have somebody perfect, but it has to be chemistry and you have to love the person and have the freedom to marry who they want?
JUNOR: I think it was a lesson that they've learned.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): In November of 2017, Harry and Meghan announced their engagement.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Kensington Palace announcing the two are set to wed in spring of 2018.
CAMEROTA: And the royal family welcomed Meghan with open arms.
NIKKHAH: The queen made an exception and broke from royal protocol and invited Meghan to spend Christmas with the royal family and the Queen at Sandringham. That's the first time a royal fiancee has ever done that before actually marrying into the royal family.
CAMEROTA: A powerful sign the monarchy and the Queen were modernizing and changing.
NIKKHAH: The royal family now is trying to at least be much more perceptive of society. And the Queen, first and foremost, wants her grandson to be happy. CAMEROTA: When we come back. Tension in the royal family.
JUNOR: William looked at Harry moving very, very quickly towards marriage and said, hold on a minute. Are you sure?
CAMEROTA: May 19, 2018. Harry and Meghan married at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
NIKKHAH: It was really such an extraordinary national celebration. The whole of the U.K. and so many people around the world were so behind Harry and Meghan and the culmination of that love story.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The new royal couple. You can hear the cheering.
CAMEROTA (on-camera): And in terms of public opinion, they were popular.
NIKKHAH: There is no doubt about that. You just need to see all the coverage in the run-up to the wedding. Harry was one of the most popular members of the royal family for a very long time.
JUNOR: Meghan seemed to be utterly perfect. And it was fantastic to have somebody of mixed race coming into the royal family, and therefore making it more relevant to so many more people in Britain.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): Their popularity continued on their first royal tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, where they were treated like rock stars.
NIKKHAH: They got a rapturous reception everywhere they went, and more importantly, rapturous press coverage, too.
CAMEROTA (on-camera): And that was Meghan's first tour as a member of the royal family. So how did she do?
NIKKHAH: She really took to it incredibly well and it was a great triumph.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): And a triumph, it seemed, for the royal family. A new golden couple to help the next generation carry the monarchy forward.
JUNOR: They looked as though they were the perfect foursome. They were even labeled the fab four. And it did look as though they were all getting along really, really well.
CAMEROTA: But soon stories began to leak. That there was tension behind palace doors.
JUNOR: They had a good relationship, the three of them. Then Meghan arrived, and I think that was when things started to go wrong. [23:40:04]
Harry fell head over heels. Harry is a very impetuous sort of person. William is very much more considered. He is very controlled in what he does, and I think he looked at Harry moving very, very quickly towards marriage and just said, hold on a minute. Are you sure you're not going too fast here?
NIKKHAH: You look at Harry and William's parents. They didn't take huge amount of time to get to know each other. That marriage was not successful. Whereas, you know, William and Kate spent many years getting to know each other and making sure that she would be able to take on those responsibilities and the weight of responsibility. And I think William probably just wanted to make sure that Meghan knew what she was getting herself into.
DURAND: What Prince William may have said with brotherly concern, according to sources close to Harry was taken in a very different way. That it wasn't brotherly concern but, perhaps, he had overstepped in a way.
CAMEROTA: There were also stories in the press that painted Meghan in an unflattering light.
(On-camera): One saying that Meghan made Kate cry during the wedding preparations. What was the truth?
NIKKHAH: That story has been reported both ways. Of course, Meghan said that it was the other way around. So it's very hard to know.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): And there were reports that Meghan was difficult to work for.
(On-camera): There were reports that three of the staff of the royal household were going to be leaving.
JUNOR: It is very unusual. Members of the royal household tend to stay quite a long time. And certainly the stories that I was hearing was that she was very demanding and could be quite difficult.
NIKKHAH: There was an internal complaint made by one of the senior members of staff about the treatment of other members of staff in the household who worked for Harry and Meghan, and there were allegations that some of the treatment by Meghan towards her press staff was bullying.
We know that Meghan has very, very strenuously denied all allegations of bullying against her. Her lawyers have said it's a campaign against her.
CAMEROTA: Eventually, Harry and Meghan decided to separate their official office and charity from William and Kate, and they left their home at Kensington Palace for the Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, saying they needed more space for their growing family.
JUNOR: It was an indication that all was not well with the fab four. They were treading on one another's toes and Harry and Meghan wanted to do things differently.
NIKKHAH: People within the royal households have said Meghan and Kate were different characters. And we know from a book that was written about them that Meghan felt that she wasn't warmly received enough by Kate.
