For Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, their interview with Oprah was a bombshell moment: not just to talk about their experiences with the rest of the Royal Family, but to show their deep love and appreciation for each other.
Harry, in particular, was vocal during the interview about how he feels stronger with Meghan by his side. When asked whether he would have stepped back from his royal role if he had never met Meghan, he answered ‘no – I wouldn’t have been able to because I myself was trapped. I didn’t see a way out. I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped. But the moment that I met Meg… our worlds collided in the most amazing of ways.’
He later added, ‘without question, she saved me,’ and Meghan agreed that the feeling was mutual. Many have seen it as one of the most moving moments in the interview: ‘We’ve heard and read so much over the past couple of years about how Meghan was this villain who took Harry from his life. So it’s quite touching,’ commented Tariro Mzezwema, a reporter for the New York Times.
This interview was just one example of a couple who have shown consistent unity throughout their partnership, even in the face of apparent bullying by the Palace, racist comments and an onslaught of negative press activity. So what keeps this couple together, through thick and thin?
‘It’s notable that Harry and Meghan have very intentionally put on a united front during the interview: whilst it is quite possible, and normal, that they may have shared disagreements behind closed doors, as all couples do, on this momentous and public occasion, they were entirely united,’ says award-winning psychologist Natasha Tiwari, who has expertise in family dynamics and relationships, having trained with industry heavyweights like Brene Brown and Esther Perel.
Meghan and Harry are said to have bonded originally over their shared passion for humanitarian and feminist causes, with Harry describing their meeting as proof the ‘stars were aligned’. Since then, many have argued that Harry and Meghan have been unified by their remarkably similar family situations, despite their very different backgrounds and upbringings on different continents.
Most notable, of course, are the breakdowns in their relationships with their respective fathers. Meghan is estranged from her father, Thomas Markle, who has given numerous negative interviews about her and Harry to the press (and was recently set to give evidence against her in court, as part of Meghan’s privacy battle against The Mail on Sunday). Harry, meanwhile, spoke at length during the interview with Oprah about his tense relationship with his father, Prince Charles, his mood visibly changing as he said: ‘When we were in Canada, I had three conversations with my grandmother and two conversations with my father, before he stopped taking my calls.’
Harry also clearly sees much of his mother in Meghan. ‘It all changed after the Australia tour,’ he told Oprah, going on to compare Meghan’s success there to Diana’s in Australia in 1983, implying that the Royal Family were jealous of Meghan’s likeability, much like they were seen to be of Diana’s. ‘It was the first time the family got to see how incredible she was at the job. And that brought back memories.’
‘Harry and Meghan share a number of personal narratives which, before they connected with each other, would likely lead to intense feelings of loneliness,’ agrees Natasha. ‘In finding each other, there will have been a magnetism created in meeting someone with similar emotional wounding and alongside that, a sense of having met one’s match, someone who truly understands these pains. Coupled with the intense scrutiny of the British tabloids and the culture shock that Meghan experienced, they have found a solace in each other and this mutual understanding.’
The next few weeks will be testing for the couple as they face scrutiny from both the British and American press for the comments they’ve made, which will also no doubt send shockwaves through the Royal Family. ‘Ultimately, no marriage exists in a vacuum,’ warns Natasha. ‘And this split from family units would naturally put immense pressure on a relationship. We need the support, input and love of those dear to us to fuel us as individuals, as relationships need more than just the energy created within them.’ If any couple seem up to the challenge, however – and judging by one of the most jaw-dropping interviews ever given – it’s the Sussexes.