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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, opens up about her family

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For the first time Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, publicly discusses her father Thomas Markle and her half-sister's forthcoming tell-all book in this previously unaired clip from her and Prince Harry's sit-down with Oprah Winfrey.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- And we're excited that Oprah is still with us to talk about another exclusive clip from her interview with Prince Harry and Meghan. In this unaired excerpt, the Duchess of Sussex talks publicly for the very first time about her father and her half sister, Samantha Markle. She tells Oprah how she felt when she found out her dad was working with the tabloids.

MEGHAN MARKLE: There was such an obsession about anything in my world, including tracking down my parents. And I did everything I could to protect both of them in that media frenzy. But for over a year, the UK tabloids were trying to find my dad, offering people so much money to try to find his address. Once they did, I remember being told there was a huge headline like, we found him, or we've got him. You're talking about someone's father. And from that point, the tabloids, they moved into the apartment next door and across from him, descended on this small town, or just giving him gifts. The whole thing brings us to where we are today.

OPRAH: Did it feel like betrayal when you found out your father was working with the tabloids?

MEGHAN MARKLE: I'm just trying to decide if I'm comfortable even talking about that. If we're going to use the word betrayal, it's because when I asked him-- when we were told by the comms team, this is a story that was going to be coming out-- which by the way, the tabloids had apparently known for a month or so and decided to hold until the Sunday before our wedding, because they wanted to create drama, which is also a really key point in all this. They don't report the news. They create the news.

We called my dad and I asked him. And he said, no, absolutely not. I said, you know, the institution has never intervened for anything for us. But they can try to go in and kill this story. But if they do this once, we're not going to be able to use that same leverage to protect our own kids one day.

OPRAH: He said no, absolutely not, he hadn't been talking to them?

MEGHAN MARKLE: Yeah.

OPRAH: So he basically lied to you.

MEGHAN MARKLE: Well, and so when I said, we won't be able to protect our own kids one day, and I said, so I just need you to tell me. And if you tell me the truth, we can help. And he wasn't able to do that. And that, for me, has really resonated, especially now as a mother.

OPRAH: Not being willing to protect you?

MEGHAN MARKLE: And also me saying just full stop, if we use this to protect you, we won't be able to protect our own children one day, well, I'm talking about your grandchildren. So I mean, I look at Archie. I think about this child. And I go, I genuinely can't imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child. I can't. I can't imagine it. So it's hard for me to reconcile that.

OPRAH: So your father being hunted down-- it seemed like you were saying, in some ways, that they did this to him. So I want you to be able to clarify this, that the tabloids, the media did this to him. They hunted him. But he has a responsibility in it, too.

MEGHAN MARKLE: Everyone has accountability. Look, they've hunted my mom down.

OPRAH: Right.

MEGHAN MARKLE: And you've never--

OPRAH: And she didn't speak to the tabloids.

MEGHAN MARKLE: You've never heard her say a word.

OPRAH: A word.

MEGHAN MARKLE: She's remained in silent dignity for four years, watching me go through this.

OPRAH: And Samantha Markle, your half sister on your father's side, has written a supposedly tell-all book about you. What is your relationship with her?

MEGHAN MARKLE: I think it'd be very hard to tell all when you don't know me. And I mean, this is a very different situation than my dad. When you talk about betrayal, betrayal comes from someone that you have a relationship with. I don't feel comfortable talking about people that I really don't know. But I grew up as an only child, which everyone who grew up around me knows. And I wished I had siblings. I would have loved to have had siblings. That's why I'm so excited to be pregnant, so that Archie has someone.

It was really interesting to-- I mean, the last time I saw her must have been at least 18, 19 years ago, and before that, 10 years before that.

OPRAH: So you all weren't close. You didn't grow up together.

MEGHAN MARKLE: No.

OPRAH: She doesn't know really know you.

MEGHAN MARKLE: No. She changed her last name back to Markle in-- I think she was in her early 50s at that time-- only when I started dating Harry. So I think that says enough.

