Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Showed 'Courage' in Sharing Mental Health Struggles, White House Says

The White House is tiptoeing around the discussion about Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

"Meghan Markle is a private citizen, and so is Harry," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday, a day after the interview aired on CBS. "At this point, for anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles with mental health and tell their own personal story takes courage. That's certainly something the president believes in."

Psaki said the White House wouldn't comment further, aside from noting the Biden administration's "strong and abiding relationship with the British people and a special partnership with the government of the United Kingdom on a range of issues."

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have long been close with Harry, working with the prince on military matters while Biden was vice president under Barack Obama. The Bidens have attended the annual Invictus Games alongside Harry multiple times.

In the interview with Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed that they relinquished their royal duties and moved to the United States because of the treatment Markle received in the press and out of fears for their young son's safety. They also revealed that they heard racial remarks in conversations with unnamed members of the royal family and said that Markle was driven to suicidal thoughts.

"All around this same time, we have in tandem the conversation of [baby Archie] won't be given security," Markle told Winfrey. "He's not going to be given a title and also concerns and conversations as how dark his skin might be when he's born."

England is one of the United States' closest allies. Queen Elizabeth sent a private message to Biden ahead of his inauguration in January and is expected to host the president at a reception ahead of the G7 summit later this year.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last year that they would be stepping away from their official royal duties and were seeking a lower profile. Harry's mother, Princess Diana, died in a car accident after she was chased by paparazzi.

During the interview that aired Sunday, Harry said he was disappointed that his family didn't speak out against the racism that Markle, who is biracial, has faced. "No one from my family ever said anything. That hurts," Harry said.

Ahead of the interview, Buckingham Palace offered reporters an indirect response to the accusations. The tabloid media, meanwhile, has seized on the issue and published stories questioning Markle's role.

"The Duke and Duchess are no longer working members of the royal family and therefore any decisions they take with regard to media commitments are matters for them," the palace said in a statement first reported by the Daily Mail. "As non-working [members of the Royal Family] they are under no obligation to inform the Royal Household of such plans."

Harry Meghan
Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in a CBS special broadcast on March 7. Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese