Meghan Markle told Oprah Winfrey in an interview on Sunday night that she contemplated suicide during her time as a working royal.
“You were having suicidal thoughts?” Oprah asked during the two-hour interview.
“Yes. It was very clear and very scary,” Meghan answered. “I just didn’t see a solution.”
“Look, I was really ashamed to have to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry especially, because I know how much loss he’s suffered,” Meghan said. “But I knew that if I didn’t say that I would do it ... and I just didn’t ― I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.”
“I remember how [Harry] just cradled me. I went to the institution. And I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. And I said that I’d never felt this way before. I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn’t, because it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
Meghan clarified that when she said “the institution,” she was referring to several people and that, when she was feeling suicidal, she went to one of the most senior people for help.
“I share this because there’s so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help. And I know personally how hard it is to not just voice it, but when you voice it to be told no. And so I went to human resources. And I said ‘I need help,’” the duchess said, adding, “because at my old job there was a union and they would protect me.”
“They said, ‘My heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is. But there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee.’”
When Oprah spoke to Meghan about going to a hospital, the Duchess of Sussex explained why that just wasn’t possible.
“You couldn’t call an Uber to the palace. You couldn’t just go,” she said. “You have to understand ― when I joined this family, that was the last time until we came here I saw my passport, my driver’s license, my keys. All that gets turned over.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.