Royal fact check: How many of Meghan and Harry’s bombshell claims hold up?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey produced shocking, mic-drop moments – but how many are accurate?

Between the confiscated passports, and accusations of racism in the palace, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex came out, guns blazing, against the monarchy they believe have done them dirty.

And while some statements seem legitimate, other claims, including Meghan’s claim she never researched the royal family, seem unlikely.

Archie was refused a royal title

The duchess implied that baby Archie was entitled to a royal title but was refused one on the basis of his skin colour. 

“The idea of the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be … It’s not their right to take it away,” the 39-year-old told Winfrey.

“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or a princess – not knowing what the gender would be – which would be different from protocol.”

But this claim is more complicated than it seems.

Under current protocols, children and male-line grandchildren of the monarch are entitled to be called prince or princess.

Therefore, as discussed by Meghan in the interview, Archie could still become a prince when his grandfather, Prince Charles, becomes king.

This ruling was made by King George V in 1917 to try to curb the ever-expanding monarchy.

However, the Queen has already broken this protocol for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children.

Ahead of Prince George’s birth in 2013, the Queen issued a letters patent that would make an exception for all of Prince William’s younger two children, and ensure they would all receive their titles.

(Prince George would have still received his title as the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales under the protocol. But younger siblings Charlotte and Louis would not.)

The same exception was not made upon Archie’s birth in 2019. Whether or not it has to do with his skin colour or his position in line to the throne is unclear.

Verdict: Semi-factual

Meghan was stripped of her passport

Meghan said her entry into the royal family came at a cost: Her freedom of movement.

“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,” she said. 

Royal sources told The Sun that the duchess’ passport was likely taken from her to be kept safe and ensure it wasn’t lost or stolen.

The couple’s travel plans were also likely organised by palace officials who may have needed the documents at hand.

Meghan and Prince Harry visited several countries during their courtship and later, as part of their royal duties as a couple.

The couple jetted to romantic and exciting destinations, including New York, Ibiza, Botswana, Italy and Amsterdam while they were dating.

Later, they visited Morocco, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga as part of three official royal tours after their nuptials.

If Meghan’s passport was indeed taken, it may have been for safekeeping since the Queen is the only royal who can travel without a passport.

Verdict: Unlikely

Kate Middleton made Meghan cry

When Winfrey quizzed Meghan about a highly publicised story claiming she had made her sister-in-law cry, the duchess said it was the other way around.

‘No, no,” Meghan said.

“The reverse happened.”

Reports of a flower girl’s dress fitting gone wrong dominated headlines in November 2018, and were early indicators the tide was about to turn on the duchess. 

Meghan claimed “everyone in the institution” knew the accusations weren’t true, but that the media had “fed into it” as part of a desire to construct a “narrative of a hero and a villain”.

Of course, unless the Duchess of Cambridge speaks on the matter, there is no way of knowing the validity of the claim.

But given British tabloids’ propensity to villainise Meghan, it’s possible the truth got in the way of a good story here.

Verdict: Likely

Meghan did not research the family

With access to the internet and in a world where we are all secretly keeping tabs on one another, what is the likelihood Meghan didn’t sneak a cheeky Google of her future husband?

“I didn’t do any research about what that would mean,” she said of the prospect of entering the royal family.

“I never looked up my husband online.”

The royal biography, Finding Freedom, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand (a tell-all that the couple later admitted to indirectly contributing to), claims the duke and duchess both spent time cyber-stalking each other before their first date.

“Naturally both participants in this blind date did their homework with a thorough Google search. Harry, who scoped out Meghan on social media, was interested,” the authors wrote.

Ninaki Priddy, Meghan’s maid of honour at her first wedding to Trevor Engelson, has said the duchess was “always fascinated by the royal family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0”.

Meghan is also pictured outside Buckingham Palace on a trip to London as a teenager, years before she would meet the prince.

Verdict: Unlikely

Samantha Markle has not seen the Duchess for 20 years

Meghan’s non-existent relationship with her half-sister, Samantha Markle, was also called into question.

“The last time I saw her must have been at least 18, 19 years,” the duchess told Winfrey, claiming the two barely knew one another.

But a photo of the siblings at Samantha’s graduation in 2008 tells a different story.

“I don’t know how she can say I don’t know her and she was an only child. We’ve got photographs over a lifespan of us together. So how can she not know me?’ Samantha told Inside Edition.

Verdict: False

Concerns over Archie’s skin colour

Since Meghan and Prince Harry, whom the comments were made to, refuse to name the perpetrator, it’s impossible to ascertain whether the accusations have any truth to them.

However, is this the first time the monarchy has been accused of racism? No.

Is this the first time Meghan’s skin colour has been at the centre of a royal firestorm? Also no.

Verdict: Probable

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