During Prince Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duchess of Sussex revealed she felt so unsupported by the Palace during mental health struggles that she reached out to one of Princess Diana’s friends in desperation.
While Meghan didn’t mention the friend by name, could it be British psychotherapist Julia Samuel, a one-time close associate of the late Princess, and an enduring confidante for Princes William and Harry as they forged out their own adult lives?
Meghan, who’s pregnant with a baby girl, told Oprah in the bombshell interview that will air on UK television on Monday, that when she was struggling with serious mental health problems during her pregnancy with the couple’s son Archie she ‘didn’t know who to even turn to’.
The royal revealed that her darkest period, leaving her contemplating suicide, came after the couple had announced they were expecting their first child: ‘One of the people that I reached out to, who’s continued to be a friend and confidante, was one of my husband’s mom’s best friends, one of Diana’s best friends.’
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Meghan Markle told Oprah Winfrey that she was suicidal when she was part of the Royal Family living in the UK and told her husband: ‘I don’t want to be alive anymore’, She revealed that she reached out to ‘my husband’s mom’s friend’ when the Palace couldn’t help her
Julia Samuel MBE, a leading British psychotherapist, was a close friend of the late Princess Diana and has remained close to both William and Harry
Julia Samuel and the late Princess of Wales pictured at Wimbledon in 1994; The two women met at a dinner in 1987 and ‘instantly clicked’
The Duchess added: ‘Because it’s, like, who else could understand what’s – what it’s actually like on the inside?’
A psychotherapist for more than 30 years, Julia Samuel has remained close to both Prince William and Prince Harry following the death of their mother in August 1997.
She is godmother to Prince George and during the early nineties, was regularly seen by Princess Diana’s side on trips to the gym and the cinema, offering the royal a chance to do ‘normal things’.
MailOnline has contacted Ms Samuel for comment.
Close: Godmother to Prince George, Julia and Prince William are both patrons for the The Child Bereavement Charity, pictured together in 2009
In 2015, Julia Samuel, far left, and Prince William hosted a 21st birthday dinner to celebrate the child bereavement charity founded by the psychotherapist alongside other patrons Gary Barlow (second from right) and Ann Chalmers (far right)
Meghan revealed in the interview that she was told checking into a mental health institution while she was struggling during her first pr ‘wouldn’t be good for the institution’
The main bombshells from the Oprah interview
– Meghan’s mental health
The Duchess of Sussex revealed she had suicidal thoughts and said: ‘I just didn’t want to be alive any more.’
She said she begged for help, and asked to go somewhere to get help, and approached one of the most senior people in the institution, but was told it would not look good.
The duchess said: ‘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.’
– Royal family accused of racism
Meghan said, when she was pregnant with Archie, an unnamed member of the royal family raised ‘concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born’.
Asked whether there were concerns that her child would be ‘too brown’ and that would be a problem, Meghan said: ‘If that is the assumption you are making, that is a pretty safe one.’
Pushed by Winfrey on who had those conversations, Meghan refused to say, adding: ‘I think that would be very damaging to them.’
She added: ‘That was relayed to me from Harry, those were conversations the family had with him, and I think it was really hard to be able to see those as compartmentalised conversations.’
– Archie’s title
Meghan suggested she and Harry wanted Archie to be a prince so he would have security and be protected.
The duchess expressed her shock at ‘the idea of our son not being safe’, and the idea of the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way as other grandchildren.
Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, is not entitled to be an HRH or a prince due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by King George V.
He will be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne.
As the first born son of a duke, Archie could have become Earl of Dumbarton – one of Harry’s subsidiary titles – or have been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, instead at the time of his birth, a royal source said Harry and Meghan had decided he should a regular Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
– The Prince of Wales
The Duke of Sussex said his father the Prince of Wales stopped taking his calls while Harry and Meghan were in Canada ‘because I took matters into my own hands. I needed to do this for my family’.
He said Charles wanted him to put his plans in writing.
– The Queen
Harry denied that he had ‘blindsided’ his grandmother Queen with the bombshell statement about stepping down as senior royal.
The duke said he believed the report probably could have come from ‘within the institution’.
– The Duchess of Cambridge
Meghan said Kate made her cry ahead of her wedding.
Reports circulated ahead of the Sussexes’ nuptials that Meghan left Kate in tears at Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress fitting.
But Meghan told Winfrey the ‘reverse happened’.
Meghan said she was not sharing the information to be ‘disparaging’, but added it was ‘really important for people to understand the truth’.
‘She’s a good person,’ the duchess added
– Baby Sussex is a girl
Harry and Meghan revealed they are expecting a baby girl.
Asked if they were ‘done’ with two children, Harry said ‘done’ and Meghan said: ‘Two is it.’
She also confirmed the baby is due in the ‘summertime’.
Speaking about her how her mental health during her pregnancy deteriorated to the point where she ‘couldn’t be left alone’ and told her husband she ‘didn’t want to be alive anymore’, Meghan told Oprah Buckingham Palace’s HR department ignored her plea for help because she wasn’t a ‘paid employee’.
Describing how she considered ending her life believing it ‘was better for everyone’, Meghan said: ‘I knew that if I didn’t say it, that I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.
‘And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. I remember how he just cradled me. 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’.
She said that after confiding in her husband, she was forced to go to the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event in January 2019, claiming photos from that night ‘haunt me’.
She told Oprah she later reached She said: ‘When I joined that family, that was the last time I saw my passport, my driving licence, my keys – all of that gets turned over’.
Meghan said Harry had ‘saved my life’ by agreeing to move to Los Angeles.
Julia Samuels was born Julia Guinness before marrying into the Hill Samuel banking dynasty.
The leading psychotherapist currently works with grieving parents and holds an NHS post at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where for more than 20 years she has been maternity and paediatric counsellor – a role she pioneered.
Julia and the late Princess Diana’s strong friendship has been well documented. The two women met at a dinner in 1987 and ‘instantly clicked’, Samuel told You Magazine in 2015.
‘We started laughing together. There was something about her and something about me that just worked,’ Julia recalled. ‘It was a lovely thing.’
The women lived close to each other in Kensington and Diana would sometimes pick up Julia’s children from school.
The friends were often spotted having lunch, at the gym or going to the cinema together. Diana invited Julia into the Royal Box at Wimbledon and backstage at Elton John concerts.
Samuel said that Diana enjoyed the sense of normality that Julia offered her, saying: ‘She loved it when she could do the ordinary stuff like washing up or emptying the dishwasher.
‘She was brilliant at moving between these two worlds and whether she was meeting President Reagan or having supper in my kitchen, she was always herself.’
In the sensational interview, in which Meghan Markle offered her version of life in the confines of the royal family, the Duchess of Sussex also described her ‘pain’ that officials had denied Archie the title of prince and accused Buckingham Palace of failing to protect him by denying him 24/7 security.
Meghan refused to say which royal had the conversation with Harry about Archie’s skin colour, claiming it would be ‘damaging’ to the person in her husband’s family who raised it.
She told Miss Winfrey that it was ‘a pretty safe’ assumption to suggest that the royal family member was ‘concerned’ that Archie being ‘too brown’ was ‘a problem’.
When asked if it was ‘important’ for Meghan that Archie be called a prince, she said she doesn’t have any attachment to the ‘grandeur’ of official titles.
But she said it was about ‘the idea of our son not being safe, and also the idea of the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be.’
Prince Harry – who later joined his wife and Miss Winfrey for the last part of the interview – described the conversation as ‘awkward’, saying it left him ‘shocked’.
But he declined to reveal anything more about what was said, saying: ‘That conversation I’m never going to share.’