Meghan Markle Admits She 'Naively' Brushed Off Friends' Warnings About U.K. Tabloids: 'I Had No Idea'

Claudia Harmata

Meghan Markle‘s friends warned her about the harsh media attention she would face if she pursued her relationship with Prince Harry.

In ITV’s new documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, the Duchess of Sussex opened up about her life and marriage for the first time, discussing the struggles of the immense spotlight as a member of the royal family.

“It’s hard. I don’t think anybody can understand that, but in all fairness, I had no idea,” she said of the relentless attacks from tabloids. “Which probably sounds difficult to understand here, but when I first met my now-husband my friends were really happy because I was so happy.”

Meghan added, “But my British friends said to me, ‘I’m sure he’s great but you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’ And I very naively — I’m an American we don’t have that there — said, ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense! I’m not in tabloids!’ I didn’t get it. So, it’s been… yeah, it’s been complicated.”

RELATED: Prince Harry Reveals Whether He and Meghan Markle Will Move to Africa with Baby Archie

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | ITV

Amid the relentless tabloid attention on her interracial relationship and family, the royal mom of one said she hopes people will one day come to understand and focus on the love she and Harry share for one another.

“I would hope that people, the world, will get to the point where they just see us as a couple who’s in love, because I don’t wake up every day and identify as being anything other than who I’ve always been,” she told ITV host Tom Bradby in the new documentary. “It’s just, I’m Meghan and I’ve married this incredible man and this to me is just part of our love story.”

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

While visiting Cape Town’s Nyanga township, Meghan proudly spoke about being a woman of color.

“For me, when I chose to add those words into the speech it was really at the last minute, and I said to Harry, ‘What do you think if I add this in?’ ” she explained in the new documentary. “I don’t know, it just felt right, and he very kindly and supportively said, ‘If that’s what feels right then that’s what you should say.’ “

“Because it’s true,” she added. “Before I was part of this family, that’s how I identified with people and connection. As a mother, now, and a wife, now, but just as a woman — and as a woman of color, which has been brought to the forefront in a more prominent way.”

RELATED: Meghan Markle Opens Up About Stress of Being a New Mom: ‘Not Many People Have Asked If I’m Okay’

MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the tour, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to launch legal action against the Mail on Sunday for publishing a private letter that Meghan sent to her father.

They are also suing News UK (owner of The Sun) and MGN (former owner of The Mirror) regarding alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages.

In addition to the lawsuits, Harry has spoken out against the British tabloid press for the “ruthless” treatment his wife has received “over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son” in a rare statement.

The father of one went on to say that he and Meghan have “continued to put on a brave face — as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been.”

Harry & Meghan: An African Journey will air in the U.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 23. (at 10 p.m. ET.) on ABC.