CAMEROTA: Even with the happy news of the impending arrival of their first child in May of 2019, the Sussexes could not shake the criticism.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's been radio silence from the couple on their plans. Not a due date. Not even a hospital. The only thing that is clear they won't be following recent royal tradition, presenting the baby to the world just hours after birth.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: British taxpayers have been hit with a $4.3 million bill for the makeover of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's new home.
JUNOR: Then Harry had flown to speak about climate change and lectured people on how we must all behave, and had then taken two private jets on two separate occasions to go to two different holiday locations with Meghan and Archie. And so the press picked up on all of that and they did hammer home the hypocrisy of all of this.
ANNA STEWART, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: The Duchess of Sussex. Poor thing can't get a break ever since the royal wedding, everything she does is being scrutinized.
CAMEROTA: The constant scrutiny started to take a toll.
JUNOR: The British tabloids can be vicious. And anyone that puts their head above the parapet must expect that at some time they might get it blown off.
DURAND: Privately, I know it was really difficult for them. Harry had struggled with his mental health. He's talked about it previously. His mother was chased into a tunnel by paparazzi, and it's something that has haunted him his entire life.
CAMEROTA: During their royal tour in Africa, Harry and Meghan opened up to iTV's Tom Bradby about their internal struggle.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip.
TOM BRADBY, ITV: And it has its -- you know, it has its advantages I guess.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: I tried, I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.
PRINCE HARRY: For me and for my wife, it was a little bit, of course, there is a lot of stuff that hurts and especially when the majority is untrue. I won't be bullied into playing a game that's -- that killed my mom.
CAMEROTA (on-camera): Harry released a statement about the British tabloids. It said, "I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother, and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."
DURAND: Harry wanted to protect his family. I think that there are these memories. These very vivid memories of what their mother went through.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): Harry filed a lawsuit against two British newspaper groups alleging they hacked his phone years earlier. And Meghan filed suit against "The Mail on Sunday."
JUNOR: Meghan announced that she was suing for breach of privacy and copyright because they had published extracts from a letter that Meghan had handwritten to her father after his failure to come to their wedding.
CAMEROTA: At the end of 2019, Harry and Meghan announced they were taking a six-week break from royal duties and escaped to Canada.
JUNOR: Meghan, I think, was unhappy. It was clear she wasn't thriving, and Harry I think decided get her out of the situation. Knee-jerk reaction. Impulsive. I'm going to look after my wife. In a way that I wasn't able to look after my mother.
NIKKHAH: The couple really just wanted some time out from royal life. And they wanted to consider their future.
CAMEROTA: When we come back.
NIKKHAH: That announcement came as a big shock.
CAMEROTA: The Sussexes' surprising decision.
DURAND: This was another moment where Prince Harry's relationship with his brother took a turn.
CAMEROTA: As the rest of the world rang in 2020, Harry and Meghan remained in Canada, as they considered their future.
NIKKHAH: They wanted some time to just regroup and think about what their lives could be going forward to how possibly they could do things slightly differently and within the royal framework.
CAMEROTA: Harry and Meghan came to the difficult decision that they would have to make major changes to their royal roles. The couple returned to the U.K., eager to meet with the Queen and work out the details of their future. But the press caught wind of their plans before they got a chance. DURAND: Their plan, which they had hoped to remain private, had been
leaked to a newspaper. They felt that they had to act.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, throwing the royal family into a tizzy.
CAMEROTA: Without clearing their plans with the palace, Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping back as senior members of the royal family.
NIKKHAH: That announcement came as a shock to the public and the U.K. and people around the world.
CAMEROTA: It stunned Harry's family.
DURAND: All of this was laid out in a blueprint when nothing had been agreed to yet.
CAMEROTA: And author Carolyn Durand says the rushed announcement drove a deeper wedge between the brothers.
DURAND: This was another moment where Prince Harry's relationship with his brother took a turn. Prince William feels that issues like this are to be dealt with privately.
CAMEROTA: But Harry and Meghan were confident they could make their plans work.
(On-camera): Do you know from your reporting what Harry and Meghan envisioned at that point their futures would look like?
NIKKHAH: They launched Sussex royal Web site, which had a sort of blueprint of how they envisaged their future roles would be, which would be a combination of supporting the Queen and the monarchy with official work, but also doing their own thing abroad and pursuing their own commercial projects, too.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): The press went into overdrive, cranking out story after story, and the Queen, anxious to get the situation under control, summoned Prince Harry, Prince Charles and Prince William to her home in Sandringham.
JUNOR: The discussions at Sandringham were to thrash out how this would work and whether it was possible for Harry and Meghan to be part-time royals.
NIKKHAH: That was never really something that the Queen was ever going to be on board with.
CAMEROTA (on-camera): Why doesn't that hybrid role work?
