UK

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, says friends told her not to marry Prince Harry

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPrince Harry on his brother, William: "We are certainly on different paths at the moment"

The Duchess of Sussex has said friends advised her not to marry Prince Harry to avoid pressure from the media.

Meghan, 38, said she was told "you shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life".

In an ITV documentary, she admitted motherhood was a "struggle" due to intense interest from newspapers.

Prince Harry also responded to reports of a rift between him and his brother William, Duke of Cambridge, by saying they were on "different paths".

The duke, 35, said he and Prince William have "good days" and "bad days".

He added: "We are brothers. We will always be brothers.

"We are certainly on different paths at the moment but I will always be there for him as I know he will always be there for me."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption"Not many people have asked if I'm OK," says Meghan

'You've got to thrive'

In the documentary, Meghan said adjusting to royal life had been "hard", adding that she was not prepared for the intensity of the tabloid media scrutiny.

"When I first met my now-husband my friends were really happy because I was so happy," she said.

"But my British friends said to me, 'I'm sure he's great but you shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life'."

Meghan also told the programme that that it was a "struggle" being pregnant and a new mother amid the intense interest from newspapers.

On whether she can cope, Meghan added: "In all honesty I have said for a long time to H - that is what I call him - it's not enough to just survive something, that's not the point of life. You have got to thrive."

'I'll protect my family'

Prince Harry was asked if he worried whether his wife may face the same pressures as his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in 1997 in a car crash in Paris.

He said: "I will always protect my family, and now I have a family to protect.

"So everything that she [Diana] went through, and what happened to her, is incredibly important every single day, and that is not me being paranoid, that is just me not wanting a repeat of the past."

The prince later described his mental health and the way he deals with the pressures of his life as a matter of "constant management".

He said: "I thought I was out of the woods and then suddenly it all came back, and this is something that I have to manage.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The duke and duchess visited southern Africa last month with their son Archie

"Part of this job is putting on a brave face but, for me and my wife, there is a lot of stuff that hurts, especially when the majority of it is untrue."

The Africa tour was Prince Harry, Meghan and their baby son Archie's first official royal tour as a family.

The duchess, who married Prince Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and gave birth to their son Archie this year, spoke about her experiences as a new royal since her wedding day.

An average of 2.8 million people watched the ITV documentary, Meghan and Harry: An African journey, on Sunday night.

Media portrayal 'a very unhappy story'

Harry has learned to be diplomatic. But his words about his brother confirm that, perhaps unsurprisingly given the way his life has changed, they are not that close anymore. Of course, there will always be love. But things have changed.

Meghan is a superb communicator and her message was controlled, carefully thought out and brilliantly delivered. "I never thought it would be easy," she said of tabloid newspaper coverage, "but I thought it would be fair". She's clearly horrified at her portrayal over the past few months. The British pride themselves on being fair and her use of that word stung.

"Has it been a struggle?" pressed Tom Bradby. "Yes," said Meghan. Harry acknowledged that he still struggles with his mental health. The couple are feeling and talking about the pressure and Harry now sees the shadow of his mother in every camera, every headline. This was a very unhappy story.

Which is odd. Because they are much-loved and - with Harry's energy and Meghan's back story - continue to touch the parts that other royals don't. But now there is a long, low rumble of discontent.

In a statement released at the beginning of this month, Prince Harry said his wife was the latest "victim" of a British tabloid press which "wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences".

He said "knowingly false and malicious" reports and "continual misrepresentations" were made by "select media outlets".

The duke and duchess are both bringing legal actions against the press, with Meghan suing the Mail on Sunday over a claim that it unlawfully published one of her private letters.

Prince Harry filed his own proceedings at the High Court against the owners of the Sun, the defunct News of the World, and the Daily Mirror, in relation to alleged phone-hacking dating back more than a decade.

More on this story