Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview: Royal experts fact check duchess’ explosive claims

Since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey aired earlier this week, royal commentators and some members of Meghan’s own family have rushed to push back against the claims.

The latest of the allegations to be picked apart is Meghan’s claim that she had to hand over her passport and driver’s licence when she became a member of the royal family.

Speaking to Oprah, the 39-year-old described feeling “trapped” while suffering from suicidal thoughts during her time as a working royal.

“You couldn’t just go. You couldn’t. I mean, you have to understand, as well, when I joined that family, that was the last time, until we came here, that I saw my passport, my driver’s license, my keys,” she said.

“All that gets turned over. I didn’t see any of that any more.”

Meghan claimed she didn’t get these items back until after the couple moved to the US.

Royal sources told The Sun that Meghan’s passport had to be kept safe to ensure it did not fall into the wrong hands, but still would have been available to her when needed.

“Of course the Royal Family would want to keep Meghan’s passport safe,” royal author Margaret Holder told the publication.

“But it’s unthinkable she didn’t carry it for personal and private trips such as her New York baby shower, travelling to see friends in Canada, partying in Amsterdam and going to Lake Como with George Clooney.”

The publication also revealed Meghan flew off on 13 holidays after she began dating Harry, including trips to New York, Ibiza, Botswana, Italy and Amsterdam.

Meghan didn’t specify exactly when her passport was taken, only stating it was when she joined the family, which likely refers to the time after her marriage to Harry.

However, the couple also took part in official royal tours following their nuptials, visiting Morocco, South Africa and Australia, as well as New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji.

Meghan would have needed her passport for these visits, with only the Queen not required to have a passport when travelling abroad.

Here are some more of the couple’s claims that have been contested.

Meghan and Harry's 'secret wedding'

Meghan and Harry told Oprah that they secretly got married in a private ceremony three days before their grand public wedding.

“We called the Archbishop of Canterbury, and we just said, ‘Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us’,” Meghan said.

The Archbishop agreed, Meghan said, and married them in their backyard, with only the three of them present.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxotAfKgy1o/

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)

However, under the rules of the Church of England, all weddings require at least two witnesses and must take place somewhere where the public has “unrestricted access” during the ceremony so any valid objections can be made.

A couple who are lawfully married can also not legally remarry, suggesting that one of the two ceremonies was just an exchange of vows.

Reverend David Green, Vicar of St Mary’s, West Malling and the Rector of St Michael’s, Offham commented on the revelation shortly after the interview.

“You can’t get married twice. So what was the thing three days before? And if it was a marriage, what on earth are we doing ‘playing’ at prayer/holy matrimony for cameras,” he tweeted.

Reverend Green has called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to clarify Meghan’s claims.

Archie's prince title

During the interview, Meghan exposed a series of conversations that were reportedly had before Archie’s birth regarding what his title would be and whether he would have security protection.

She said she and Harry were told their son would not receive the title of prince and wouldn’t receive security as a result.

“The idea of the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be,” Meghan said. “It’s not their right to take it away.”

Many UK outlets hit back at this comment, pointing out it wasn’t Archie’s “right” to receive the prince title.

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A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)

Under rules brought in by George V in 1917, only the children and grandchildren of a sovereign have the automatic right to be a prince or princess, and use the HRH title.

However, Meghan actually brought up this rule during the interview, noting that when Charles becomes king, Archie will be entitled to a prince title.

She then claimed while she was pregnant there was talk of “changing the convention”.

Under George V’s declaration, of the Queen’s great-grandchildren only Prince George is actually entitled to be a prince because he is in the direct line of succession to the throne as the eldest son of Prince William, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

Ahead of George’s birth, the Queen stepped in to issue letters patent, ensuring that all Kate and William’s children would have prince and princess titles.

Meghan hasn't seen her sister for 19 years

In clips of the interview released later by CBS, Meghan spoke briefly about her half-sister Samantha, who has launched multiple of attacks on the duchess over the years.

Meghan was asked about what Samantha claims will be a tell-all book about her half-sister, titled The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister, which the 56-year-old promised will expose “hidden truths” about the Markle family.

Meghan cast doubt on how much truth will be in her half-sister’s book, claiming they haven’t seen each other in almost two decades.

“I think it would be very hard to tell all when you don’t know me. I mean, this is a very different situation than my dad, right? When you talk about betrayal, betrayal comes from someone that you have a relationship with,” Meghan told Oprah.

“I don’t feel comfortable talking about people that I really don’t know.”

Samantha shot down these claims, using a photo of the pair of them at her graduation in 2008 as proof.

“She had said ‘I haven’t seen Samantha in 19 years’. Well she was at my graduation from my bachelor’s degree. There was so many photos in the media … and that was 2008 so don’t know about you but if you do the math, 2008 to now is not 19 years,” she told Fifi, Fev & Nick on The Fox.

Meghan never researched the royals

One of the first things Meghan told Oprah was that she was “naive” about what joining the royal family would mean.

She said while she was aware of the royals, she didn’t grow up knowing much about the family and royal protocols.

“It wasn’t part of something that was part of conversation at home. It wasn’t something that we followed,” she said.

“I didn’t do any research. I’d never looked up my husband online – everything I needed to know, he was telling me.”

However, Meghan’s half-sister Samantha Markle claims her sister knew more about the royal family than she let on, pointing out she visited Buckingham Palace as a teenager.

Speaking to Fifi, Fev & Nick on Melbourne radio station Fox FM earlier this week, Samantha went as far as to claim her sister had been “strategising” to get close to Harry and even studied Princess Diana’s mannerisms.

“Meghan went to great lengths to study Diana, to mimic her clothing, to mimic her body language and to wear Diana’s perfume on their first date,” Samantha said.

“Don’t tell me my sister didn’t know who Harry was.”

Just to be clear, Meghan never claimed not to know who Harry was, only that she didn’t know a great deal about the royal family before meeting him.

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