Serena Williams is proud of her friend Meghan Markle.
In the first episode of Stuart Weitzman’s “Shine Series”, the tennis icon reflected on why she publicly supported the Duchess of Sussex after her explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“Meghan is a great person and I think the epitome of strength, the epitome of confidence, the epitome of selflessness, and the epitome of everything is just her and everything she’s been through,” said the 39-year-old wife to Chief Weitzman. Wednesday, marketing manager Behnaz Ghahramani.
“And I know it’s not easy, and you can see from the interview that it wasn’t easy,” Williams continued. “But she had so much composure and she still had so much class.”
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On March 7, CBS aired a two-hour report that Markle, 39, and her husband, Prince Harry, 36, gave to Winfrey, 67.
During the televised session, Markle described feeling so isolated and miserable within the royal family that she had thoughts of suicide. The former TV star also said she sought mental health help from the palace’s human resources department, but was told there was nothing she could do.
Markle, who is biracial, also alleged that a member of the royal family had “concerns” about the color of his unborn child’s skin.
The family member was not Queen Elizabeth II, 94, or Prince Philip, 99, according to Harry, which sparked speculation over who it might be.
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After the interview aired, Williams quickly took to Instagram and stood up for the former “Suits” star.
“Meghan Markle, my selfless friend, lives her life – and leads by example – with empathy and compassion,” Williams wrote. “She teaches me every day what it means to be truly noble. Her words illustrate the pain and cruelty she suffered.
Williams said she knew “firsthand the sexism and racism that institutions and the media use to slander women and people of color to belittle, break and demonize us.”
“We must recognize our obligation to speak out against malicious and unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism,” she shared. “The mental health consequences of systematic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and too often fatal.”
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“I want Meghan’s daughter, my daughter and your daughter to live in a society driven by respect,” Williams wrote.
After Harry and Markle’s wedding in May 2018 at Windsor Castle, the royal family appeared to welcome the Duchess of Sussex, a former glamorous TV star. The couple were seen as a new and young face to the monarchy of an increasingly multicultural nation.
It didn’t take long for the fairy tale to break down.
The couple stepped down from royal duties last year and eventually settled in California, claiming they wanted to escape racist coverage and unwanted intrusions into their privacy by the British media.
During Winfrey’s interview, the Duke and Duchess said they were expecting a girl this summer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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