ITV’s Tom Bradby said he had planned to do a “more conventional journalistic job” in interviewing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, but changed his approach after finding them “bruised and vulnerable”.
Bradby said it was “the right journalistic thing to do, to try and tell that story as empathetically as I could” for his documentary covering the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tour of Southern Africa earlier this year.
The royal couple’s candid on-screen chat with the News At Ten anchor, which aired on Sunday, gave a glimpse into the struggles they face as newlyweds and new parents, living in the public eye.
Bradby, a long-time friend of the duke, said before filming the ITV documentary he knew everything was not entirely “rosy” behind the scenes, and he now hoped everyone would pause for breath.
Speaking on the US breakfast show Good Morning America the presenter said: “We had a couple of private heart-to-hearts before we did the interview and I said: ‘Let’s just go out and tell the truth as you see it.’
“The thing about Harry is, whether in private or in public, if you ask him an honest question he’ll give you an honest answer, for better or worse.”
In the documentary, Meghan described the past year as a member of the royal family as “hard” and said her British friends had warned her not to marry Harry, telling her the UK tabloids “will destroy your life”.
The duchess told the programme she tried to cope with the pressures of her new life by putting on a “stiff upper lip”, but she was not prepared for the intensity of the tabloid interest.
Bradby added: “I knew that everything wasn’t entirely rosy behind the scenes.
“But all the same I had intended to turn up doing a more conventional, journalistic job, maybe beforehand I told them I was going to have to put some pretty pointed questions.
“The reality I found was just a couple that seemed a bit bruised and vulnerable – with mental health and all the rest of it you have to be careful what words you use – that was the story I found and it seemed the right journalistic thing to do, to try and tell that story as empathetically as I could.”
Bradby has spoken about his own recent struggles with mental health.
While still on the tour Markle filed a privacy lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday over its publication of a private letter she had sent to her estranged father. The paper has said it will “vigorously” defend the case.
Prince Harry also issued a passionate statement defending his wife, describing her as “one of the latest victims” of the British tabloid press and accusing them of “bullying” behaviour.
The duke is also separately suing the Sun and the Mirror news groups over allegations of phone hacking dating back to the early 2000s.
Picture: Harry & Meghan: An African Journey/ITV Productions/ITV News