It's rare that we hear such honest stories from members of the royal family, but as we've discovered over the years Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are anything but your traditional royals—speaking on everything from mental health to the damages a role in public life can take.
In a raw, first-person essay for the New York Times, the Duchess of Sussex has detailed the "unbearable grief" she suffered following a miscarriage earlier this year.
Markle described the experience as a "sharp cramp", one she reveals happened while holding her 18-month-old son Archie Harrison.
"I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right," she wrote. "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second."
"Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband's hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we'd heal."
Meghan adds, "Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning."
Meghan goes on to reference the now-famous moment between herself and journalist Tom Bradbury in the ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, who asked the mother if she was OK.
Reflecting on that moment, she wrote: "I recalled a moment last year when Harry and I were finishing up a long tour in South Africa. I was exhausted. I was breastfeeding our infant son, and I was trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye. 'Are you OK?' a journalist asked me.
"I answered him honestly, not knowing that what I said would resonate with so many—new mums and older ones, and anyone who had, in their own way, been silently suffering. My off-the-cuff reply seemed to give people permission to speak their truth. But it wasn't responding honestly that helped me most, it was the question itself."
With this experience, Meghan looks back to that simple gesture, writing, "Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heartbreak as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, “Are you OK?”'