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Meghan opens up about father Thomas Markle's "betrayal" speaking to U.K. tabloids

Meghan opens up on family in Oprah interview
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, opens up about her family 10:18

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex spoke out publicly about her father and half-sister for the first time during her and Prince Harry's wide-ranging interview with Oprah Winfrey.

In a previously unaired clip from the interview, Meghan opens up about the fraught and highly-documented relationship with her father, Thomas Markle, who the duchess said went behind her back to speak to the press. 

"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," she said. "But for over a year, the U.K. 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, which is giving him gifts. The whole thing brings us to where we are today."

Asked if she felt betrayed by her father eventually speaking to those tabloids, Meghan said she did not know if she was comfortable "even talking about that."

"If we were 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," she said.

The tabloids do not report news, she said, "they create the news."

The Duchess of Sussex said her father said he had "absolutely not" been speaking to the press when she called to ask. 

"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," she said. 

"So he basically lied to you," Winfrey said.

Meghan said she told her father that they could help him if he told them the truth.

"He wasn't able to do that. And that for me has really resonated, especially now as a mother," she said. "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 can't — I mean, I look at Archie. I think about this child and I go I can't, I genuinely can't imagine doing anything to intentionally cause pain to my child."

The duchess said "everyone has accountability" in the situation, adding that the press "hunted" her mother, Doria Ragland, down as well.

However, Meghan said Ragland had not spoken to the media, unlike her father. 

"She's remained in silent dignity for four years watching me go through this," Meghan said.

Meghan also weighed in on the relationship with her half-sister Samantha Markle, which the duchess said was basically nonexistent. Despite that Markle has frequently spoken out against the duchess in the media and defended their father. Markle has also released a tell-all book titled "The Diary of Princess Pushy's Sister Part 1," which she claims exposes Meghan in a negative light.

Asked about the book, Meghan said it would be "very hard to tell all when you don't know me."

"I mean, this is a very different situation than my dad, right. When you talk about betrayal, betrayal comes from someone that you have a relationship with. Right. I don't feel comfortable talking about people that I really don't know," she said. "I mean, the last time I saw her must have been at least 18, 19 years ago. And before that, ten years before that."

Meghan said Samantha Markle had changed her last name in her early 50s when the duke and duchess first started dating.

"So I think that says enough," she said.

CBS News has reached out to Samantha Markle for comment, but has not heard back.

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