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Meghan Markle says she was warned not to marry Prince Harry

The Duchess of Sussex tried to adopt a "British sensibility of a stiff upper lip" in face of tabloid scrutiny but found it to be internally "damaging."
/ Source: TODAY

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, says she was warned about marrying Prince Harry because the British tabloids would "destroy" her life if she became part of the royal family.

The former Meghan Markle admitted in a documentary that aired Sunday night on London's ITV that she was not prepared for the intense spotlight of the British tabloids that came with entering into a relationship with Harry.

"It's hard. I don't think anybody could understand that,'' she said. "In all fairness, I had no idea, which probably sounds difficult to understand here, but when I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy, but my British friend said to me, 'I'm sure he's great, but you shouldn't do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.'

"And I very naively — I'm an American we don't have that there. 'What are you talking about, that doesn't make any sense.' I didn't get it. So it's been complicated."

The intensity of the media glare is such that a source close to the royal couple told NBC News that they will soon be taking a break from public life, including spending some time in America.

"The duke and duchess have a full schedule of engagements and commitments until mid-November, after which they will be taking some much-needed family time,'' the source said.

The Duchess of Sussex says she tried to steel herself for the pressure she would face in marrying Harry, but she still was not fully prepared for it.

"I've said for a long time to H — that's what I call him — it is not enough to just survive something, right?" she said. "That's not the point of life. You've got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy, and I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip.

"I tried, I really tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging, and the biggest thing that I know is that I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought that it would be fair, and that's the part that's really hard to reconcile."

Harry released a rare statement during the couple's recent trip in to Africa speaking out against the treatment his wife has received from the media.

He revealed that she is suing Associated Newspapers, which owns the Mail on Sunday, for publishing what was a private letter to her estranged father earlier this year.

Harry has also filed lawsuits against the owners of a pair of British tabloids for alleged phone hacking that involved illegally intercepting voicemail messages.

He compared the treatment of his wife to the tabloid furor that surrounded his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash when Harry was 12 while being chased by paparazzi.

"I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum,'' he said in the ITV documentary.

The Duchess of Sussex also grew emotional in the documentary when discussing her vulnerability as a new mother to 5-month-old son Archie under the media spotlight.

"Look, any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging,'' she said. "And then when you have a newborn, you know?"

"And especially as a woman, it's really, it's a lot, so you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed, it's ... well, I guess I also 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."