Despite tabloid rumors for more than a year that she had terrorized her future sister-in-law to the point of tears during the wedding planning process, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, revealed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday that it was actually the other way around — she was the one brought to tears.
“The reverse happened,” Meghan responded when Oprah asked her about the tabloid claims that she drove Kate to tears.
“And I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding. And she was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized. And she brought me flowers and a note, apologizing. And she did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone, right, to just take accountability for it,” she said.
It's a significant revelation — Markle is firing back against scores of anonymous sources who have painted her in a negative light since her relationship with Prince Harry began, the details of which the British tabloid press was all too eager to publish.
In January 2020, BuzzFeed News displayed what those disparities in coverage look like by comparing headlines written about Kate versus those written about Meghan on strikingly similar topics.
In the week leading up to the interview, the tension between the Sussexes and the institution of the royal family spilled over into the public eye.
When CBS announced the interview on Feb. 15, it was slated for 90 minutes of airtime, but on Feb. 28 the primetime special was extended to a two-hour timeslot to "allow for more of the conversation to be shown in full context."
Two days after this change, the Times published a story alleging that Meghan bullied her staff and that a formal complaint about her behavior had been submitted to palace HR in 2018.
The complaint, according to the Times, was written by the couple's then–communications secretary Jason Knauf, and in it he described himself as "very concerned" that Meghan "was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year."
Representatives for the Sussexes fiercely denied the bullying charges, calling the Times story "a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation."
Nonetheless, Buckingham Palace said in a statement Wednesday that it would be opening an investigation into the allegations detailed in the Times story.
The American broadcast rights to the interview, which was produced by Winfrey's Harpo Productions, sold to CBS for what Forbes estimated Friday was between $7 million and $9 million. The network reportedly charged $325,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time during the special program.