Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shared chilling details of the extent of her suffering during yesterday's explosive Oprah interview, with one photo providing a huge clue to her secret pain.
During the shock tell-all, the 39-year-old explained how the barrage of criticism she faced after marrying Prince Harry took a toll on her mental health.
She said it eventually reached a "breaking point" where she felt she "didn't want to be alive anymore" – but claimed she was refused help from the royal family.
"It was all happening just because I was breathing. I was ashamed to admit it at the time, and admit it to Harry because of how much loss he's suffered, but I knew that I didn't want to be alive anymore," she said.
"That was a very real, clear, constant thought. He just cradled me. I went to the institution and said I needed help, and I was told it wouldn't be good for the institution.
"I went to human resources and said 'I need help'. In my old job there was a union that would protect me. They said 'My heart goes out to you, but you're not a paid employee of the institution'."
The former Suits star, who is pregnant with her second child – a daughter due in the American summer – revealed she struggled with suicidal thoughts, and said one photo in particular provided a clue to her struggles.
She was referring to pictures taken of the royal couple at Cirque du Soleil's Totem in support of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall in London on January 16, 2019.
Photographs taken at the glamorous event show the couple beaming and apparently carefree, with Meghan – who was pregnant with her first child, Archie, at the time – glowing in a sparkly evening gown.
But according to Meghan, the photo also shows the couple holding hands so tightly the whites of their knuckles showed.
Earlier that day, Meghan had told her husband how seriously her mental health had been affected, and when he told her he didn't believe she was well enough to attend the event, she said she insisted upon it because she was afraid of what she might do if she were left alone.
"We had to go to an official event… A friend said, 'I know you don't look at pictures, by my God, you guys look so great.' And I zoomed in and what I saw was the truth of what that moment was," she said.
"That picture, if you zoom in, what I see is how tightly his knuckles are gripped around mine, you can see the white of our knuckles.
"Because we are smiling and doing our job but we're both just trying to hold on and every time those lights went down in that royal box, I was just weeping.
"And he was gripping my hand and then it was, 'Okay intermission's coming, lights are about come on. Everyone's looking at us again.'
"You have to just be on again. And that's, I think, it's so important for people to remember you've no idea what's going on for someone behind closed doors. You've no idea.
"Even the people that smile the biggest smiles and shine the brightest lights."
Meghan said she "just didn't see a solution" to her suffering and that initially, she felt "ashamed" to admit the extent of her trauma to Harry, because of "how much loss he suffered" already.
Body language expert Judi James told Fabulous Digital the pictures taken that night showed how "protective" Harry and "sad" Meghan struggled through the event.
"Harry did tend to be less skilled at hiding his feelings in public and while Meghan's brave face includes some cheek-rounding smiles and active listening signals here," she told the publication.
"Harry's body language suggests inner tension as he performs a one-handed barrier gesture plus a very rigid social smile that doesn't look prompted by happiness.
"Harry also appears to have adopted a more protective pose with Meghan here, walking slightly ahead and leading her by the hand.
"His hand is on top in the clasp and the way her fingers are curled around his hand suggests some vulnerability."
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
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