NIKKHAH: The problem is that if you are a member of the royal family who undertakes official work on behalf of the institution and the U.K., and you are then also using your role to pursue commercial projects, that's always been a no-no for the royal family. CAMEROTA (voice-over): Tensions were high as the couple's future was
discussed and the half in, half out model that Harry and Meghan had envisioned was out.
JUNOR: There is no such thing as half in and half out. It just would not work. And the Queen therefore decided that if they were intent upon leaving that they must leave entirely.
CAMEROTA: To have the independence they crave, they would need to completely step down as senior royals.
(On-camera): How hard do you think that moment was for Harry?
DURAND: This was a really difficult moment for him. He loves his grandmother. He loves serving the Queen. But ultimately, this was a decision that he undertook for his family.
CAMEROTA (voice-over): Harry and Meghan made their final few appearances as senior royals before they stepped back from the limelight and left the United Kingdom.
NIKKHAH: In this year and a bit since they really put down roots in California, they bought this big house in Montecito in Santa Barbara. They've set up their Archewell charitable foundation. They've struck these big commercial deals with Netflix and Spotify.
PRINCE HARRY: Welcome to Archewell Audio.
NIKKHAH: They've been able to pursue projects and commercial ventures, which have dramatically changed the way they live their life.
CAMEROTA: The couple kept a relatively low profile during the pandemic. They were spotted volunteering with organizations like Baby to Baby and Homeboy Industries. And Meghan wrote a poignant essay about suffering a miscarriage.
DURAND: She wanted to try and help other women by talking about it.
CAMEROTA: Then in June 2021, they had happier news to share.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they are expecting their second child.
CAMEROTA: But it was another announcement that sent shockwaves around the world.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The British royal family is bracing for what Harry and Meghan might say in their new interview with Oprah Winfrey.
NIKKHAH: I knew instantly that it was going to be very controversial.
CAMEROTA: And it was. In an interview with Oprah on CBS, Harry and Meghan point a damning portrait of life inside the monarchy. Things became so difficult, Meghan said, she became suicidal. DUCHESS MEGHAN: I just didn't want to be alive anymore.
CAMEROTA: And she said she was denied help by the palace.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said I've never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn't, that it wouldn't be good for the institution.
CAMEROTA: They spoke about racism they faced, even from within the royal family.
OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: Hold up.
DUCHESS MEGHAN: There are several conversations.
WINFREY: There is a conversation with you?
DUCHESS MEGHAN: With Harry.
WINFREY: About how dark your baby is going to be?
DUCHESS MEGHAN: Potentially, and what that would mean or look like.
CAMEROTA: Viewers were shocked, and the royal family was left reeling.
JUNOR: The royal family were horrified by the Oprah interview, and very hurt.
CAMEROTA: The allegations were harsh.
(On-camera): Is it possible she had wanted to leave Kensington Palace and have some sort of in-patient treatment, and that that would have been really frowned on by the royal family?
JUNOR: I didn't think there was any way that the royal family would have frowned on any kind of in-patient treatment for mental health.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you spoken to your brother since the interview?
NIKKHAH: We saw William extremely upset about their comments made over race.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the royal family a racist family, sir?
WILLIAM, PRINCE OF WALES: We're very much not a racist family.
NIKKHAH: The royal family have dismissed allegations of racism, but they've made it also very clear that if there is anything to explore further there or issues to address there in terms of race, then they will do that privately.
PRINCE HARRY: It's not what's wrong with you, it's what's happened to you. CAMEROTA: In May of 2021, Apple TV Plus premiered a docuseries Harry
co-produced with Oprah called "The Me You Can't See" about mental health. Harry opened up more about the lack of support he felt from his family as he and Meghan struggled.
PRINCE HARRY: I thought my family would help. But every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is just got met with total silence or total neglect. We'd spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job.
CAMEROTA: He said the fear of history repeating itself is what pushed him to leave the monarchy.
PRINCE HARRY: I then had a son who I'd far rather be solely focused on rather than every time I look in his eyes wondering whether my wife is going to end up like my mother and I'm going have to look after him myself.
JUNOR: I think there is so much hurt on both sides. I think it will take a long time for this rift to heal.
DURAND: The Oprah interview was followed by the death of Prince Philip. Prince Philip's funeral was not the place to have deep conversations. They were all there to support the Queen.
CAMEROTA: And in September, Queen Elizabeth II passed away.
DURAND: I think in time we'll see the royal family heal. As Harry has said, he loves his brother, and they've been through hell together.
CAMEROTA: Time will tell how the fractured relationships recover. But one thing is certain. Whatever Harry and Meghan do with their future, they will do it their way.