Meghan, the wife of Britain's Prince Harry, has said there were concerns about how dark their son Archie's skin would be before his birth and that such worries explained why he was not given the title of prince.

The Duchess of Sussex, whose mother is black and father is white, said she was naive before she married into the royal family in 2018, but that she ended up having suicidal thoughts and considering self-harm after asking for help but getting none.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey shown on CBS in the US, Meghan said: "They didn't want him to be a prince or princess, not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn't going to receive security.

"In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of, 'you won't be given security, not gonna be given a title' and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he's born."

Meghan declined to say who had aired such concerns, as did Harry. Ms Winfrey later told CBS that Harry had said it was not Queen Elizabeth or her husband, Prince Philip.

Asked if she was silent or had been silenced, she replied: "The latter".

"I ... just didn't want to be alive anymore.

"And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought," she said, describing the impact of a torrent of vitriol from hostile tabloids and social media.

Asked if she had had suicidal thoughts while pregnant, Meghan replied "Yes. This was very, very clear."

The highly anticipated interview comes amid an acrimonious row between Meghan and Harry on one side and the British monarchy on the other.

The couple, who married in 2018, have stepped down from their royal duties and are starting a new life in the United States.

Prince Harry said he left because of a lack of understanding and because he was worried about history repeating itself - a reference to the death in 1997 of his mother, Diana.

He said he had not blindsided his grandmother, the queen, as he had too much respect for her, although his father, Prince Charles, had stopped taking his calls.

Harry said: "I had three conversations with my grandmother, and two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls. And then he said, can you put this all in writing?"

Harry, 36, revealed the deep divisions within his family, saying he felt "really let down" by how his father had handled the situation.

But he also said Charles and Harry's older brother William were "trapped" by the conventions of the monarchy.

"They don't get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that," he said.

Couple expecting baby girl

Harry and Meghan revealed they are expecting a baby girl.

The duke, who joined his wife in the second half of the interview, told the chat show host: "It's a girl" and said it was "amazing" to be having a daughter.

Asked if they were "done" with two children, Harry said "done" and Meghan said: "Two is it."

She also confirmed the baby is due in the "summertime".

Their detractors say the couple want the glamour of their positions without the dedication it requires or scrutiny it brings.

To their supporters, their treatment shows how an outdated British institution has lashed out against a modern, biracial woman, with undertones of racism.

That accusation is likely to gather momentum in light of Meghan's comments about her son.

Read more
Key talking points from Meghan and Harry interview

Hard to see how royal family relationships can now be repaired

There have also been allegations of bullying against Meghan which first appeared in The Times newspaper in the buildup to the interview.

Buckingham Palace, which has made no comment so far on the interview, said it would investigate the claims, adding it was "very concerned".

In response to the report, a spokeswoman for Meghan said she was "saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself".

Meghan said people within the royal institution not only failed to protect her against malicious claims but lied to protect others.

"It was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family.

"There's the family, and then there's the people that are running the institution, those are two separate things and it's important to be able to compartmentalise that because the queen, for example, has always been wonderful to me."

Meghan denied a newspaper story that she had made Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, cry before the wedding and said it was a turning point in her relations with the media.

Meghan said: "That was a turning point."

Asked if she made Catherine cry, Meghan replied: "The reverse happened.

"A few days before the wedding she was upset about something, pertaining to yes the issue was correct about the flower girl dresses, and it made me cry. And it really hurt my feelings," Meghan said.

"I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family."

She also told Oprah she had been naive before her wedding and did not realise what she was marrying into when she joined the British royal family.

Meghan also said she and Harry were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their formal wedding ceremony.

Last month, when Buckingham Palace confirmed the couple would not return to their senior roles, it said they would not "continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service".

Harry said the pair, who have secured lucrative deals with Netflix and other streaming services, had to find a way to make money as "my family literally cut me off financially".

"I'm sad that what's happened has happened, but ... we did everything that we could to make it work," he said as the interview wrapped up.

The Sunday Times reported Queen Elizabeth II, 94, would not be watching the programme and quoted unnamed courtiers as calling the situation a "circus".