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  1. ITV Report

Meghan reveals intense media spotlight has left her struggling to cope as a mum

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

The Duchess of Sussex has revealed she has struggled privately to cope through pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood amid the pressures of press interest in her public life as a member of the Royal Family.

In an emotional admission to ITV's Tom Bradby on her and Prince Harry's recent 10-day tour of Africa, she said the glare of the intense spotlight - and with it incessant and often negative press coverage from some sections of the media - had made things harder at a time when she was already “really vulnerable”.

Meghan told Bradby it’s a “very real thing to be going through behind the scenes” and replied “yes” when asked if it’s “really been a struggle” and she’s “not really ok”.

News at Ten anchor Bradby was travelling with the royal couple and their son Archie on the recent 10-day tour of Africa for an ITV documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which airs on Sunday at 9pm on ITV.

The tour, which ran from the end of September to early October, was notable for the unprecedented statement issued by Prince Harry in which he accused sections of the British tabloid press of pursuing a "ruthless campaign" against his wife.

The Duke of Sussex’s public statement was released on the couple's website on October 1 as it was announced Meghan was suing the Mail on Sunday after it published a private letter she wrote to her father. The paper denies wrongdoing and confirmed it would defend the case.

In his statement, Harry claimed some newspapers had "vilified (his wife) almost daily for the past nine months" and published "lie after lie" at Meghan’s expense because she was out of public view on maternity leave.

Bradby spoke to Meghan in a garden in Johannesburg, South Africa, on her experience of a year which has seen her face ever more public attention before and after giving birth to Archie in May.

  • Tom Bradby discusses the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey

And he raised concerns Harry had shared with him earlier in the trip that she could suffer in the face of the same media pressures he believes harmed his mother Diana.

“He’s obviously very concerned about protecting you, and protecting you from what he felt his mother went through,” Bradby told Meghan.

“It’s obviously an area one has to tiptoe into very gently,” he added, before asking her what the impact had been “on your physical and mental health of all the pressure that you clearly feel under?”

Meghan replied: "Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable.

Meghan said few people have asked her if she's ok. Credit: ITV

"So that was made really challenging and then when you have a newborn … especially as a woman, it’s really, it’s a lot.

"So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mum or trying to be a newlywed."

Asked by Bradby how she was coping, Meghan said: "Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m ok.

"But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes."

Bradby then added: "And the answer is, would it be fair to say, not really ok? That it’s really been a struggle?”

To which Meghan replied: "Yes."

The open admission about her private life came on the same trip Harry revealed to Bradby his grief for his mother Diana is still a "wound that festers".

Prince Harry spoke to Tom Bradby about his grief for his mother. Credit: ITV

Ahead of a visit to an Angola minefield, which saw him emotionally retrace Diana's footsteps 22 years after her death, the Duke of Sussex said everything he does reminds him of his mother.

But he said the media focus on his life as part of the royal family and the "pressures that come with that" means he gets "reminded of the bad stuff, unfortunately".

He said every click and flash of a camera in the public eye instantly gives him "the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best".

The personal difficulties shared by Harry and Meghan were in sharp contrast to the enthusiasm the couple showed publically throughout the trip, including an inspiring visit as the 10-day tour began in South Africa.

Tom Bradby spoke to the royal couple together in Cape Town at the outset of the trip. Credit: ITV

After arriving at the Nyanga township in Cape Town to visit The Justice Desk, a charity supported by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust which teaches young girls to fight back against violence, Meghan enthused about the work being done.

Standing beside Prince Harry, the duchess told Bradby: "Oh my goodness, It’s the most inspiring. We just got here and to see everything that they’re doing.

"But also that it’s not the girls that are feeling empowered, it’s (also) the role that the men and the young boys who are also helping them."

  • Harry & Meghan: An African Journey airs on Sunday at 9pm on ITV