Meghan Markle’s friend of 17 years, actress Janina Gavankar, appeared on the U.K.’s This Morning program today, where she cast doubt on the royal family’s claim that they weren’t aware of the full extent of Meghan’s struggles while she was a working royal family member. “Though their ‘recollections may vary,’ ours don’t because we lived through it with them,” Gavankar said, quoting directly from the Palace’s statement. “And there are many emails and texts to support that.”
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Buckingham Palace, after nearly two days of silence, released their very brief statement addressing Meghan and Prince Harry’s bombshell Oprah interview on behalf of the Queen yesterday.
“The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Meghan and Harry.” the statement read. “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
That statement didn’t touch on the bulk of Harry and Meghan’s jarring claims about what happened to them while they were working for the Firm. Those topics include the Duke and Duchess’s claims that a member of the royal family (not the Queen or Prince Philip) had concerns that Archie’s skin would be too dark, the Firm refused Archie security, and the institution refused to let Meghan seek treatment when she struggled with suicidal ideation. It also didn’t address Harry’s statement that the family has an “invisible contract” with the British tabloids and are scared of them. There was much more said, of course, that the royal family didn’t respond to publicly; you can see a comprehensive rundown of the conversation here.
Gavankar was asked by hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby what she thought of the response. “You know, after reading this short statement that came out from Buckingham Palace today I thought two things. At one side, I thought, I’m so thankful that they are finally acknowledging the experience, but on the other side, I know that the family and 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. And there are many emails and texts to support that,” she finished.
“Are you saying that the whole family and the whole staff knew that there was a woman within the palace walls who was deeply struggling?” Schofield asked.
“I don’t know who knew,” she started, adding more generally, “I know that the family and the staff knew.”
“And how did that make her [Meghan] feel?” Schofield asked.
“Well, I think she spoke very well about how she felt,” Gavankar countered.
Willoughby then asked about the racism claims: “I want to ask you as well, the second big grenade of course, is race, the issue of races, and Meghan claimed the royal family did not want Archie to be prince or to offer him security. Meghan said there were concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be. Had she spoken to you about this and what did she say?”
“Yes, she spoke to me about that. She told me what you now know,” Gavankar responded.
“I fully appreciate—have you spoken to her about coming on this show today?” Schofield asked.
“Oh yes, absolutely. I talk to them all the time. We watched the special together actually,” Gavankar said.
“So she’s happy for you to be talking today?” Schofield pressed.
“I—We’re all happy that we’re in a new era,” Gavankar started. “You know, we get to tell the truth. Things are different now, yes. But I will say, I don’t speak for them. I speak for myself.”
The hosts asked her about the accusations that came out from royal aides last week that Meghan allegedly had a bullying complaint filed against her two years ago. Buckingham Palace announced it would be investigating the claim despite Meghan’s communication team calling it “a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.”
Schofield asked Gavankar, “What do you say to the accusations about her bullying people?”
“Well, 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’s not a bully,” Gavankar said. “But I can also say that I am personally glad that people are doing their due diligence because I also know why someone had to leave. And it was for gross misconduct. And the truth will come out: There’s plenty of emails and texts about that.”
“That’s obviously a big thing to say when you’re speaking for yourself. So you must be speaking for her on that particular—” Schofield theorized.
She laughed. “No, I’m speaking for myself. I know—you know, I’m not going to get into the details of it. I don’t feel like that’s my place. But also, I’m just happy that it’s actually getting looked into because the truth really does set you free.”
“And do you believe there are more truths to come?” Schofield asked her.
“Yes, I think that we’re—I mean I feel, I didn’t plan to say this so much, but I really do feel like we’re in a new era,” she finished.
You can watch their full conversation below:
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