Meghan's close friend claims 'paper trail of evidence' proving Duchess sought mental health help from royals

  • Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship

A close friend of the Duchess of Sussex has claimed there paper trail of evidence, including emails, that proves Meghan did seek help from the royal family for issues around her mental health.

Actress Janina Gavankar, a friend of Meghan for some 17 years, said Harry and Meghan are "feeling free" following their explosive interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.

She went on TV today, approved by the Duchess of Sussex to set the record straight. Gavankar speaks to Harry and Meghan regularly and says that they now plan to turn their focus towards the environmental and humanitarian work they had bonded over initially.

In the deeply personal interview Meghan revealed she had experienced suicidal thoughts during her time in the Royal family, while the couple revealed concerns had been raised by a member of the family before the birth of son Archie about "how dark" his skin colour might be.

Buckingham Palace has since responded, saying the allegations "are concerning" and said the issues would be "addressed by the family privately".

The Sussexes were interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in March this year, where the couple took aim at media coverage of them. Credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Ms Gavankar said: "I think they are feeling free. It is nice to see them feel free.

"Now they can get back to what they really were focussed on and how they really met and fell in love, that was through humanitarian and environmental work, they have Archewell (the Sussexes’s charitable organisation).

"They have been doing that kind of work way before they met each other and now they can do it together. It is actually a really good time."

Ms Gavankar said she had felt "worried, terrified, sad" by her friend’s mental health problems

In her interview with Winfrey, Meghan said she had received no help after speaking about her mental health difficulties when working for the Royal family.

She and Harry also also alleged that a fellow royal - not the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh - had been worried about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone might be before he was born.

Meghan tells Oprah about “concerns and conversations' about Archie's skin colour

Ms Gavankar, 40, said she had at the time been made "worried, terrified, sad" by her friend’s mental health problems.

She added: "After reading this short statement that came out from Buckingham Palace today, I felt two things.

"One side, I thought: I am so thankful that they are finally acknowledging the experience.

"But on the other side, I am well aware that the family and the staff were well aware of the extent of it, and though their recollections may vary, ours don’t, because we lived through it with them. There are many emails and texts to support that."

What else we learned from the Harry and Meghan interview

  • Charles ‘stopped taking Harry's calls

  • Meghan’s battle with loneliness

  • Meghan said she was ‘silenced’ and accused royal family of failing to protect her

  • Worries that denying Archie a title could leave him without protection

  • Kate ‘made Meghan cry’ before her wedding

Gavankar, who attended the 2018 Royal Wedding and took the couple’s 2019 Christmas card photo, dismissed allegations of bullying after a number of claims were made against Meghan.

Janina Gavanka seated prior to the start of the wedding ceremony of Harry and Meghan. Credit: AP

"I have known her for 17 years and I have seen the way she regards the people around her and the people she works with, and I can say she is not a bully," the actress said.

“But I can also say that I am personally glad people are doing their due diligence because I also know why someone had to leave, and it was for gross misconduct.

“The truth will come out, there are plenty of emails and texts about that.”

Gavankar also disclosed that she watched the interview special air with both Harry and Meghan.

The palace’s brief statement on Tuesday said the Queen was "saddened" to hear the full extent of the challenges faced by Harry and Meghan in recent years.

It went on to say the issues of race raised by the couple were "concerning", and that while "recollections may vary", they would be addressed by the family privately.

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