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Prince Harry has revealed the harrowing details of the day his then-pregnant wife Meghan Markle told him she wanted to kill herself.
Speaking on his new docuseries The Me You Can't See, in which Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry guide discussions about mental health and emotional well-being while opening up about their own mental health journeys and struggles, the Duke of Sussex recalls being told of his wife's suicidal thoughts.
The heartbreaking admission was made by Meghan, six months pregnant with Archie at the time, just hours before the pair were due to make a royal appearance at the Royal Albert Hall.
The couple went to watch Cirque du Soleil performers displaying their acrobatic skills in aid of charity Sentebale in January 2019 – almost exactly a year before they stepped back from their royal duties.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been guests of honour for the evening premiere of the Canadian circus company's production Totem and photos of the couple entering the venue holding hands made headlines around the world.
Prince Harry spoke about arriving to 'a wall of cameras', and Meghan later said she didn't realise until she saw photos how tightly Harry had been gripping her hand at the time and that seeing the pictures now 'haunts' her.
Prince Harry set up the charity the night was being held in aid of himself, in memory of his mother Princess Diana and the cause is one that's very close to his heart.
A 2004 gap year trip to the landlocked African nation of Lesotho inspired the duke to set up his Sentebale charity two years later with the country's Prince Seeiso, younger brother of King Letsie III.
Their aim was to help youngsters in need and other children who had lost one or both parents to Aids or contracted the disease themselves.
The pair established Sentebale in memory of their mothers, with the name of the charity meaning forget-me-not, which Harry later found out was his mother Diana, Princess of Wales's favourite flower growing up.
Meghan broke the heartbreaking news that she had had suicidal thoughts to Harry right before they left for the event – after she had spent the day at The Mayhew, an animal welfare centre which was one of the Duchess of Sussex's four royal patronages.
Harry says they both had to put a brave face on things and 'pretend everything's okay' while they were at the event.
In the new series, available to stream on AppleTV+, Harry says: "People have seen the photograph of us squeezing each other's hands as we walked into the Royal Albert Hall in London for a charity event. She was six months pregnant at the time.
"What perhaps people don't understand is earlier that evening Meghan decided to share with me the suicidal thoughts and the practicalities of how she was going to end her life.
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"The scariest thing for her was her clarity of thought — she hadn't lost it. She wasn't crazy. She wasn't self-medicating, be it through pills or through alcohol, she was absolutely sober.
"She was completely sane. Yet in the quiet at night these thoughts woke her up."
Harry says that they only had time for a "quick cuddle" after Meghan broke the news to him before they had to leave.
At the event, Meghan looked stunning in a striking sequined, long-sleeved navy dress from Roland Mouret.
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She accessorized with a pair of black high heels from Stuart Weitzman's Nudist collection, a black satin Givenchy clutch, and a special piece from Princess Diana's jewelry collection: a gold bracelet with blue stones.
Images from the night show the couple walking into the Royal Albert Hall holding hands, and they then greeted fellow guests, volunteers and performers decked out in full costume before taking their seats for the show in a private box.
Prince Harry added: "I'm somewhat ashamed of the way that I dealt with it and of course because of the system that we were in and the responsibilities and the duties that we had, we had a quick cuddle and then we had to get changed and had to jump into a convoy with a police escort and drive to the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event and then step out to a wall of cameras and pretend everything's okay.
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"There wasn't an option to say, 'You know what, tonight we're not going to go', because just imagine the stories that come from that.
"While my wife and I were in those chairs, gripping each other's hand, the moment the light goes down Meghan starts crying and I'm feeling sorry for her but I'm also really angry with myself that we're stuck in this situation. I was ashamed that it got this bad."
The show went ahead without any hitches, although Meghan has also revealed she was worried about all eyes being on her and had to snap back "On" again when the lights went up for the intermission.
After the show finished the couple had to do a meet-and-greet before they were finally able to get a private moment together.
Meghan spoke about the harrowing night, also to Oprah Winfrey, during their bombshell interview earlier this year.
She said: "Right before we had to leave for that [event], I had just had that conversation with Harry that morning", to which Oprah asked, "That you don't want to be alive anymore?", to which Meghan replied "Yes."
“One of the things that still haunts me is this photograph that someone had sent me, we had to go to an official event at the Royal Albert Hall.
"A friend said, ‘I know that you don’t look at pictures, but oh my god, you guys look so great’ and sent it to me.
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“We had to go to this event at the Royal Albert Hall after I told Harry I didn’t want to be alive anymore. In the pictures, I see how tightly his knuckles are gripped around mine. We are smiling, doing our job. In the Royal Box, when the lights went off, I was just weeping.
“He was gripping my hand and it was ‘Okay an intermission’s coming, the lights are about to come on, everyone’s looking at us again And you had to just be ‘on’ again.”
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
- Meghan Markle
- Prince Harry
- Princess Diana
- Royal Family
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