Meghan Markle has urged people to ask one another “Are you OK?” as the world heals from the “loss and pain” of 2020.
The Duchess of Sussex has written a personal and moving piece revealing she suffered a miscarriage in July, and has indicated she is keen to make talking about baby loss less of a taboo.
More than that, she wants to encourage people to share their pain so together we can “take the first steps toward healing”.
Meghan, 39, referenced her interview in 2019, with Tom Bradby while on tour in South Africa.
It was Meghan and Harry’s first tour as a family, as they took Archie with them, who was then just six-months-old.
They were being followed by a team producing a documentary about them and their work, but in the end it wasn’t the charities they met that caught the public’s attention, but their own interviews.
Bradby, who attended the couple’s wedding in 2018 and is a friend of Harry and his brother Prince William, asked the duchess a simple, three word question - “Are you OK?”.
Meghan in response, welled up as she explained that “not many people” had asked her that.
A year later, she wants to make sure people are asking one another how they are, because it can lead to healing.
The Duchess of Sussex said her response to the question wasn’t what she found helpful - but that the question was asked at all.
She revealed, in a deeply personal moment, that as she and husband Harry went to hospital during the miscarriage in July, her mind was taken back to the moment in South Africa once again.
The duchess wrote: “Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realized that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, ‘Are you OK?’”
The 39-year-old recounted what has been a painful year in Western and global history, particularly drawing on the coronavirus pandemic, the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the division in the wake of the US presidential election.
She also cited the social distancing in place because of the pandemic as creating more isolation and loneliness.
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The article, which was published the day before Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving, encouraged people to go past differences of opinion and physical distance to check in with others.
The duchess wrote: “[L]et us commit to asking others, “Are you OK?” As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year.
“We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it’s forcing us to look into one another’s eyes — sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears. For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another.”
She finished on a hopeful note answering “Are we OK?” with “We will be”.
Meghan’s interview and the documentary on South Africa garnered a mixed response when it came out in 2019, with some people unsympathetic to the duchess’s frustrations.
While her response to the question was referred to as a “heart-breaking” and “emotional” by some, others met it with scepticism. Journalist Piers Morgan said the duchess was “privileged” and needed “perspective”, while another commentator said it was “shockingly ungrateful”.
But former First Lady Michelle Obama said online: “Thank you to my friend, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex @sussexroyal, a thoughtful leader who is breaking the mold and making our world better for it.”
Fans and royal watchers online praised the “raw” and “gracious” interview, as well as the comments from Harry, who spoke about the pain he felt when he heard paparazzi cameras, because of the way his mother died.