Like the most seasoned of Hollywood performers, Meghan saved her best lines for last.

Standing alone at the close of the ITV documentary, with a simple trench dress and a garden for a backdrop, the actor-turned-Duchess, 38, delivered the masterstroke that could change the game for the Sussexes.

"I never thought it would be easy," she said of the man she had fallen in love with and her new life as part of Britain's royal family.

Harry & Meghan: An African Journey teaser trailer. Video / ITV

Meghan Markle is 'existing, not living', Prince Harry 'wants to leave the UK entirely'
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex refuses to 'fade away'
How Jennifer Aniston upstaged Meghan Markle
Cunning trick hidden in Meghan Markle's royal tour wardrobe


"But I thought it would be fair."

Just prior, the new mum had fought back tears and explained how she had tried to adopt the "British sensibility of a still upper lip" but realised it could be "internally damaging". She spoke about the happiness of being in love and the vulnerability of pregnancy and early motherhood.

But it was the simple appeal to old fashioned fairness that struck a chord with viewers. It was echoed widely across social media in an outpouring of sympathy for the young couple clearly struggling to cope with the intense media spotlight.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle launch lawsuit against tabloids. Video / Nine News

I'm not suggesting Meghan was acting. Rather, that her decision to be honest, visible and vulnerable created a powerful moment that has done more for the Sussexes in recent months than artful Instagram posts and guest-edited magazines.

The decision to open up and tell it to the public straight seemed part of the authentic approach mentioned by Prince Harry more than once in the 60-minute documentary.

It was the velvet glove over the iron-fisted announcement they were suing members of the tabloid press and seemed to mark a line in the sand after a tumultuous year of public life.

Tom Bradby's questions prompted an honest and heartbreaking response from Meghan. Photo / ITV
Tom Bradby's questions prompted an honest and heartbreaking response from Meghan. Photo / ITV

While at many points throughout the documentary Prince Harry appeared lonely and lost, on one issue he was resolute; protecting his family from what he sees as the forces that killed his mother.

On Monday, many applauded his showcasing of public vulnerability, with Diana Award chief executive Tessy Oj saying that is exactly the kind of admission Prince Harry has championed through his Heads Together campaign.


"People might be in the public eye, they still have to be mentally well," she said.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made global headlines with her raw admission of life in the spotlight in a searing documentary that showed a couple under pressure. Photo / ITV
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made global headlines with her raw admission of life in the spotlight in a searing documentary that showed a couple under pressure. Photo / ITV

Professor Kate Williams said online the "three-pronged media strategy" of legal action, statement and documentary showed that "Harry feels that the old royal strategy of ignoring is not going to succeed. Appeal to public opinion — which I think will work."

Viewers also applauded the couple with Furqan Soomro saying the documentary was "so raw and powerful, genuinely feel so much sympathy for Meghan — shame on ITV news for doing exactly what Meghan is talking about!"

Another user said: "Stop making up lies or a mean narrative to get views! Stop the bullying and harassment! What beautiful articulate and intelligent woman the Duchess of Sussex is. What heart warming piece for a Sunday night."

BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker said it was "hard not to like" the couple.

"They are clearly very much in love but struggling in the spotlight. Some very telling quotes … "I never thought that this would be easy but I thought it would be fair and that's the part that's really hard to reconcile"

Another user also quoted Meghan's statement: "Meghan Markle says she never thought Royal life would be easy but fair. It hasn't been so #HarryAndMeghan"

"No one deserves the hate Meghan gets, absolutely heartbreaking #HarryAndMeghan," said one user called Honest Mum.

"I think Meghan is ace. I really do. She is intelligent, passionate, honest and a breath of fresh air. She stands up for what she believes it. The Press need to give her a break. Give her respect," another said.

Despite the support, not all news has been positive with Prince William's team reportedly "taken aback" that Prince Harry allowed clips from the documentary to be released in the middle of his government-funded trip to Pakistan with Kate.

On Monday, Kensington Palace tweeted a message the Duke of Cambridge had written for English football clubs calling to "change the game on mental health."

"Mental Health can be an issue all too often surrounded by stigma, with people afraid to talk about the challenges they face. But it shouldn't be," he said.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan, who regularly takes Meghan to task on air, also tweeted a series of messages taking aim at the couple.

"Imagine being two staggeringly privileged royal multi-millionaires going to Africa to make a documentary that supposedly 'shines a light' on poverty, violence against women/girls & racial inequality — then in fact making it all about their own terrible struggle? I mean, FFS," he said.

"Props to Tom on his cracking interview scoops (genuinely), but the key moment is not this whine about the media but Harry confirming a rift with William. Big question is why have they fallen out … perhaps Meghan can help with that?"