- The name change does say a lot. Oprah is still with us. Oprah, the other thing that leapt out to me was the way Megan described how her mother had been bearing up under all this scrutiny with, quote, "silent dignity." And then you contrast that with her father. Is she open at this point to having a relationship with her father? I know he's never met Archie.

- Or Harry.

OPRAH: I know-- or Harry. I think I haven't really-- I didn't pursue that conversation with them. From what I gathered, her relationship with her father is similar to what's happening with Prince Harry and Prince William now, that there's distance there. And maybe with time, things will get better. But for now, no.

- One of the most striking things to me, Oprah, in this conversation was actually about Harry's relationship with his father, because both Meghan and Harry were very respectful towards the Queen. Harry kind of stayed away from his relationship with his brother, but acknowledged that there was space. But he was very specific in saying he was hurt and disappointed by his father. Were you surprised by that?

OPRAH: I was surprised that he was open, vulnerable, because we could feel his pain when he was speaking about his father. And the moment where he says that 72 members of parliament stood up. And nobody in his family did. And that hurts. I could feel that he really deeply meant that. When I asked him, as we just heard in this interview, what would it mean to you if someone apologized, you can feel his sadness. And I think that what he said in the interview last night about continuing to work on mending that relationship is what he intends to do. But it is very sad.

- You know, the thing that struck me, Oprah-- and I'm not just saying this because we're good friends. But it was so conversational. I thought you were perfection. I felt like we were sitting in the room and we were just sort of eavesdropping in on a conversation and that takes great skill. I don't know anybody-- anybody-- who could have done this interview and certainly gotten the results that they did. And I'm wondering-- from them. And I'm wondering if you've had a chance to talk to them, how they're feeling today, because there must have been a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress, a lot of emotion. And it must have been draining for them. Do you know how they're feeling now that it's aired and it's out there? And I'm also wondering how you're feeling, because the night before the interview, you didn't sleep. And I know that you prepared for this. I know there were nothing off limits. I'm curious about how everybody's feeling this morning.

OPRAH: Well, I haven't really ever spoken to them since the interview because we are in different--

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- --time zones. Yes. I got a text from Meghan yesterday, saying, how's it going?

- Yeah, what are people saying.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

OPRAH: How's it going? Because she was putting Archie to bed waiting on the West Coast feed and had no idea what was happening on the East Coast. And I said, I don't either. From what I can tell, it's going well. I know it's airing. So I will probably have a conversation with them later on today. I'm just pleased that we were able to maintain the integrity of the interview from a three hour and 20 minute cut down. And I recall early on when I first approached her in 2018 and she had just joined the royal family and she shared a conversation with me then that really made me feel somewhat disheartened, because she said she had been told-- been given advice-- that it would be best if she could be 50% less than she was.

- Wow.

OPRAH: That was the quote, if she could be 50% less. And I remember hearing that in 2018 and said specifically to her, I don't know how you're going to survive being half of yourself.

- Wow. I think it's a--

OPRAH: And the fact that she--

- Yeah. I think it's important to say--

OPRAH: Isn't that something?

- Yeah. I'm still stunned by that.

- I don't know how you ask anybody to do that.

- That they were not paid for the interview and the interview was not at my house. There's something going on about it-- it's at Gail's California mansion. I

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- I was wondering why I hadn't been invited.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

- I didn't know you had a California mansion, mom. And Tony asked, where was it filmed? He goes, looks like it was filmed in heaven. Where was it filmed, Oprah? Where was it? What can you tell us about where it was filmed?

OPRAH: It was filmed at a friend's house. I'm not going to disclose the friend because I don't want people now going trying to find the friend and the friend's house. But it was-- I have friends.

- Yes, you do. You have a lot of friends. Oprah, we got to go.

- Good job.

- Thank you so much. We appreciate it. We'll be right back. You're watching "CBS This Morning."