The Duchess of Sussex has spoken about the “almost unsurvivable” online abuse she experienced in a podcast to mark World Mental Health Day.
Appearing alongside her husband Prince Harry on the popular Teenage Therapy podcast, Meghan said she was told that “in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world – male or female”.
“[For] eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible, I was on maternity leave with the baby – but what was able to be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost unsurvivable, it’s so big you can’t even think what that feels like,” she said.
Introducing themselves as Harry and Meghan, the pair talked about their experiences of loss and grief, with Harry stating that “every single one of us” should be talking about our mental health.
Meghan said her mental health suffered due to the trolling she was targeted with.
“I don’t care if you’re 15 or 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging,” she said.
This was especially an issue for many during the coronavirus lockdown, she said, when “if you’re not in school then you are finding yourself on your devices or online more”.
“Yes, it’s a great way to connect but it also ends up being a place where there is a lot of disconnected,” she added.
“We all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt, we all know what it feels like to be isolated, and I think that’s why the work you guys are doing here is so important,” she said.
Harry said it is “very easy to be sucked in and consumed by negativity”, but everyone has “the choice to be able to cut that out of our lives”.
He said: “Hate following has become a thing, you don’t need to do that. Just as much as we worry about, be concerned, and take notice of what we put in our bellies as a diet, the same applies for our eyes and our mind, what we’re consuming is affecting us.
“For me, I made the choice not to read it, not to see it, and to remove myself from that, and to very much focus on the uplifting and the hopeful side.”
The release of the podcast comes a day after a Republican congressman wrote to Britain’s ambassador to the US to ask that the Sussexes “no longer attempt to interfere” in the US election after Meghan and Harry called on Americans to get out and vote in a video for Time magazine.
In the clip released last month, Meghan said:, “Every four years we are told the same thing, that this is the most important election of our lifetime, but this one is”.
Harry added: “As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity.”
They didn’t specifically mention Donald Trump, but in his letter to the British ambassador, Jason Smith, a Republican member of Congress for Missouri, said he believed it was a serious breach of the Royal Family’s policy of political neutrality.
He requested the British government make sure they “no longer attempt to interfere”, “or be stripped of all titles, styles, and privileges.”
Meanwhile, Prince William has continued his focus of campaigning on the environment, with a video message recorded next to a giant oak tree, explaining how his own Royal Family tree has inspired him to help protect the planet.
In a TED talk recorded in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the Duke of Cambridge said: “Growing up in my family gives you a certain sense of history. I’m simply the latest in a line that can be traced back generations.”
It was streamed online as part of a virtual conference focusing on championing solutions to the climate crisis featuring talks from dozens of high profile individuals.
Talking about the need for action now, Prince William said: “Our speed of innovation has been incredible. But so too has the acceleration of our impact. Over my grandmother’s lifetime, the last 90 years or so, our impact has accelerated so fast that our climate, oceans, air, nature and all that depends on them are in peril.
“This oak has stood here for centuries. But never has it faced a decade like this. We start this new decade knowing that it is the most consequential period in history. The science is irrefutable. If we do not act in this decade, the damage that we have done will be irreversible and the effects felt not just by future generations, but by all of us alive today.”