Meghan Markle's Friend Says There Is Proof Royal Family Knew of Her Struggles

Following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's tell-all interview, actress Janina Gavankar spoke out about the duchess' alleged communication with the monarchy about her mental health struggles.

By Corinne Heller Mar 10, 2021 4:38 PMTags

There is proof that the family and staff of the U.K. monarchy knew about Meghan Markle's mental health struggles, one of her friends says, days after the Duchess of Sussex revealed she considered suicide after being refused treatment while she was a working royal.

Markle, who is pregnant, had made her shocking comments to Oprah Winfrey for a CBS tell-all interview with Prince Harry that aired on Sunday, March 7. On Tuesday, March 9, Queen Elizabeth II broke her silence about the bombshell special, saying in a statement, "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan."

"You know, after reading this short statement that came out from Buckingham Palace, I thought two things, Meghan's friend of 17 years and The Morning Show actress Janina Gavankar said in an ITV interview on Wednesday, March 10, "On one side, I thought I am so thankful that they are finally acknowledging the experience. But on the other side, I know the family and the staff were well aware of the extent of it and through their recollections may vary, ours don't, because we lived through it with them. And there are many emails and texts to support that."

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's History-Making Moments

Janina added, "I don't know who [specifically] knew. I know that the family and the staff knew."

In her and Harry's interview with Oprah, Meghan said, "I was really ashamed 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. But I knew that if I didn't say it, that I would do it...I just didn't want to be alive any more. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. And I remember—I remember how he just cradled me....I went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. I said that, 'I've never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere.' And I was told that I couldn't, that it wouldn't be good for the institution."

Janina Gavankar/Instagram

"I went to human resources, and I said, 'I just really—I need help,'" the former actress continued. "Because in my old job, there was a union, and they would protect me. And I remember this conversation like it was yesterday, because 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 of the institution.'"

Meghan added, "This wasn't a choice. This was emails and begging for help, saying very specifically, 'I am concerned for my mental welfare.' And people going, 'Oh, yes, yes, it's disproportionately terrible what we see out there to anyone else.' But nothing was ever done, so we had to find a solution...I thought it would have solved everything for everyone, right?"

When asked by Oprah if she was thinking of harming yourself or having suicidal thoughts, the duchess responded, "Yes. This was very, very clear."

Meghan also confirmed to Oprah that at the time, she wanted to check into a health facility to get treatment, adding, "You can't just do that. I couldn't, you know, call an Uber to the palace."

Also during their interview with Oprah, Meghan and Harry said that a royal family member, who they did not identify, had expressed to the Duke of Sussex "concerns and conversations about how dark" their future child’s "skin might be when he's born."

In her statement, the queen said, "The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).