Meghan Markle On ‘Almost Unsurvivable’ Online Hate She Got While On Maternity Leave

Meghan Markle opened up about what it was like to be the “most trolled person of 2019,” after facing an “almost unsurvivable” barrage of hatred that year.

“I’m told that in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world ― male or female,” the Duchess of Sussex said in a joint interview with her husband, Prince Harry, on an episode of the “Teenager Therapy” podcast released Saturday to mark World Mental Health Day.

“Eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible. I was on maternity leave with a baby,” she said. “But what was able to be manufactured and churned out ― it’s almost unsurvivable.”

“That’s so big you can’t even think of what that feels like,” the royal added. “Because I don’t care if you’re 15 or if you’re 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging.”

Meghan said that part of the reason she and Harry are focused on fighting online negativity and the spread of disinformation is wanting to be open about this experience with people and help others understand the harm online connection — and disconnection — can cause.

“Even though our experience is unique to us and obviously can seem very different to what people can experience on the day-to-day, it’s still a human experience ― and that’s universal,” she said.

“We all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt, we all know what it feels like to be isolated or othered,” Meghan said, praising the “Teenager Therapy” hosts — five self-described “stressed, sleep deprived, yet energetic” students at Loara High School in Anaheim, California — for their work, which helps others feel less alone.

Meghan Markle in March 2019, when she was pregnant with her son, Archie.
Meghan Markle in March 2019, when she was pregnant with her son, Archie.
Meghan Markle in March 2019, when she was pregnant with her son, Archie./Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images

Harry and Meghan recorded the podcast with three of its hosts — Gael Aitor, Kayla Suarez and Thomas Pham — at a properly socially distanced location in the couple’s new community of Montecito, California, and wore masks the entire time.

The group also spoke about removing the stigma around mental health (something Harry has also long championed in his work as a royal), how to prioritize mental health, and what a healthier world might look like. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a busy schedule over the coming days. On Sunday, they will host a live video chat with activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai to mark the International Day of the Girl.

On Tuesday, Meghan will appear at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit for the second time to talk about chasing “her convictions with action.”

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