The Duke of Sussex landed a lucrative deal with Apple TV, but he started collaborating with Oprah long before quitting royal life.
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Oprah admitted on Thursday that she had been working with Harry on a documentary series exposing the Royal Family since 2019 – shortly after Harry’s state-funded wedding to Meghan and before the pair abruptly quit their royal duties and fled to California.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: Winfrey appeared virtually alongside Harry at the start of the sixth episode of the streaming series The Me You Can’t See on Thursday.
In a brief introduction, Winfrey told the audience that she and her ‘fellow executive producer’ have been working on putting together the docu series since 2019.
‘It’s a project that we were inspired to produce after we first met, really, and talked about some of the most pressing issues of our time,’ Winfrey said at the start of Thursday’s episode.
‘So we spent two years making this series…together,’ Winfrey said on Thursday.
‘Yes, I remember that chat very, very well all that time ago,’ Harry said on Thursday of his conversation with Winfrey in which the two say they spoke about tackling pressing issues like mental health and climate change.
Oprah attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May 2018 which raised eyebrows because many observed they had no idea she even knew the couple.
Then in February this year it was claimed Oprah had only met Meghan once face-to-face before being invited and given a plum seat next to senior royals.
Their sit-down at Kensington Palace months before the 2018 ceremony was reportedly initiated by CBS anchor Gayle King, a mutual friend, who set up an initial phone call between the pair.
But that one-off meeting set the wheels in motion for Oprah becoming an unofficial mentor to Meghan and working with Harry on the documentary series.
Then in March they were interviewed by her for their bombshell interview called ‘Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special’.
Oprah has publicly cultivated a relationship with the couple, and also promoted the Duchess’s range of vegan coffee to her 19.2million Instagram followers.
She is known to have visited her mother Doria for ‘kumquats and yoga in the garden’ and teamed up with Harry to secure the Apple TV deal.
The Sussexes also now live cheek by jowl with her and other high-profile stars in the celebrity-filled Montecito, California.
Harry and his wife started dating in the summer of 2016. Two years later, they wed. The next year, they gave birth to their son.
In January 2020, the couple stunned Queen Elizabeth and the royal family by announcing their intent to step back from senior roles, become financially independent and spend more time in North America.
After 10 days of talks between senior family members, it was agreed the couple will no longer be working royals and will give up their ‘Royal Highness’ titles.
In March 2020, Harry and Meghan carried out their last official engagement at the annual Commonwealth Day service in London.
They moved to California in what papers dub ‘Megxit.’
During the introduction to Thursday’s episode, Winfrey and Harry revealed that the docu series was produced with significant input from an 18-member advisory board of mental health experts.
Winfrey said that she and Harry ‘reached out to the most respected experts in mental health from around the world to create an advisory board who guided every step of the series.’
One of the advisory board members is Nadine Burke Harris, the surgeon general of California.
Prince Harry has spoken candidly about suicide during the bonus episode of his Apple+ TV series.
Speaking with Oprah, the Prince stated that he now feels better equipped with how to respond to someone who tells him they are thinking about ending their own life.
It comes after Harry confessed in an earlier episode that he did not know how to react when wife Meghan Markle told him in early 2019 that she was feeling suicidal.
In the new episode, Harry and Oprah agreed that the best piece of advice they learned while filming the mental health docuseries was to tell a suicidal person that they are ‘not alone’.
‘So many people are afraid of being on the receiving end of that conversation [from a suicidal person] because they don’t feel like they have the right tools to give the right advice,’ Harry stated.
‘But what you want to say is “You’re there”. Listen, because listening and being part of that conversation is without doubt the best first step that you can take.’
In an episode released last week, Harry recalled the moment a pregnant Meghan told him that she wanted to kill herself. She revealed the news shortly before an engagement at Royal Albert Hall in January 2019.
‘I’m somewhat ashamed of the way that I dealt with it,’ Harry revealed.
‘And of course, because of the system that we were in and the responsibilities and the duties that we had, we had a quick cuddle and then we had to get changed to jump in a convoy with a police escort and drive to the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event. Then step out into a wall of cameras and pretend as though everything’s okay.’
Thursday’s bonus episode of The Me You Can’t See also featured conversations with mental health experts and celebrities about suicide.
Actress Glenn Close made an appearance, saying it was important to talk openly about the struggles of suicidal ideation.
Close admitted that she felt some shame for not realizing a family member had been struggling with their mental health.
Harry chimed in, stating: ‘There’s an element of shame that we feel because we’re like “How could we have not have seen it? How could we not know? How did you not feel comfortable enough to share that with me?”‘
He did not saying whether he was directly referring to his own reaction to Meghan telling him that she no longer wanted to live.
Elsewhere in the 90-minute episode, Harry revealed he has bonded with Zak Williams – the son of actor Robin Williams, who lost his life to suicide back in 2014.
In the series, people from around the world discussed their experiences battling issues of depression, trauma, anxiety, and mental illness, and included famous faces like Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, and NBA star DeMar DeRozan.
During the series, Harry said therapy helped him ‘break the cycle.’
‘For me, therapy has equipped me to be able to take on anything,’ he said.
‘I knew if I didn’t do the therapy and fix myself I would lose this woman I could see spending the rest of my life [with].’
He says his family tried to prevent him and Meghan from leaving when she was suicidal and admits to drinking and doing drugs in his 30s.
‘Eventually when I made that decision for my family, I was still told, “You can’t do this,” Harry told Oprah.
‘And it’s like, “Well how bad does it have to get until I am allowed to do this?”
‘She [Markle] was going to end her life. It shouldn’t have to get to that.’
When asked if he has any regrets, he says it is not taking a stand earlier in his relationship with Markle.
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