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Meghan Markle says her friends warned her not to date Prince Harry because 'the British tabloids will destroy your life'

INSIDER logoINSIDER 10/21/2019 Mikhaila Friel
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry standing next to a person © WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • The Duchess of Sussex says she was warned not to pursue a relationship with Prince Harry when she met him back in 2016.
  • Speaking in a new ITV documentary about their royal tour of Africa, Meghan Markle said her British friends told her not to date Harry "because the British tabloids will destroy your life."
  • Earlier this month, Markle announced plans to sue tabloid newspaper the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter she wrote to her father.
  • The duchess addressed this decision to speak out against the press, something she has avoided in the past because she was trying "to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip."
  • "But I think what that does internally is probably really damaging," she added.

Meghan Markle says her friends warned her against starting a relationship with Prince Harry when she met him back in 2016.

Speaking in the ITV documentary "Harry and Meghan: An African Journey," which aired in the UK on Sunday, Markle talked about the impact the media scrutiny is having on her mental health. 

"It's hard. I don't think anyone can understand that, but in all fairness, I had no idea, which sounds difficult to understand here," she said.

"But when I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy. 

"But my British friends said to me, 'I'm sure he's great, but you shouldn't do it, because the British tabloids will destroy your life.'"

Markle added that she didn't believe them at first. "What are you talking about?" she said, "That doesn't make any sense. I'm not in tabloids.

"I didn't get it."

RELATED VIDEO: Duchess Meghan Describes ‘Really Challenging’ Life as New Royal: I’m Not OK [Provided by Us Weekly]

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Markle recently launched a lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday, a tabloid that published a private letter she sent to her father earlier this year.

Prince Harry released a powerful statement about the lawsuit, saying he had been "a silent witness to her private suffering for too long."

But the duchess' own comments in the new documentary mark the first time the royal has spoken publicly about her relationship with the tabloids.

"It's not enough to just survive something, right?" she said. "That's not the point of life. You've got to thrive, you've got to feel happy.

"And I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I tried. But I think what that does internally is probably really damaging.

"The biggest thing I know is that I never thought this would be easy. But I thought it would be fair. And that's the part that's really hard to reconcile, but I don't know," she added.

"When people are saying things that are just untrue, when they're being told they're untrue but still say them, I don't know anyone in the world who would feel like that's okay.

"And that's different from just scrutiny, that's... " she trailed off, before adding: "It's a different beast."

Tom Bradby, who interviewed both Markle and Harry for the hour-long documentary, says Markle was more than just honest - she was "vulnerable and bruised" in a way that the public had never seen.

"The following night, before we all got on the plane home, I had a chance to explore what had been going on with Meghan herself," he said of the conversation.

"Again, it will be for everyone to judge - you may even have seen the clip we released on Friday - but both of them in this trip came across as more vulnerable and bruised than the spoilt, petulant, arrogant and entitled caricatures that are sometimes tied to the public whipping post."


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